This week I am featuring Kayla from Messies Munchkins, a mama to a sweet baby girl and also one who has been through it all in terms of shops and selling her products. She has great advice for starting a business, keeping a business going and doing what you love. Read her post and then go shop, her artwork is cute! Thanks Kayla for Lemon's custom print, we love it!
Flashback to a few years ago, and I was a nineteen year old who loved art but was in college to become an Elementary School Teacher. I often felt as though I wasn't on the right path. After two years of college I stopping going to school and I created Messies Monsters, a shop for my artwork. This was my new full time job, but as time passed I still wasn't happy with where I was going. In February of 2012, I decided to stray away from my art and I began making hair and bridal accessories. That was the beginning of Messies Munchkins.
I created many items for brides and little ladies worldwide and I loved it. By 2013, my shop began to blossom and I was fortunate enough to "meet" many wonderful people because of it. So many beautiful women changed my heart and perspective on what I did, and why I did it. I received many fan photos and sweet messages. It made me feel great knowing that people actually liked my creations.
With the perks of this new job also came a downside. The hardest part of owning a shop was keeping up with emails and my website. I began to sell a high amount of accessories and with that came customers of all personalities. I was pregnant at the time and wasn't able to respond to emails or ship items as fast as I would like, but I did let everyone know what was going on via my policy section and shop announcement. (Word of caution, about 80% of your customers will NOT read your policies or announcements before purchasing from you.) I was one of those customers before I opened my own shop, but through this experience I have learned to take the time and read through those sections before making a purchase.
In February of 2014, I was blessed with a sweet little girl but I quickly realized that I didn't like hair accessories! Go figure. I closed my shop because I could no longer see myself making things when I didn't love my own product, and I wanted to spend time with my new baby. I was also so overwhelmed with her birth, and my shop, that I needed to take a few months off for the sake of our family and my sanity.
My shop is now open again and I am selling prints of my artwork that I do in my spare time. Art still has, and always will have, a big place in my heart. Along with being a mother and wife, I know that, that is where my heart is meant to be.
(These images from https://www.etsy.com/shop/MessiesMunchkins)
I think it is very important that I spend time with my family and I don't want my shop to ever replace that. I use to have my mom, siblings, grandmother or my husband help me with my shop, but I will no longer allow myself or any one else to work that hard. When the baby is down for a nap, I will work on shop stuff. Some days I can work on things while my husband needs more "daddy daughter time." but other than that, my work stays in the office and I *try* to keep it in the back of my mind. I am a worrier, I worry about everything including work. I will occasionally take on personalized pieces but I will no longer accept customer requests. I have learned so much about owning a business within these past few years and I am more comfortable with the whole shebang and I encourage YOU to step out and start your own business!
My advice to future mom-entrepreneurs is:
Don't try to do it all! You will get overwhelmed and your business will no longer be fun for you. It takes time! It may take you a few years to learn what you like, what you don't like, how to deal with certain things, how to make a website etc etc. the key is to never give up! Take the time to make your shop appealing! If you have an online shop, bright, clear photos help. Don't pay for advertisement, it isn't worth it, especially when you are starting out. Be cautious when taking custom orders, have limits if you do decide to take on this route. Research! never stop researching. Don't sacrifice family time for your shop, you will regret it. Family should always come first, you don't want to miss out on "sunset moments." Try to stay away from your phone/tablet/computer/etc. only check emails once a day, if that, and don't keep checking up on your shop FB, IG or website. In the future I'd like to be able to hire someone to take care of emails and my website. I give major props to you ladies who CAN do it all!
I don't have a favorite product that I have made but my heart is filled with warmth and joy each time I make a sale. My customers are very precious to me and I'm so thankful to have come this far.