Running a Small Business is Challenging but Rewarding.

Anyone running their own small business knows how hard it is. We face challenges, and lots of them! And if you’re the only employee – these challenges can be never ending!

I know this all too well.  I often chuckle when I set up a new account and am asked to name the person in charge of billing, accounts, manager, and so on. I laugh and ask myself, “So, where’s the box for I do it all myself?”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I love what I do, the freedom it provides, but it does come with it’s own unique challenges.

Some of these challenges are beyond my control. I can’t prevent big box stores from mass marketing my products. They can buy at massive volumes and offer steep drops in prices.

I can’t compete with that. But, I’ve learned I don’t have to.

I offer a unique customer experience that the big box stores can’t.  I offer quality products, support my local economy with my business, and offer  custom options. I can build relationships with my customers. I get to know what they like and want, and can tailor items for them.

Over these past few years I’ve really had to re-examine my seamstress services model of operation. After having major back surgery in 2016, I just couldn’t handle the physical demands of full seamstress services – the tailoring, fitting, lifting of 50-yard bolts. I could no longer sew for over 200 customers a season. I considered going 100% reseller, stopping any sewing services, although ever so brief.  

I enjoy sewing and find tremendous creative energy and joy is helping my customers customize their orders. I discovered certain products, like my Bear Car Seat Poncho, are customer favorites.

So, I put on my thinking cap and decided, I’m going to take the best of both worlds. I’ll still offer my customer favorites like the Bear Car Seat Poncho, develop some other signature ponchos, and offer customizable ponchos.

But, I also wanted to offer other things.  I began looking through my journals going back to 2011. I found lists, and lists, and more lists of ideas. I looked through my Pinterest ideas and found even more.

I decided to look for themes, ideas that were recurring. One that stood out was weighted blankets. But not just weighted blankets, sensory weighted products. It’s been on my mind for almost 15 years!

There are other ideas too, and I’m excited to bring them onboard down the road. But for now, I’m keeping it close to my chest.! You’ll just have to wait and see what’s to come. I promise it’ll be fun!

Looking back over my customers’ wishes, and experiences, I confirmed one truth. They all had specific needs and wants, problems and desires. They all appreciated quality products, and wanted that bespoke attention to detail. And I provide that. THAT’S where their joy, and ultimately my joy comes from.  They didn’t just want something everyone else has. They wanted something that met their needs, and expressed a part of themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I shop the big box stores too. But for special items, for special occasions, I like original. I loved when my daughter’s dance teachers would show me a photo of a costume and say, “So, can you make this? But I want…(this and that changed)”. Let the creative juices flow!  It’s also why I made my daughter’s prom dress and semi-formal dresses. And when my “40Winks” samples arrived, the first thing I did was make a custom cover for my daughter. It’s also why I decided, I am not going to discontinue the custom and bespoke services.

I just had to decide what sewing services to reduce.  What did I decide? Well, I will find projects that I’m passionate about. I will determine what I can physically produce myself and what I need to have a manufacturer produce for me. And most of all, I will still offer customizable option on these products.  

I’ll continue to offer products that can be used for years, which is why my car seat ponchos are one size. You buy it once and can use it until your child no longer needs a car seat. Yes, I could offer various sizes, that would require re-ordering the next size as your child grows. That would definitely help with sales.  It’s been suggested that I do that too. But, why? For something like the ponchos, that is only used in the car, one-size fits all is best. I know if I were looking for one for my child, this would be a benefit.

For other items, like 40Winks Weighted Blankets, I’ll offer custom options that I can physically handle.  My manufacturer helped me design them with best materials, and structure, yet helped me keep the style options basic and simple.

Yes, for something like the 40Winks Weighted Blankets, you can go to big box stores and buy one. I do hope though, that you consider supporting small businesses and take advantage of the personal experience, and customization services I offer.  I’ve had several people tell me they already bought a blanket, then ask, “Can you make me a different cover?” – and I think you know my reply!

Sharing is Caring! Thank You Loyal Customer

As a small business, I rely on word of mouth advertising. This is why I offer such a unique referral program to my loyal customers.

Have you ever purchased something and people ask, “where’d you get that?”. You share that information with them, and off they go to find one for themselves.  They walk into the store, grab the size and style the want, or maybe even a few things. And if you’re like me, you feel good. Sharing is caring, right?

Here’s the thing. That store gets the sale, but what do you get? As a loyal customer, who just referred a customer to their shop, do you get a thank you?

I’ve noticed some referral-type programs do exist, but there aren’t many, and offer small perks with restrictions.

This is where I am different.  I rely on word of mouth referrals and want to reward my customers for this. I decided to explore plugins and apps to make this happen. As soon as I found what I was looking for I had a moment of nerdy joy. Yes, picture me doing a victory dance at my desktop. I’m sure my dog Max and cat Ruby were amused!

It just brought me joy that I can properly thank you for your referral.  And make it easy for you too! That’s why you’ll automatically see your unique referral URL once you register for an account. You can share the link and get credit for any referral orders generated from your unique URL!!  

What’s the credit you ask?

For every referral order generated from your custom referral URL, you will receive 10% of the referral order’s product price in Fun-R-We Loyalty points.

1 Fun-R-We Loyalty points = $1. You can use these points towards future purchases!

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