Back in the 1990s, Taryn Sisco worked the Carnival Cruise Line circuit as a dancer. In her spare time, the showgirl would sneak off to the costume department and help the seamstress create elaborate costumes and accessories. More than a decade later, Taryn's hobby has taken center stage. The Maryland resident now owns Poppy Chic Designs, her own line of handmade accessories with a funky retro vibe -- some celebs even sport her goods.
When did you start your business?
Poppy Chic Designs was launched in October of 2008.
What inspired your business?
I was always inspired by vintage-style pin-up girls and the fabulous styles of the 1920s through the 1950s. As a mom of two little boys, most of my days are filled with motorcycles, Lego building, and sports, so I needed a little girly glam to go along with it all! I started making goodies for my friends as a hobby and got their feedback. After some trial and error, I decided I needed to focus on retro goodies and flowers.
What was your start-up cost? How did you get the money, and what did you use it for?
I started with some spare change and a little bit of room on the credit card. I used every penny of income to reinvest and support my ideas. But because it started as a hobby, I didn't plan on any income ... and wasn't depending on any success. Looking back, having that relaxed attitude helped me to avoid getting stressed about the start-up.
How long did it take for your business to become profitable?
I was very happy with the success of my Poppy Chic Designs after just one year in business!
How did you maintain confidence when doors were closed in your face, when people didn't get it, or said "no"?
You've just got to believe in your ideas and work hard to find the right place for them to flourish. If somebody says no, know that eventually, someone will say yes.
What's the hardest part of what you do?
Sometimes being a business woman, a creative artist, public relations, a computer whiz, a mommy, and a wife all at the same time can get a little hectic. You just have to roll with it.
What's the most fun part of what you do?
I honestly love the things I make, and I love to wear my own goodies. It's fun to have the ability to just whip up the perfect retro hair flower to go with a dress that I'm wearing for an evening out. I enjoy being creative for a living, inspired on a daily basis, and truly loving what I do. I feel so blessed that I get to be with my boys every day while working on my dreams.
It's also a big thrill when I see celebs have been wearing my designs; some have even sent thank-you cards! Some people who have worn my accessories include Candace Cameron, the cast of "High School Musical" (this made my 8-year-old son very happy), Jennie Garth, and Courtney Cox.
If you had to do it over again, what, if anything, would you do differently?
In the beginning, I wish I would have stayed focused on what I loved and knew would work for my business and forget the random "whims" I often went off on. Whims cost money.
How have you been using social media to grow your business?
I love my Facebook page. I love having a place to chat with all the fabulous ladies who rock the Poppy Chic look! I announce deals, sales, and first looks at new products on my Facebook page before I do anywhere else, so there's some exclusivity that comes along with being a fan.
I have found the crafting blog community to be incredibly supportive and inspirational. Right now, I'm trying to give back to that community by providing creative ideas and cool tutorials on my blog. It's a super-fun way to get to know folks out there in the blogosphere.
Do you have entrepreneurial role models?
Martha Stewart has always been an inspiration to me. I love that she focused on her passion and was able to make it her livelihood, and a pretty successful one at that! It gives crafty moms like me the guts to dream big.
What advice would you give to Dreamers who haven't become Doers yet?
Stay true to who you are and believe in your ideas. The Dreamers into Doers site is an amazing place to make connections, share ideas, get help from others, and I'm lucky enough to have made some lovely friendships here. Above all, keep dreaming.
Check Out Taryn's Latest Looks