[#1.] When did you launch "Colins Closet" and what prompted you to start your own business?
I officially launched Colin’s Closet in November of 2012, so just a few months ago! But, I had been working on everything from the design of the bow ties, to the website and logo design since Spring of last year! I didn’t want to launch until I felt confident in my business plans, the product and website. My son Colin is THE reason behind Colin’s Closet. I think like most mamas, once they have a child of their own, most everything revolves around them. For me, some of my sewing creativity was put towards him! Last Easter I was sewing a bow tie for him and had some compliments on ones I had made before and I thought to myself “I could do this! Like, really do something with this.” So, I did.
[#2.] What tool/marketing strategy has helped you the most in regards to getting your business noticed?
I have had a lot of great opportunities over the past few months with getting the word out about Colin’s Closet and having opportunities to display my product! Close to the same time that I launched the online pop up shop site Brickyard Buffalo launched as well! I contacted them and around the holidays I had a feature on there and that was great! Being able to mark my product down a little and just work on getting the product into the hands of people was key! I felt it was a great way to provide the customer with an introductory promotion and let them see the quality of the product so that they would hopefully return! That along with Instagram has been HUGE! I have been able to “meet” and network with some really talented gals (just like you Kelli and Vanessa!!) and have my product displayed on different platforms such as; Instagram giveaways, blog features and flash site deals.
[#3.] Share with us a few of your tips for balancing motherhood and business.
This can be really tough. Having a growing business along with being a mama can be challenging to balance at times. I try to do most of my work during my son’s naptime or through the night when he is sleeping, but that leaves one really tired mama in the morning. Over the past few months I have learned a few things. I need to know my limitations and how much I can physically do, so I am in the process of trying to find someone that can hopefully help with the production side of things. Being rested is important! When I have had a couple of late/all night sewing sessions and still have work left to do, I know that it really would be better to just take a break completely. So, I would take one day and night of nothing business related and catch up with my son and with my sleep and my husband and then I feel a little rejuvenated to get everything else done. Also, not that Colin can do much, but I can try to involve him sometimes! If I am scrambling to get a few orders completed I have had him hop up on my lap and I keep sewing with him sitting with me!
[#4.] Divulge one of your dreams for your business.
Through this whole process I have had the attitude of “I will see where things go!” Whether things remain small-but successful! Or if it continues growing into something more, I would be happy with either, because there are definitely pros and cons to both situations!! But, hoping that things continue to grow, which is ideal, I would love to have my product in more store locations. I was fortunate to have my first opportunity with store placement just this past month in a darling boutique in NYC! It was a great learning experience and I feel much more confident as I continue to approach other retailers. I have also thought that venturing more into the wedding and special occasion market could be really great as well and I think I would enjoy that!
[#5.]What advice do you have for moms who have a creative dream in their heart and desire to start their own business from home?
I say go for it! If you feel really passionate about something, I think you should definitely do it and don’t think you can’t. One important thing is to take your time with it, don’t rush. In my experience it was great taking those 7 or 8 months really figuring out all of the details, from competitive pricing, design, website and networking. I would recommend taking the concept or product that you would like to make a business out of and really plan and think about every aspect of the business and perfecting whatever it is you would want to do. That being said, I am definitely learning so much along the way, but I waited until I felt like my product was exactly how I wanted it to be, which I felt was really important!
[#6.]Share with us a peek of your working space.
I have a little desk set up in the nook of a hallway in our home, I store everything there, but most of my work is done at the kitchen table! But, we are currently in the process of moving and I have been selling some of our things, such as that very kitchen table! So, this past Easter season has been produced at a makeshift workspace! But, I am SO looking forward to our move, our new home will have a work room just for me and the business and I couldn’t be more thrilled!!
[#7] Name three mompreneurs who inspire you.
@bannerboutique – my dear friend Lindsay owns a flourishing business for baby girls-adult accessories! She has been my “mentor” so to speak along the way as I started my business. She has given me so much advice on everything she has learned along the way. I had the opportunity to work with her when I first launched and she made some coordinating products with my bow ties!
@brickyardbuffalo – it has been so great working with these ladies twice now (I have communicated mostly with Karlee and she is so, so great!) and I have to credit a lot of my success to their great site and having the opportunity to be featured there! Working with them and as a result having some advertising through Instagram has helped develop a larger following on Instagram which I think is one of the best networking tools these days!
@sweetlittlepeanut – this was my most recent blog feature and it was a complete success! It was such a great experience working with Megan over at Sweet Little Peanut (a peanuts and momma inspired blogazine). She styled 8 of our current bow ties on the most adorable little boys (including two of her own!) and the photos turned out incredible thanks to @jessialexis. I look forward to working with Megan again in the future!
/// DISCOUNT CODE:: MYEVERYDAY20 gives you 20% off your entire order from today through next Friday, April 12th!
/// GIVEAWAY DETAILS:: Visit Colins Closet and leave us a comment below and tell us which bowtie is your favorite! Winner will receive TWO BOW TIES of choice and will be announced on Tuesday, April 9th!
Be sure and follow @colinscloset on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms