Did you know that today is American Businesswomen’s Day? I was inspired to seek out other female creative business owners for a few reasons. I am a female creative business owner myself. I wanted to showcase some amazing brands that I know my customer base would be excited to learn about. Lastly, I wanted to celebrate some amazing women business owners because before I began on this adventure myself, I never knew what a journey this was going to be. As I plowed through over 100 small businesses that had an interest in being a part of this post I looked at their products, websites, Etsy Shops, Social Media Posts, and had each one of my customers in mind. I am extremely excited to share these creative small businesses with you. Each business owner was asked the same questions. As I read their answers, I was either thinking, “YES, I can relate to your answer” or was truly inspired by their answers.
Business #1 Dandelions In December
Describe what your business does: I make jewelry using pressed/dried flowers. I also make custom wedding bouquet/sentiment jewelry, as well as resin art using dried flowers.
What sparked the idea for your business? I have always loved flowers and nature and wanted a way to showcase God’s creation in a wearable form.
What has been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur? Juggling family/time/work. Learning, changing, and growing with technology has been difficult as well.
How do you push through your worst times? Knowing when to take a break. Placing myself in a community where support and encouragement is given has been a game-changer.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Determination, never stop learning your craft, and willing to take chances.
Will you share one of your business goals that you are currently working toward? Expanding into a totally different phase with my company.
I would like to expand into more wholesale accounts as well as live shows and markets.
If someone would like to purchase one of your products where can they find you? They can find me on Instagram @dandelionsinde and my website: www.dandelionsindecember.com
Why I love her business: I cannot begin to put into words how stunning her products are! You are missing one of the most beautiful things that you will see today if you do not view her products. I cannot help but love her heart also!
Business #2 Beya Made
Describe what your business does: Beya Made creates expandable clothing for babies and toddlers that grows *with* the child so parents have way fewer clothes to purchase.
What sparked the idea for your business? I spent my entire career in corporate fast fashion, most recently designing for the largest retailer of baby clothing on earth. But when my daughter was born, I realized that I had been designing very adorable...trash. The clothes were cheaply made, overly embellished, and sometimes outgrown before they could even be worn. Since fashion and textiles are the second most polluting industry on earth (next to oil) I realized that this short life cycle was a big environmental hazard. I decided to use design to solve our most pressing global problem--climate change.
What has been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur? Being an entrepreneur takes such grit and patience. Essentially you fail your way to success--always trying something, crashing, and burning, learning, and doing it better next time. We really glorify founders in the culture right now, but no one tells you the incredible dedication and hard work that goes into it.
How do you push through your worst times? I am lucky because I know so deeply in my soul that this is my life's purpose. I have the BEST customers--I could never give up and let them down! They believe in me even when I do not.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Patience, determination, and flexibility.
Will you share one of your business goals that you are currently working toward? I am really trying to work less "in" my business and work more "on" it. I bootstrapped this business from the beginning, and now that I have begun to see real progress it's been my goal to outsource many of the tasks, I used to do myself. Easier said than done!
If someone would like to purchase one of your products where can they find you? My collection is sold exclusively on my website beyamade.com
Why I love her business: If this business would have been in existence back in 2000 when I had my first child, I would have been her number 1 customer. I used to tell my husband that it was a shame that my son only got to wear things I purchased for him, a handful of times. We, of course, put them away for our next child but, even after my second son wore them, they still looked almost new. The fact that her business is eco-focused and helps parents is a winning combination.
Business #3 b.e.happe Designs
Describe what your business does: b.e.happe is a modern, handmade hat brand that gives back to children’s hospitals. With each purchase, 20% of the proceeds are used to purchase wish list items for children’s hospitals.
What sparked the idea for your business? In 2015, I stepped away from my career as a Doctor of Physical therapy, as I was expecting our third child and my heart was yearning to stay home. I had intentions to work periodically on the weekends and return to work once my kids were older, so I taught myself to crochet to keep my hands strong. I started making hats and donating to our local children’s hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. People started asking to buy products so I started b.e.happe in 2016. In 2018 I taught myself to knit so that I could expand my product line.
What has been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur? Asking for help. I have a hard time doing this, and to manage a growing business and homeschooling our three children on the road I had to get help. My husband helps me with various tasks and I have grown to a team of females that also helps create b.e.happe products.
How do you push through your worst times? Time to myself, even if it is for 5 minutes, really helps me clear my mind and prioritize tasks. In June 2019, we sold our dream home and everything we owned for an adventure of a lifetime. We now travel the US in our 5th wheel. Since that time, I have used block scheduling. I create my tasks that need to be done each day/week and I do certain things at certain times. Instead of running around and not being able to focus because I am going from task to task, I know that in the morning I respond to emails and social media, in the afternoon I create hats.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Adaptability because nothing ever goes as planned. Resilience and having the ability to handle rejection, burnout, slow growth, or progress. Organization I think is especially important also. Knowing what inventory, you have, or raw materials will help you be profitable.
Will you share one of your business goals that you are currently working toward? One of my business goals is to grow b.e.happe wholesale. We would love to get into more small boutiques and shops. I love the relationship between small shop owners and our brand.
If someone would like to purchase one of your products where can they find you? You can buy directly from our website: www.behappedesigns.com. On our website, you can also see a list of stockists that carry b.e.happe hats.
Why I love her business: You did not read 2 things wrong! She and her husband sold their dream home and almost all their belongings to travel around the US with their 3 children. She also uses 20% of each sale to purchase wish list items for Children’s hospitals. For anyone who has never been in business before, 20% is quite remarkable. On her blog post she writes, “Simplifying life for us and living with less has given us more life and freedom.” Her products are gorgeous and are made to last. Brooke…you and your family are an inspiration to us all!
Business #4 – The Sew What Box and Craft Fair USA
Describe what your business does: I operate two creative businesses. The one that came first is a beginner’s sewing subscription box called The Sew What Box. We send out monthly shipments filled with sewing projects, tutorial videos, and sewing tools. This is a hand-made business because each project is re-designed (for ease of creation) and hand-cut.
I also began another business during the COVID shutdown named Craft Fair USA. This was a move to help other creative businesses continue making sales through the shutdown of most in-person craft fairs. It is a completely virtual craft fair for makers in the USA. Think of Amazon, eBay, or Etsy; Craft Fair USA is like these, but it is only shoppable for 4 days each month—like a craft fair!
What sparked the idea for your business? The idea for The Sew What Box came out of the daily grind in my alterations business. Client after client mentioned to me that they wished they could sew but had not touched a sewing machine since high school. Shortly after that, I began to have local events called Sip-N-Sew Events. Each attendee would receive a pre-cut kit and then follow along, as I instructed the class, step-by-step. Then, I learned about subscription boxes and knew that these events could easily be transformed to fit this model.
The idea for Craft Fair USA came to me while I was sewing masks this spring. I was thinking about all the event shutdowns and about how hard it was to shop in a “live” Facebook event. I knew that I could make and market a website easily, so I made it happen.
What has been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur? The hardest part of being an entrepreneur is that most people do not understand what you must deal with. When I went full-time in my business, many of my friends told me things like: “I wish I could stay home and do nothing all day,” or, “What does it matter--weekends don’t mean anything to you anyway.” It is important to surround yourself with good, supportive friends who understand the difficulties that you face as an entrepreneur. It is also important to befriend business owners that can support you, understand you, and give you advice.
How do you push through your worst times? Honestly, stubbornness. But I also am very blessed to have support from friends and family. I am blessed to know that God will provide for me. When I remind myself of that, the bad times do not feel so bad. Prayer has helped guide me in my businesses and when I forget this, the hard times show up.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? A good mix of stubbornness, willingness to pivot/listen to what customers are asking for. The other skills needed are having an open mind and be willingness to learn.
Will you share one of your business goals that you are currently working toward? I am currently trying to pivot away from my tailoring business and focus on growing my subscription box. Through the initial shutdowns, my subscriber base grew from 20 customers to 60 customers in just a month and a half. I am currently striving to continue to increase the value of the subscription box and increase the subscriber base to 180 customers by the end of 2020. I have never focused completely on the subscription boxes; I am hopeful that this will happen.
If someone would like to purchase one of your products where can they find you? You can find out more about The Sew What Box at SewWhatBox.com. You can learn how to become a vendor in her online Craft Fair at CraftFairUSA.com. Taylar wanted to thank you for reading about her business. Type in WELCOME20 at sewwhatbox.com/subscribe and you will receive 20% off your first subscription box.
Why I love her businesses: Her subscription sewing box is such an awesome idea. When I learned to sew, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the basics and if a project was going to be too difficult for me as a beginner. I took a sewing class and was sent home with “homework” to complete before my next class. I often sat at my sewing machine trying to recall what my instructor had told me to do and would have to rely on internet research to help me figure things out. Where were you then, Taylar??? Sewing is a great hobby for almost any age and during the time of COVID people are searching for new hobbies. It is obvious that she is a good listener. She listened to what people were saying about sewing, noticed a need, and acted upon it. Once again, Taylar recognized that creative businesses needed an outlet to sell their products and people would miss attending in-person craft shows. She found a solution to fill that void! She is not scared to shift and pivot.
Business #5 sound+circle
Describe what your business does: I make paper goods for an organized, optimistic life. My products include all sorts of planners, calendars, cards, address books, hand-lettered prints, notepads, notebooks, and more. Everything is made by myself, start to finish; from designing the covers, formatting the pages, printing, gluing, binding, and shipping, I do it all in my backyard shed! This allows for great customization so that I can create products that work for YOU.
What sparked the idea for your business? I have always loved planners, office supplies, and organization. I taught 7th-grade math, before having my first child and then I decided to stay at home with him. When I stopped working outside the home, a friend and I decided it would be fun to open an Etsy shop to have “adult” time outside of being a mom. We started with hand-lettered prints and cards, but I was extremely interested in creating usable products as well. I do not have a background in design but have taught myself how to use design programs, how notepads and notebooks are made, about different binding processes and equipment, and so much more. I have spent years puzzling through it and improving my craft. As my business partner and I had more kids and life continued, it was best to part ways in our business and open separate shops so that we could work at our own pace and create what we individually felt passionate about. It was a hard decision, but ultimately the right one. I opened my new shop in June and have been working towards making it a true business, not just a hobby. I love creating, but I also love knowing that I am improving the ease at which someone goes about their life.
What has been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur? The hardest part of being an entrepreneur in this season of life is balance. Without dedicated work hours, I am fitting it in wherever I can throughout the day (and largely the night). I have three young children and my top priority is always them; it is easy to feel guilty if I am spending too much time on work or trying to multitask as we play. It does not always allow for a lot of downtime. Another struggle is being pulled in so many directions and not knowing what to spend your energy on. I am not educated in marketing, finances, or many of the “unseen” aspects of business ownership, so it often feels like flying blind. There is a pull of wanting to grow and find success, mixed with the stress of being too busy to grow any more.
How do you push through your worst times? If I am feeling burnt out or not excited about what I am doing, I take a break. I make sure all my orders are caught up, and I spend my evenings after the kids go to bed doing something other than my business. Honestly, reading the feedback from customers is a big motivator to push through as well.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? The ability to prioritize, time management skills, motivation, and organization.
Will you share one of your business goals that you are currently working toward? Starting fresh in this new business, I am focusing on building my reputation for quality and customer service and want people to get to know me and my business. It has been nice to collaborate and get to know other makers and be part of such a great community of mostly female entrepreneurs. Beyond that, I have some financial goals I’d like to make – not because it’s about the money for me, but because I want to show myself that this is a legitimate business and I can help provide for my family through this outlet.
If someone would like to purchase one of your products where can they find you?
They can buy from my website, www.soundandcircle.com, or through my Etsy shop (soundandcircle.etsy.com). You can also stay up to date by following me on Instagram (@soundandcircle) and signing up for my newsletter!
What I love about her business: When I first began looking at her website and Etsy shop, I thought…. these products are not only aesthetically gorgeous but makes my Type A personality sing! I was so excited to see that her Grocery Planner was laid out by grocery section because that is exactly how I make my lists! I can see myself using every one of her products. She also offers the option for digital products. Her Etsy reviews are amazing! I was so impressed to read that she taught herself this amazing trade.
Business # 6 Fairy Tale Yarn Company
Describe what your business does: Fairy Tale Yarn Co help yarnies to express their fun or geeky side in every stitch they create by offering them quirky and whimsical indie dyed yarn.
What sparked the idea for your business?
I have wanted to own my own business since I was in middle school. I used to think I wanted to have a restaurant but as I got older, had kids, and realized how much start up that would take, I realized it was not going to happen soon. I also did not want to work outside the home because I wanted to homeschool my kids. I have enjoyed knitting since I was 9 and picked it back up about 19 years ago. I tried a few other businesses (kind of half-heartedly) like a pattern designer and making stitch markers but I did not stick with it. Then I tried dyeing yarn because I could not find the color I wanted for a project. I LOVED it. Next, I was dyeing a lot, for friends, in swaps, anytime I could, I would dye yarn. Lots of friends were telling me I should sell the yarn I was dyeing. After about 2 years of playing around with dyes, I had a group of friends that were opening a Congo on Hyena Cart (it is a site kind of like Etsy). A Congo is where a group of makers can open a shop together and you promote each other and share in the cost and shoppers will often time shop from more than 1 in the group. This gave me the courage to open mine.
What has been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur? Having to do everything, even the stuff I am not good at. The part I am worst at is follow-though. I can get side-tracked a lot. I have so many ideas and plans and I want to do them all right now.
How do you push through your worst times? First, I want to share, I struggle with depression so the main thing for me has been getting help with that and knowing what I can do daily to help myself. For me, the biggest thing that helps is, every day doing something that I enjoy. If that means some stuff does not get done, that is just what happens. Also, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) has been a huge help. I also have business friends and mentors I can turn and talk to. I have recently joined a mastermind and it has been one of the best things for my business I have ever done.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? I do not know if these are skills but learning from failure and realizing that failure is not final is important. Knowing your numbers is vital. I know it is common for others in business to say, but there is a reason for that, it is true. Lastly, but maybe the most important… Grit… you have to be willing to keep going even when it’s hard, look at what you can do better, and build confidence within yourself when you do not have any.
Will you share one of your business goals that you are currently working toward? Tripling my online sales from last year.
If someone would like to purchase one of your products where can they find you? My website is www.FairyTaleyarnco.com.
What I love about her business: Color! I was truly taken away by her hand-dyed yarn. I do not even knit but, her product made me want to learn. Her Instagram page has finished products that her customers have completed and are drop-dead gorgeous. When I was looking at her website her brand voice clearly correlates with her personality. After I read Dawn’s answers to my questions, I could feel her passion for her dyeing process. Her words, “learning from failure and realizing that failure is not final” is what anyone beginning a business, learning a new skill, or even just living life day to day needs to hear.
Business # 7 GingerSnap Wishes
Describe what your business does: We provide clothing that accurately reflects the interest of kids. Some girls like clothes with “Boy” themes and some boys like skirts but don’t want them in “Girl” themes. We are here to bridge that gap.
What sparked the idea for your business? My daughter loves all things “Boy”. Last year when she was 3 years old, she asked me for a skirt with construction vehicles on it. When I could not find her one, I decided to learn how to sew, and then launch a clothing line for other kids that had interests like her.
What has been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur? The hardest part is balancing all the things from making the product to marketing our products, bookkeeping, etc. It can be a real challenge not getting overwhelmed sometimes.
How do you push through your worst times? I have a playlist of all my favorite songs so when I am in a funk or need some extra motivation, I have some at my fingertips. I also give myself grace. If all my deadlines have been met and I feel like I need a break I give myself one.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? You need to be a self-starter, resourceful and determined. The only way you fail as an entrepreneur is when you give up.
Will you share one of your business goals that you are currently working toward? One of the largest goals is that I am currently working towards is getting a few wholesale accounts.
If someone would like to purchase one of your products where can they find you? They can find us on our website at www.gingersnapwishes.com. I also have an ETSY shop gingersnapwishes.etsy.com. Lastly, you can also connect with us on Instagram @gingersnapwishes Nicole would like to say thank you for reading about her business. If you enter the code Sewmeaningful20 you will receive 20% off your purchase.
What I love about her business: Nicole recognized a void in the marketplace so what did she do? She learned to sew and then turned it into a business. For anyone who is not familiar with being an entrepreneur, this is the first step. Figuring out how your product can fix other people’s problems. I adore her Etsy shop! Her clothing line it truly a gender bender.
Business #8 Charmed Coast Jewelry
Describe what your business does: I make and sell minimalist charm necklaces and birthstone jewelry gifts.
What sparked the idea for your business? The premise of the store is elegance and simplicity with a coastal charm. I have lived near the coastline my entire life, and I grew up crafting with my family. My grandma taught me how to sew, my dad taught me how to solder and to love working with tools, and my mom taught me that simplicity is beauty! After not being able to find jewelry with the quality and attributes that I was looking for and within my price range, I began to make my own. I started creating and wearing a few pieces and began to get positive feedback from friends and people that I did not know. Now, here I am with my own store!
What has been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur? Learning how to do EVERYTHING. It is true what they say about owning a small business, you must be a “Jack of all trades”. Besides creating, you are also the photographer, social media manager, website designer, curator, and many other things not listed here. It was exceedingly difficult while also working a full-time job as a dental hygienist. I am so grateful though because now I am only working part-time in the dental office.
How do you push through your worst times? My husband has been the best partner, I think owning my business brought us closer. Except for tax season, that is always stressful every year! Also, the thought of financial freedom and getting to spend more time being with my husband and visiting my family and friends (they all live extremely far from me) is so worth it!
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Resilience. You must be able to keep moving on. This store is not my first, but my third. I am a maker at heart. I love working with my hands. I just had to find the right market for me. Next would be, patience. You must have it for yourself and those who are around helping you. There is always something new to learn. Lastly, balance. Burnout is real, especially when you are working on something you are so passionate about.
Will you share one of your business goals that you are currently working toward? I would like to get to a point where I can shift to working on my store full time. It is hard to think that I went to school for so long to be in the profession I started in, only to completely give it up. I get uncomfortable thinking about it!
If someone would like to purchase one of your products where can they find you? You can make purchases through my ETSY shop at www.CharmedCoast.com or on my website at https://charmed-coast.myshopify.com/. If you add COAST15 at checkout you will earn 15% off as a thank you for reading about her business.
What I love about her business: First her jewelry is simplistic but trendy. On her website, she states, "Our jewelry is created with the main goal of not outshining your beauty, but to compliment it." She makes a ring that is ravishing. Check out the Aurora Labradorite Ring on her website. I also love how she and her husband are true partners in life and business! While you are admiring the ring you have to look at the picture of them on her website….just adorable!
Business # 9 Sew Meaningful
Describe what your business does: We help you create a unique gift for others that speaks to them personally. Our textile products are personalized with your words that you would like to express to your gift recipient. I also have 3 collections of bracelets that are intended to lift women up. As I continue to add different products to my business, my goal is to make each product have some sort of sentimental meaning.
What sparked the idea for your business? It was 2018 when my idea came to life. My father-in-law was turning 84 years old. I wanted to create an unforgettable and unique gift for him. I decided to ask our family, his childhood friends, old co-workers, neighbors, and church members to write a short message or memory about him. After compiling the messages, I made an album to present to him at his birthday party. When my father-in-law opened his gift, the look on his face was unforgettable. During his party, he read the messages over and over. To this day, the album sits beside his recliner and you can often find him flipping through his messages. After completing my father-in-law's special birthday surprise, others began to ask if I could help them create a message album for their loved one. Of course, I agreed to help. I love words and the feeling that they can provoke. After much consideration, I decided to incorporate the personalized messages into a usable product that could also be displayed. This is how Sew Meaningful came to fruition.
What has been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur? Almost everything! When you have been a nurse for almost 25 years without any experience in business you have to learn a lot. If I can do it….anyone can!
How do you push through your worst times? I always think about my children and how I want them to see firsthand, that you can succeed at anything if you try hard enough. I also, focus on the gift recipients of my products. Everyone desires to feel that their life is special. Through my products, I am reaching people in a roundabout way, to let them know that their life is valued.
What would you say are the top three skills to be a successful entrepreneur? You first must be willing to learn. Even if you have been in business for 50 years any successful entrepreneur recognizes this. Next, is having the ability to set goals and break them down in actionable steps to reach them. Lastly, you must believe in your business and surround yourself with others that believe in it. This can be family, a mentor, a fellow entrepreneur, or anyone that is going to keep you on the straight path to success.
Will you share one of your business goals that you are currently working toward? In all honesty, it is hard to just select one goal to share. I have prioritized them, as to what I feel would benefit my business the most. At the top of my list is, that I am trying to learn as much as I can about my ideal customers for each product I have. I want to know everything that I can about them. I have learned a great deal as to who they are through analytics and working 1:1 with them.
If someone would like to purchase one of your products where can they find you? They can find me on my website at www.sewmeaningful.us. I also have an Instagram account @sew.meaningful or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sewmeaningful01. To say thank you for supporting all creative small businesses please enter MEANINGFUL10 at check out on my website to earn 10% off your entire order.
What I love about my business: I enjoy helping my customers create a treasured keepsake that can be passed on from generation to generation. My bracelet line is meant to inspire women and give them daily reminders that they are indeed special also!
In closing, I would like to thank each of you for reading this blog post and for supporting women creative makers in their small businesses. I think that all the small businesses featured here would say that being a female entrepreneur is one of the best decisions that they have ever made. I am very thankful for this amazing ride of entrepreneurship and hope that if you have a voice within yourself that tells you to go for it then you should! Each small business within this blog post believes in you and most of all encourages you to believe within yourself!