What were you doing (careerwise) when you
decided to create your own business?
I am a chemical engineer by trade, but when I moved to France with my family some years ago, I packed it all in to become a stay-at-home mom.
When did you start your business?
I opened my Etsy shop in January 2010 in the hope of starting a craft business from home. The graphic design and party printable aspects came along around June of that year.
When did you know that you could really make
a go of this?
Although I come from a science background, I’ve always had a passion and interest for art, entertaining, and graphic design.
After designing my very first printable collection (Bollywood Bling) for my wedding anniversary in May 2010, there was no turning back! I had enjoyed the whole process just too much to ignore it -- designing, styling, baking, and even photography. When it was subsequently featured on Hostess with the Mostess, Amy Atlas, and several other party sites, I received a lot of requests and positive feedback; and that’s when I knew my passion had potential to become a career.
How did you turn your idea into a business plan?
My initial plan was just to give it a go! The party printable industry was very new to me, but this was something I felt really passionate about. I knew I could draw on my graphic design knowledge and managerial experience from previous jobs, and things just progressed quite organically from there.
What inspired you to do this?
As a mom, finding party supplies for my kids’ birthdays that appealed both to my creativity and my pocket was proving to be quite a challenge, so I resorted to designing my own. The beauty of party printables is that they’re an affordable luxury.
Through blogging, I realized there were many moms in the same situation -- they enjoyed creating something beautiful and unique for their kids’ parties without spending a fortune.
What was the biggest obstacle?
Finding the right balance between personal and professional life! I still struggle to find a balance at times, and it’s something I’m constantly striving to achieve.
Did your friends and family support your
Without the support of my family, and in particular my husband, Bird’s Party would not be! Not only he is my standby IT manager, but he also makes a mean scone and even helps out with the laundry!
How did you maintain your confidence when
doors were closed in your face; when people didn’t get it or said
Keep calm, have a cupcake, then try again! That’s my motto. Honestly, if one door is closed, there is usually a window you can climb through.
My business is relatively new and thankfully not many doors have been slammed yet, but you’ve just got to keep knocking and trying new ways, maybe more creative ways to get there – It’s all part of the learning process.
How long did it take you to get everything
off the ground?
Due to the nature of my business, it took less than one month. But it’s a steep learning curve and things need to be implemented and improved continuously.
How long did it take for your business to
Even though overhead costs were minimal to start with, as the business grew so did our expenditures, and it’s taken me nearly a year to become profitable.
What do you love most about being your own
boss? What are the drawbacks?
I love the flexibility of changing the daily routine to suit my immediate needs (business or personal). The drawbacks can also stem from having to be a CEO, designer, accountant, publicist, stylist, photographer and baker extraordinaire! Juggling so many balls is very challenging and exciting, but can be equally demanding.
Where do you work from?
I work from home. I have a little photographic studio where I keep all my party props, fabrics, tools, etc., but my desk is a permanent fixture in our lounge, where I can keep an eye on the kids!
Do you have employees?
I wish! That’s on my to-do list. What I do have is a husband willing to lend a hand, and family and friends who occasionally step into the roles of marketing managers, stylists, and personal shoppers.
How has your involvement with Martha
Stewart’s Dreamers into Doers helped you and your business?
Martha Stewart herself embodies everything I emulate to become, so the fact I can be part of anything that bears her name is an honor. Dreamers into Doers is a wonderful marketing platform and a place to share, inspire and be inspired. I have “met” many talented peers and friends through this wonderful network.
Hopefully when the business gets bigger, I’ll be able to make the trip to one of the annual Dreamers conferences in the U.S. and meet everyone personally. But in the meantime, if Dreamers wants to come to Europe, I’m game!
How have you been using social media to grow
Social media is crucial to my business; I only wish I had realized it sooner! Bird’s Party has a presence on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, and some 30 percent of my sales come through social media marketing and publicity. It’s an invaluable way to establish a quality rapport with industry professionals and potential customers worldwide.
Do you have entrepreneurial role models?
What’s so inspiring about them?
I think Martha is a given! Other inspiring women are, of course, those in my industry who have made a success of their businesses, including Amy Atlas, Jennifer Sbranti, Courtney Dial, Chris Nease, and Kristy McCarthy, to name but a few.
In my view, any woman who has the talent and determination to become a Doer but maintains a certain grace while doing so is totally inspiring.
How did you learn and acquire the skills you
use to make your business successful? How do you continue to grow
By trial and error; learning from my successes, trials, and tribulations. Noting down where I went right or wrong, and revising the blueprint as necessary.
I’m also not afraid to ask for help, be it from a peer or family member. I think one never stops learning; other people can be a real source of inspiration and growth too.
If you had it to do over again, what, if
anything, would you do differently?
I would pay particular attention to branding and social media from the start.
What is your favorite product that you
It may sound cliched, but I only offer products I’m passionate about or would use myself. Having said that, I am particularly proud of the party collections I designed for the spring issue of Bird’s Party e-zine.
What is your best selling item or service?
The collection that started it all: the Bollywood Bling Party. The custom design services for a client’s specific party theme or event are also very popular.
What advice would you give to Dreamers who
haven’t become Doers yet?
Just do it! There’s no time like the present. Start small, pay attention to your costs and branding from the start, aim high, enjoy what you do, and give it 150 percent!
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