Sara is a 32 year old mom of 2 (5 year old daughter and 18 month old son). She loves to create items for babies, children, and the young at heart. Her company, Soph and Jake, makes the sweetest plush dolls!
How did you get your start?
"I actually started while also working full time as a preschool teacher. My husband and I were newly married and making small salaries. So to have a little extra pocket money for the upcoming holidays I started my little business. The idea of owning my small business was a fantasy for a long time although I didn’t know exactly what I wanted it to be all those years ago."
Sara is the sole owner, designer, creator, packager, etc. for her company.
"I usually start by drawing a small sketch of my idea and tweaking it a few times. The I'll make a pattern, try to settle on fabric and materials, and start the creating process." Sara explains that it is a constant process to strive to always create something better.
What are some of the biggest hurdles growing your business?
"I think the social media aspect that goes along with running a business is one of my biggest hurdles. It’s hard to stay motivated when things that are out of your control keep changing and you’re not able to connect as well with the people that love your product."
We all have days that we want to throw in the towel, and Sara is no different.
"I think this is a problem with any business owner or even just someone in day to day life. When the kids are sick and you have business matters that need your attention, the days can get very overwhelming."
Where Sara finds her inspiration:
"I gain a lot of inspiration from my mom to start. When I was very young my Dad was laid off from work, to help make ends meet my mom and her friend started a business making children's clothes and women's shirts. I look back and think, that’s the kind of person I want to be: doing what needs to be done to support her family." Sara also adds, "Trusting yourself enough to take the risk in starting your own business is a quality that not many people have and I admire everyone that tries!"
Having a support team is so important
"Right now I am mostly a one woman show, but my husband is definitely my biggest support (he is pretty much my tech guy when the printer is acting up and he even helps me package!) and I love bouncing ideas off of my sister when it comes to products and branding. My sister even designed my logo!"
Advice on the social media game:
"I think the main thing is to be authentic and try to connect with people. I fall in love with a brand when I know the people behind it are genuine."
How do you organize your time and schedule?
"I definitely have to be flexible with my scheduling. Working out of my home with two young kids keeps me on my toes. Nap time is when I get most of my work done so I make sure to be as productive as I can. I also have quite a few late nights after my kids go to sleep."
What are some goals and aspirations of your business?
"I would love to continue to see steady growth this upcoming year. I live for the photos my customers send me of their babies with my products. It makes everything so worthwhile!"
Hello My love designs is an online shop offering silicone and wooden teething essentials. From teethers and pacifier clips, to mama necklaces that double as nursing/feeding necklaces, they offer as many remedies to teething as they can get their hands on and minds around.
Shop owner Danielle lives in Colorado with her husband and 2 little chicas, Olivia (3) and Adelyn (2).
Getting her start
Danielle was a middle school teacher and left after having her second daughter. "When I quit, I knew I needed to do something to keep myself busy and creative" says Danielle. "After buying a crazy expensive teething necklace for my crazy teething monster, I realized I disliked several aspect of it." This is when Danielle decided to find the resources to make her own and change the game.
Working your own business with toddlers
"Working with two little ladies who aren't in school is hard" explains Danielle. She does it by finding pockets of time throughout her day to work. "I know that I am nothing without a clear head so I always wake up early and get a workout in and then if time allows, respond to emails, dm's, and ensure posts for the day are ready to post in Instagram and Facebook. Then I'm on mo duties for the next few hours until nap." This is when the real work takes place explains Danielle. "I shoot pictures first if needed because I use natural light, work on any orders that came in from the night before, prep any new releases, make new items, etc. Then I'm a mom until after the girls go to bed." Danielle explains she is up working until midnight or 1am!
Some of Danielle's biggest hurdles
"Having to delegate my time is so difficult, constantly needing to split my time between my kids, husband and wife duties, and then being a boss on top of it all." Danielle says there were definitely times she's thought about throwing in the towel. "Most of last year was spent questioning if this is what I really want to do. I know it's what I want but is it worth it? This market has become SO saturated and I was putting so much effort and thought into this, away from my kids and husband, and was wondering if it was worth it. Then after lots of prayer for guidance, I read a quote that said..."Get out of your own way"....and I did." Danielle went on to explain how she separated herself from those other brands and make it as official as she could. She got a business account, checks, put a LOT of money into testing the products, and even make her own teether!
Who inspires Hello My Love Designs?
"I have TONS of shops that I am inspired by, particularly @young_apparel_co who I have worked with over the years and am inspired by her to be your best self and an amazing boss mom.There are many others but Sarah is my fave!"
Advice on growing your social media
"It's important to find a way of posting that makes you content" says Danielle. She explains that she tried several different ways of posting before she found what worked for her, which was to post 3 times per day and having one of the posts contain a quote. "Posting a quote has been really important to me because I can connect with others who are feeling that certain way" Daniell explains. By doing this, it also allows different hashtags that wouldn't normally associate with her other posts and reach new people. "I like posting the way I am because it shows the item for what it is, a quote, and then it shows the item in action. I also think it's important to make your captions more than just about the picture. You can only explain a pacifier clip or teether so many ways so instead of doing it twice, I explain the specific item in the picture that is by itself and then make an interactive post on the other one, engaging questions about their babes (which all moms want to talk about!) and some about myself." Danielle also runs a loop page that focuses on growing a tribe of small business, mamas, and reps. "It's been a great way to interact with others that might not find any other way" says Danielle.
Goals & Aspirations
Danielle is currently designing her second teether! She's also working on getting her packaging in order. "New items are always going out and my VA is working wonders on helping to get out on Facebook."
Advice to the new Entrepreneur
Little Nomad is an online destination for beautiful foam play mats and stylish play space decor! We asked owner Elizabeth what it's like owning her own business and some of the hurdles that go along with it.
Getting their start
Elizabeth started as a PE assistant, working at LA red carpet parties. She explained, "my bosses were tough but I learned to just figure it out because in Hollywood it's sink or swim".
"I have always been an entrepreneur at heart and have tried out several business ideas over the years" says Elizabeth.
From Conception to Creation
"My best friend invited me over to see her brand new home. She is one of the most stylish moms I know so I was surprised to see primary color foam mats all over her living room. That's when I had my a-ha moment to 'make foam beautiful'."
Elizabeth was a full time working mom and didn't have the funds to start a company, so she decided to take the idea to kickstarter and successfully pre-sold 1000 units in 30 days! Once she had the funds in hand, she began manufacturing and the rest is history!
"Everyday I am learning new things. The online world is ever changing and you just have to learn to roll with the punches and figure out what is resonating with your audience. The key is to listen to your customers feedback! Make adjustments and move forward. The biggest hurdle is knowing which opportunities to pursue and what's best for your company."
Elizabeth explained that of course there were times she wanted to throw in the towel but continued to push through. "They say that being an entrepreneur is like jumping out of a plane and building a parachute on the way down. Quitting would be so much easier and there have been so many days where I have asked myself why I am doing this. I credit my father for giving me encouragement to stick with it when the going gets touch. It's so worth it!"
We gain inspiration from Little Nomad, but where do they find inspiration?
Elizabeth gains inspiration from so many, but to name a few...
Susan, CEO of Freshly Picked
Ali, CEO of Nena & Co.
Rachel, CEO of Rags to Raches
Jamie, CEO of Salt Society
"Who run the world?! GIRLS!"
How to stay organized and other advice
Elizabeth uses The Self Journal to stay organized.
Advice to entrepreneurs just starting out? "Winning starts with Beginning!"