What inspired your business?
I have two children, a son, Justin, 7, and a daughter, Ashley, 4. When my daughter was born, I wanted to change the car-seat cover from blue to something girly. So I took the cover off and asked my grandmother if she could make it. Her response: "Of course I can!" It came out even better than the original! It was beautiful, and four years later, it's still on my daughter’s car seat! The rest is history.
When did you start your business?
I officially launched our online business in 2006.
What were you doing (careerwise) when you decided to create your own business?
I am a full-time photographer, specializing in jewelry. I've always had a creative side and decided to pursue the baby business Ashley Petite with my grandmother, who sews everything for me. I create the products through drawings, and she sews.
When did you know that you could really make a go of this?
As soon as I started showing off our products, we ran with it … it just started to snowball.
How did you turn your idea/dream into a business plan?
Since I already had my own photography business, I already had knowledge of the business aspect, so that was easy for me.
What was your start-up cost? How did you get the money, and what did you use it for?
Basically, all the start up costs were all the supplies I had to buy, such as a new sewing machine for my grandmother and all the fabrics to create the products. Other than that, we didn't pay ourselves for our time. I used my own money for everything.
What was the biggest obstacle?
Putting together the online store -- too much technical stuff for me!
How did you maintain your confidence when doors were closed in your face, when people didn’t get it or said “no”?
It's really tough sometimes. I take it very personally, since there is so much invested both financially and emotionally.
How long did it take you to get everything off the ground?
It took about eight months to produce all the products and have a decent supply, and about two to three months to really get the website going. I've learned a lot! I maintain the website myself; it keeps costs down.
How long did it take for your business to become profitable?
I think around two years.
What's the hardest part of what you do?
Balancing my two businesses with my family, and having time for my husband. But everyone helps out!
Where do you work from?
I have a studio in the city and I keep most of my inventory at home; that way if I need my husband to ship something out, he can help me out with that.
Do you have employees?
It's just me and my grandma.
Do you have entrepreneurial role models? What’s so inspiring about them?
Martha Stewart (I swear I’m not just saying this, you can ask any of my friends)! She can create and make anything look amazing! I also use her magazine as a go-to for new photography ideas for my portfolio.
How did you learn and acquire the skills you use to make your business successful? How do you continue to grow and learn?
My photography business helps keep me in the know of the latest trends, colors, and ideas, I use this when I'm thinking of fabrics and products for Ashley Petite. I also check out Etsy.com to see what other moms are creating. Also, my friends who are moms and dads always call me and say, " Can you make this or that?" We want to be creative but also functional.
What's the best piece of business advice you ever received?
"Do what you love and love what you do!"
If you had it to do over again, what, if anything, would you do differently?
I would do it all the same! I'm in a good place, I have no regrets!