~Day 1 of the ENTREPRENEURIAL SERIES!! PLEASE make sure you READ, COMMENT, TAKE NOTES, and SHOW SOME LOVE to the fabulous folks doing awesome things! ~
***This one is special because she recently did a project for me and it was AWESOME!!! But I am NOT biased ;)***
Atasha Meyer, Gypsum, CO. - "Treats4YourSweets"
Explain what type of business you operate?
I provide custom embroidered items which include handmade checkbook covers, bookmarks, key fobs, t-shirts, bodysuits, towels, etc. I also make earrings and bracelets, simple ones. When time allows and the mood hits me, I’ll make toddler dresses and personalized headbands. Occasionally, I will make up and offer embroidery designs to use with your embroidery machine. I don’t do that very often though.
I am always learning to do new things, so the list of things I provide always gets bigger.
How long have you been in business?
I opened my online store on Etsy in 2008 but I really got serious about things last year.
I wanted to find a name that applied to both adults(women) and kids; and although I mainly cater to kids/girls, I do have a few treats for women. So when you purchase for your kids, you’ve bought some treats for your sweets or when a spouse gets custom items for their other half, it’s a Treat for their Sweets. I know it’s pretty lame but the name stuck and I like it.
What motivated you to start this type of business?
I guess I was always a little creative. My mother was actually a seamstress back home in Trinidad, when I was growing up. I was about 10 back then. I used to watch her all the time so maybe somehow I got some of her talent. She used to travel a lot and when she was away, I remember cutting up her clothes and altering them to fit me. I know, not cool. Then, when I got older and had my first child, a boy, I started making his clothes, mainly hooded jackets with matching comfy fleece pants for the winter. Yes, I actually made boy clothes. I was so unhappy with my choices in the store. You know how large the girly pink area is when you’re shopping. Go to the blue section and the pickings are slim. Then it was all over when I had my 1st girl. I did buy her clothes but I also sewed a lot of her dresses. Everyone complimented me on them and told me I should make to sell. So I tried it and I liked it!
What are your top 5 must have business tools/aids?
· My phone believe it or not is at the very top of my list. I do a large percentage of work on it.
· Facebook has helped me a lot as much as I hate all their changes – excellent for marketing
· My children – don’t laugh, let me explain. They advertise for me and don’t even know it. Many times I will embroider my new designs on one of their t-shirts for school. Or for the little one, I’ll dress her up in a tutu outfit with one of my flower clippies. I always walk with business cards so anyone who throws a compliment gets one
· It goes without saying you must have business cards…MUST
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
I am really working on out getting my products and name out there. It may take over 5 yrs but I would really love to have my own Brick and Mortar store. Something small, not too overwhelming because I want to run it all by myself. I am well aware the overhead cost is ridiculous but I’d love to give it a try.
What inspires you?
My children, my mom, who is by the way my absolute biggest fan. I remember how hard she worked even though my dad was present and working. It got even harder when she decided to move us to the US and my dad remained home to take care of our house. She would do all kinds of odd jobs to make sure we had food and clothes. The long hours, I know it was hard on her but she did what she had to. She’s a very strong woman. I feed off her strength. When I am in one of my lows she is always there to encourage and talk some sense into me. I talk to her about everything even though it’s on the phone and we talk every day. She is back in NY. Another thing, I have always been very independent. It was very hard for me after my first child, to decide to quit my job and become a full-time stay at home mom. After a while I got really antsy. Not having my own income really got me down. I wanted to contribute so this is it. Plus I think it will help my girls to see mom doing her thing. I can only dream that they think as highly of me as I do my mother.
Who is your business icon or who’s business ethic do you admire?
There really isn’t any.
If you were standing in front of a room full of hopeful, promising, entrepreneurs what would you say to them?
I’d tell them it is a whole lot of hard work. Your business is not going to take off in weeks, months or even a year, unless you “know people”. There will many times you’re feeling discouraged but know your goals and keep working on getting there. Surround yourself with positive people, who support you, you’ll need it. Regardless of your product and what you’re selling, you have to believe in it. Produce something that you are proud of and it will show in your work. I will never make and ship something to anyone that I don’t think is as close to perfect as I can get. It’s a good practice because I think people know when you’re passionate and put your all into your work. Find something that you love to do, it makes all the sleepless nights and stressful days a lot easier to deal with.
Take the extra step to package your items nicely. Many of my customers are women, and when they purchase smaller items like earrings, checkbook covers or key fobs, I not only hand make the envelope with pretty paper, I wrap their item in tissue paper and wrap it with ribbon. Women like opening presents and that’s exactly how I want them to feel when my order arrives.
Lastly, treat your customers as you would like to be treated.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I am not where I want to be, obviously, but I am getting there. It has taken me about 1 yr to build a decent customer base. My dedication to make my business a success had actually put strain on my marriage at one point because my husband could not understand why I was working so hard and there wasn’t any money. The long hours I put in and the lack of immediate profits had him questioning the purpose of the business, but once again, I had and still have my goals and I sort of had a plan.
When I think of where the business is now, I am so pleased with all my efforts. What many people take out business loans for, I was able to finance myself. The machines which are in no way cheap, office equipment, office supplies, maintaining the machines, all their accessories, needles, thread, embroidery supplies, I can go on and on… So I guess if I look at it this way, I WAS actually making a profit. Otherwise how else would I be able to afford these things? I had to explain this to him several times. I think he’s finally got it ;-)
Thank you Atasha!
ISN'T SHE FABULOUS!!
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