334 – An Inside Peek at Growing a Handmade Product Business with Yuliya Wolf of Wolf Leathers

how to start a handmade business

Wondering how to start a handmade business that will fit into your life? Then you’ll love today’s episode because my guest shares how she figured out how to create a work studio at home, work with her spouse, and make it all fit into their lives.

Yuliya is the owner and maker of Wolf Leathers alongside her husband, Ari. All of the leather used is the finest quality oil-tanned leather from Wisconsin.

Working out of their farmhouse, Yuliya and Ari have converted several bedrooms into a work studio. This allows their entire product to be made out of our home.

Yuliya believes everyone can express themselves in a unique way by embracing their imperfections. They represent this in their products by incorporating imperfections and brands from the leather into their work, giving each product extra uniqueness, just like each one of us.

 

BUSINESS BUILDING INSIGHTS

  • Be genuine when selling. Avoid being pushy and aggressive.
  • Continue to create unique products that people haven’t seen before to keep them interested in your products.  Continue to make it something that people want.
  • Trust your intuition when you feel that something’s right for your business.
  • Interacting with people and building relationships with them open opportunities for repeat customers.

How to Start a Handmade Business

  • Find out if people are really interested in your product before you take the plunge – attending a craft show is great for this.
  • Pay attention to how your customers respond to your price points. Are they shocked? Comfortable Delighted? Then you’ll know where to adjust.
  • Have a variety of products to choose from.
  • Hone into your product specialty so you can set yourself apart from the rest.
  • See what the reaction people have towards your products so you can adjust to accommodate what they want.
  • Business is about your customers.
  • Tune in to hear more about how to start a handmade business and make it work with your family and life!

Resources Mentioned

Yuliya’s Contact Links

WebsiteFacebook | Instagram


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Transcript
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Gift biz unwrapped episode 334.

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Let's do a few more art shows and see if I

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can quit my full-time job.

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Attention gifters bakers,

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crafters, and makers pursuing your dream can be fun.

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Whether you have an established business or looking to start one.

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Now you are in the right place.

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This is gift to biz unwrapped,

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helping you turn your skill into a flourishing business.

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Join us for an episode,

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packed full of invaluable guidance,

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resources, and the support you need to grow.

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Your gift biz.

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Here is your host gift biz gal,

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Sue moon Heights.

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Hi there.

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Welcome To another podcast episode,

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unless you're brand new here,

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you know,

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I'm testing out a Saturday air date for this show.

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I'll be making a decision a little bit later this week

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about whether to stick with Saturday or go back to the

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old Monday slot.

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So if you have an opinion on this one way or

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another, let me know by messaging me on Instagram,

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over at gift biz unwrapped.

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And remember once the show's up,

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it goes live forever.

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So if you prefer listening on Monday,

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you'll be able to do that or whenever you want for

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that matter,

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I'll let you know next week.

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What the plan is.

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Moving ahead.

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It's now the first weekend in September,

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and that means the holiday season is marching our way.

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I know it still feels like some time off,

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but it's going to be here before.

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You know it.

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Now's the time to start planning for the season.

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Make sure you're taking photos and getting your seasonal images up

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on your website,

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depending on the product.

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It's not too early to start showing them at craft shows

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and farmer's markets either.

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Remember there are those early holiday shoppers.

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You also want to continue to increase your visibility and deepen

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relationships with those that you connect with online,

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doing events like craft shows and farmer's markets offers great photo

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and posting opportunities for social media.

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We talked about this in one of our tips and talk

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episodes in the podcast just a couple of weeks ago.

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And I bring this up because you've told me you're discouraged.

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When you don't see any of the time and effort you

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put into social media,

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moving the needle on your sales.

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So given the time we're in right now,

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take this as a changing point to do something different,

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putting in more time posting in the same way isn't going

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to magically bring you results.

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You need to change the way you're posting and what you're

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posting. You don't need to put in more work.

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You need to put in the right work.

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That's when things will change.

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If you need some help with this,

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I've got you covered with the content for makers.

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Program content for makers will enlighten you as to why your

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social media activities aren't converting into sales.

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It also show you how to put less time in and

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start seeing activity that will increase your sales.

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Just imagine a day where you know exactly what to post

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and to get it done in five minutes or less,

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then you can spend your time interacting with potential customers,

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deepening relationships with those you already know too.

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And it builds upon itself naturally.

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Yes, this is possible.

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Content for makers includes a step-by-step strategy to formulating your unique

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plan based on your business and your products.

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Then you'll have 375 social media prompts over a full year

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of ideas.

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Along with the 375 prompts come 375 image suggestions.

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So you're not left hanging on the creative.

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These prompts and image suggestions can be used for all platforms

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and all types of posting images.

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Live streaming reels,

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even email direction,

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but that's not all posts aren't going to work.

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If the right people aren't seeing them.

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So you'll also receive a video and a worksheet on how

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to choose and use hashtags.

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This is a way to attract the right people who will

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become your customers.

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Most people are doing this wrong.

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There's more to content for makers to,

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to see all the details.

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Just jump over to gift biz,

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unwrapped.com forward slash content for makers.

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But honestly at only $27,

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it's a no brainer.

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Why carry on posting as you've been doing all along expecting

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different results.

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Sign up for content for makers now and see the transformation

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of your posting experience change before your very eyes gift biz

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on rap.com

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forward slash content for makers ready and waiting for your immediate

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access. Right now,

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let's get to today's show.

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I can't wait to introduce you to this amazing maker.

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She's been in business just over two years now and has

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a lot to share about her growth.

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Fun fact.

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She lives and works from a Midwest farmhouse and we took

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our conversation outdoors.

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So from time to time,

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you'll hear the birds and possibly some other nature creatures.

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In the background,

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we talked about how Yulia confirmed that her product had potential

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as a business,

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how she planned and priced for her first craft show the

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challenges of building a website,

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expanding her work studio,

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hiring her first employee.

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Oh, and working with her spouse,

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inspiring, uplifting,

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and informative.

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Here's my chat with Yulia today.

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I am really excited to introduce you to Yulia Wolf.

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Yulia is the owner and maker of Wolf leathers along her

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husband, Ari,

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all of the leather used is the finest quality oil tanned

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leather from Wisconsin Yulia and Ari work out of their farmhouse,

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where they have converted several rooms,

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bedrooms, actually into a work studio.

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This allows their entire product to be made right out of

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their home.

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Yulia believes everyone can express themselves in a unique way by

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embracing their imperfections.

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They represent this in their products by incorporating imperfections in brands

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from the leather into their work.

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This gives each product,

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extra unique uniqueness,

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just like each one of us.

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Ulia welcome to the gift biz on wrapped podcast.

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Hi Sue.

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Thanks for having me.

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I'm super excited to be here today.

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Me Too.

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And I'm so excited to dive in and uncover your story,

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but it has to wait for a second because I want

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to ask you our traditional question,

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which is the candle question.

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So if you were to share with us a little bit

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more about you in a creative way,

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describe for us what a motivational candle would look like with

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a color and then some type of a quote that would

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be on your candle.

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So on my candle,

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and this was a little tricky cause throughout the years,

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all my colors changed,

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but I think I'm feeling a little Fern green.

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So just like a nice,

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bright green with my favorite color.

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And I love Fern.

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So let's throw the Fern green in there and on my

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candle, I think my motivational quality would be everything happens for

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a reason that quote has followed me sort of throughout my

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life. And I think it's represented different things at different points.

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But with this business in particular,

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I think the motivation behind it is even with your successes

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and especially your failures,

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when you sit there and you think like,

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oh no,

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what's going to happen.

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Now. You just have to take a step back.

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And I think for me,

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it's just saying,

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you know what?

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This happened for a reason,

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what can I learn from it?

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And how can I grow from it?

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So I think that quote in particular has been very important

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to me recently.

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So I think that's what my candle would look like.

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Perfect. So Yulia,

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I have to tell everybody how I met you.

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We were at the fine arts show right in my community.

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And I like to go there just doing demos.

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And those of you who are listening,

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who follow along,

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you probably saw me live and saw some of the things

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that I was doing in my Instagram stories,

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just pointing out really good craft show,

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best practices.

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And I happened upon your booth Yulia and your product.

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First of all,

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is amazing.

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Your presentation is wonderful.

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And I was like,

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I've got to know your story.

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And then I started hearing you,

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do you remember?

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I started hearing what you were going to say and I'm

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like, stop don't even tell me anymore.

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And I immediately went to,

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will you come on the podcast?

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Right? Yeah,

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absolutely. Which is awesome.

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So I don't even know the story,

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everybody, but I know a part of it and I know

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it's good.

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So let's go ahead and take it away.

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Share with us how you got started with your business.

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So it's been crazy.

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We're actually coming up on two years,

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this weekend that we did our very art shows.

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So it's all sort of coming full circle at this point.

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But at the beginning of everything,

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my husband was actually in the leather industry for a good

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portion of his life.

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His father owns a leather business.

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So if my husband knew everything sort of in the industry

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and I really got sick of buying products that just wouldn't

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last, you pay so much money for leather products.

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I honestly just got sick of them not lasting.

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And what happened is I actually went to a store and

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I was so proud of myself.

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I bought myself a really beautiful messenger bag,

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made out of oil,

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tan, leather,

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all this good stuff.

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And I put all of my graduate studies in there.

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So my laptop,

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all my research,

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everything I was at graduate school at that point,

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were you getting your degree in?

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I have my degree in plant evolutionary biology.

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So quite a twist from leather working.

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That's sort of my first love and letters.

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No, my first love,

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it all works together,

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but I was walking down the street the day after I

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bought this bag and it broke.

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And then all my stuff went,

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spilling all over the street.

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And I just had had enough at that point.

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So I came home and I made a tote bag.

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We had some leather lying around.

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We had a sewing machine that our friend had donated to

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us and I stood there.

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I made a tote bag and the rest is really history.

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I mean,

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my husband took a look at it and said,

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wow, that was relatively easy to make.

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Huh. And I came home from work one day and there

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were 10 totes sitting there and we didn't really know what

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to do with them.

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I couldn't use all 10 of them.

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So we decided to sign up for a very first art

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show, which was almost two years ago this weekend.

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So that's sort of how we dipped our toe in it

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and got started on it.

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Wow. So I want to stop and just tell everybody that

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we were having some issues with your audio.

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So we had you move outside.

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There is some really cute bird in the background,

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so everyone we're just going with it.

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There's a bird doing whatever.

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And we can't control that.

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Can we Yulia?

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No. No,

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definitely not.

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Okay. So that's the way it is.

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All right.

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So this is fascinating to me.

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like, did you have a business structure set up yet or

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like, what did you do to prepare for that first show?

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We went in blind,

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honestly. I just knew that I had a 10 by 10

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foot space.

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I bought a tent.

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I went and borrowed some tables from our mother-in-law because I

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needed some folding tables.

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And we just said,

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you know what?

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Let's just see how it goes.

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And the art show was actually in our hometown where we

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grew up and we couldn't believe the response to stuff that

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we were literally making out of a bedroom.

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We were just completely stunned.

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I was completely thrown off.

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And I think at that point is when we realized that,

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Hey, you know what,

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maybe we could actually do this.

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So let me just stop you here for half a second,

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because you weren't prepared.

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Like this is a place where a lot of people might

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stop because they're like,

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well, wait,

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I've got to get a name.

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I've got to get business cards,

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I've got to do this.

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I've got to do that.

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And then time goes by and then you rethink it and

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decide all those fears come up and you don't do it.

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All of that.

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I want everyone to listen to this example because you went

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in really scrappy and I'll call that validating your product because

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you sure what was going to happen?

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You know,

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you were curious,

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but there was no like huge commitment to this show.

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You were just going to try it and see,

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and you saw that people were really interested in your product.

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That's a good thing for everybody to look at and focus

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on. You don't have to have everything buttoned down like Yulia

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is just showing now,

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go in and see if there's a market for your product

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before you take too much time and money and investing.

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Absolutely. And there's things that,

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of course you could invest in,

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but I just printed off some business cards and cut them

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out myself,

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had them at the show.

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I mean,

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we really didn't invest much in it because we didn't know

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what was going to happen.

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So one in there completely blind and just said,

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you know what,

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what's the worst that can happen.

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We lose our booth fee.

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Okay. So be it.

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But let's see where this can go and what can happen

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with it.

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So did you make a lot of product going into that

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show or how did you decide what you're going to do

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in terms of what you were going to specifically display?

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So our tote bag was sort of our thing and it

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still is to this day.

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It's one of our best selling products that we have in

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our line.

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And we just took it from there and made everything smaller

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than a tote bag.

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So we went from a tote bag to a cross-body and

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we sort of made a handful of everything that we currently

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have a line of now.

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And we went into that show with just a few of

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everything and left with a third of everything we brought.

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I mean,

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it was mind blowing.

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We had no idea what hit us,

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how would you decide how to price it?

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Basically we knew our material costs.

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We had timed ourselves on how long it would take to

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make something for each one of the different products.

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And we based it off of that.

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And then when we went to the show,

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we were just very observant of how quickly things were selling.

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And if people were hesitating at the price or not,

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and we sort of have obviously adjusted from there,

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but we were really,

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really just watching the human interaction and how it went and

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just their body language and just seeing,

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Hey, when they turned around the price tag,

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did they flinched,

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did they not?

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Did they keep talking to us or did they just walk

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away? And I think that's where we sort of gauge all

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of our pricing at this point,

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as well,

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As long as,

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you know,

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how much it takes to make the product initially.

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So, you know,

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you're always on the positive side of course,

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and share with everybody the price ranges of what's available in

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your booth.

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So we have price ranges from $20 all the way to

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300. So we have quite a vast range of products we

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offer. Okay.

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And the $20 price point,

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is that something you've added and have specifically for shows?

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No, actually we carry that.

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Year-round, it's a little slim wallets that we have.

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So it's just a way for us to make sure that

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we can hit everybody in all of the price points,

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you know,

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and get customers.

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And that might not be able to spend a chunk on

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a big tote bag,

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but could definitely say,

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Hey, you know what?

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I love your products.

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I'm going to invest in something small,

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keep your business card and then save and invest in something

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bigger down the line.

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All right.

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So let's go back to,

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after that first show,

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you guys were probably so excited.

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Did you go home and have like a celebratory dinner or

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something like this is cool.

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Yeah, we did that.

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And we had a very serious conversation of,

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Hey, let's do a few more art shows and see if

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I can quit my full-time job.

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It was a celebration and a very serious conversation and turning

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point in our lives.

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Really. So You thought about what could potentially be in the

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future, but you wanted to test it out a little bit

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more a couple of times before you took a big leap.

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Oh yeah.

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Cause you always have to keep in the back of your

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mind. Like we have to keep a roof over our heads

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and food on the table and how can we do that

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while still doing what we want to do and make sure

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that it's worth it before you take the plunge.

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So get us there.

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Tell us about that moment when you guys had the conversation

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and was it you quitting your job or Ari or both

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of you are like,

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It was me.

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I had been the main supporter of the household.

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And again,

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it's just my husband and I and our two dogs.

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So no kids involved or anything.

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I was basically supporting us at that point with my full-time

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job. And I was at the point where if I didn't

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make a move away from that job,

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I would not have mentally survived.

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So it was definitely a turning point in my life and

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in our life together,

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when we really seriously sat down and said,

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can we really make this work?

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And it was a very,

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very tough conversation filled with a lot of fear on my

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end, going from a steady paycheck from week to week,

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to going to a business where you don't know if you're

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going to make money every single weekend,

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or if it's a seasonal business,

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how are you going to make it survive the whole year?

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Or even if you're only bringing income in for eight months

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of the year,

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that was a real big decision for me.

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Luckily I have an incredibly supportive husband who operates on very

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little fear and he's my rock.

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And he really was like,

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you know what,

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let's do it.

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What's the worst that can happen.

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We have to go and apply for jobs.

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Let's just see where this goes.

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I Like that counterbalance that you two have going on.

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And also for RA to say like,

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let's talk worst case scenario.

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Well, worst case scenario.

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Isn't what we want.

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It's not our option,

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but this is what we'll do.

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We'll just have to go and get a job.

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So it helps put everything in perspective that this isn't a

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matter of life or death type thing.

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It can be good and let's bank on the good let's

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go for it.

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Let's take the chance.

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Right. And so your decision to do this had nothing to

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do with COVID or us having to be sent home.

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This all happened before,

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right? Yeah.

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I had put in my notice at the end of November

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so COVID really didn't exist at that point at all.

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So we were planning on having a full show season in

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2020, we had shows already booking.

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We were already paying for show fees.

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So we were on a roll.

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Of course you were all right.

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So we're not even pretending like we know about what was

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going to happen yet,

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but what were the first steps then for formally establishing your

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business? We sat down and we said,

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Hey, this is how much money that we need to bring

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in in a year to survive,

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pay the bills,

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keep our house,

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plus have extra spending money.

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This is it.

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And based upon the prices of all of our products,

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let's break it down.

Speaker:

How much of everything do we have to sell to reach

Speaker:

this number?

Speaker:

And from there literally just started working pretty much.

Speaker:

Non-stop the numbers that we had come up with were scary

Speaker:

looking at first.

Speaker:

But once we got a system going for actually producing the

Speaker:

products together,

Speaker:

it was a lot smoother from there,

Speaker:

but it definitely took us a better portion of a few

Speaker:

months to get the ball rolling and make sure that we

Speaker:

budget for all the inventory that we do need to buy

Speaker:

outside of just the leather,

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get the ball rolling in that regard.

Speaker:

Okay. So when you say the numbers were scary,

Speaker:

it wasn't just the overall number you were trying to hit,

Speaker:

but also what your production numbers needed to look like and

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the cost of that production in terms of purchasing and having

Speaker:

them materials.

Speaker:

Yeah. We had come up with a number.

Speaker:

I said,

Speaker:

if I can remember correctly,

Speaker:

it was something like 150 tote bags had to be made

Speaker:

to get us through the year.

Speaker:

And another 80 cross body bags had to be made.

Speaker:

So all of the stuff,

Speaker:

all of a sudden you're like,

Speaker:

wow, all this inventory.

Speaker:

And you know,

Speaker:

it's really an upfront cost at that point as to buy

Speaker:

all the leather and all the hardware and everything else that

Speaker:

you need to make it.

Speaker:

So, you know,

Speaker:

it was a little overwhelming at first And in your industry

Speaker:

three, is there a lot of lead time?

Speaker:

So you couldn't just buy your product,

Speaker:

right? Yeah.

Speaker:

It's actually depends.

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The other that we use,

Speaker:

we actually use a small tannery in Milwaukee,

Speaker:

Wisconsin, who we've created a very special relationship with.

Speaker:

And for them,

Speaker:

if we were going to actually order a batch of leather,

Speaker:

that leather takes six to eight weeks to produce.

Speaker:

So from order time to us picking the leather up,

Speaker:

there's a long lead time on that at the point where

Speaker:

we were at the beginning of last year,

Speaker:

we weren't ordering leather at all.

Speaker:

We were going to the tannery and hand-picking hides that had

Speaker:

imperfections or discoloration or just some cool funky branding on it.

Speaker:

Just anything that was cool,

Speaker:

that was sitting in a pile that nobody else had wanted.

Speaker:

So at that point,

Speaker:

the leather wasn't an issue.

Speaker:

Nothing was really an issue besides the fact that,

Speaker:

Hey, we only had three months to prepare for a full

Speaker:

season of shows.

Speaker:

So that was really the push point was how much do

Speaker:

we have to order to be able to get through the

Speaker:

season? You have to say right here,

Speaker:

like you're talking about how you're selecting the leather and just

Speaker:

taking what you can find your product is so high class

Speaker:

and high quality.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

you can see it right from the start.

Speaker:

So I don't want people who haven't seen the product yet

Speaker:

to get the wrong impression.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

the result is beautiful.

Speaker:

Well, thank you.

Speaker:

And that's something that we really pride ourselves on.

Speaker:

We don't ever pick up leather that we haven't seen and

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touched and felt.

Speaker:

We know where the weak points are in the leather and

Speaker:

we don't make anything out of that point in the leather

Speaker:

that goes to scrap.

Speaker:

It literally gets thrown out.

Speaker:

I'm not taking a chance on making a product that isn't

Speaker:

the highest quality leather that we can find.

Speaker:

So everything that we create,

Speaker:

we have seen and touched and felt before.

Speaker:

So this evolution of your business is going to be kind

Speaker:

of interesting because we've got the whole COVID thing thrown in

Speaker:

there. So I want to talk about your true experience,

Speaker:

but hopefully no one will ever have to live the experience

Speaker:

the way you did,

Speaker:

because this has never happening.

Speaker:

Once again,

Speaker:

I'm just going to state the rules.

Speaker:

So you're Leon was shows you're going to sell.

Speaker:

It shows.

Speaker:

Do you have your whole schedule?

Speaker:

You figured what you had to make to get through the

Speaker:

season. Were you thinking of putting up a website or anything,

Speaker:

or was it all going to be just face to face

Speaker:

as you were getting started Here?

Speaker:

I actually was so excited to have a website that I

Speaker:

had created it about,

Speaker:

I think October,

Speaker:

2019, just on Shopify.

Speaker:

I just used the basic free templates that they had given

Speaker:

me and made the whole thing myself.

Speaker:

So we did have a functional website at that point.

Speaker:

Beautiful. I love that.

Speaker:

And by the way,

Speaker:

Shopify is my favorite place.

Speaker:

Do you consider yourself really tech savvy?

Speaker:

No, not at all.

Speaker:

If I could have my flip phone back,

Speaker:

I would.

Speaker:

Okay. So talk to us then,

Speaker:

because so many people are afraid of a website and particularly

Speaker:

something that is something like Shopify that you have to create

Speaker:

your own.

Speaker:

What was your experience putting that website together?

Speaker:

Honestly, it was a lot of time and a lot of

Speaker:

effort and Shopify in particular just makes everything so smooth and

Speaker:

easy. I really didn't have any issues getting the website up

Speaker:

and running.

Speaker:

It was more,

Speaker:

what do I want the website to look like?

Speaker:

We were very particular.

Speaker:

We were sort of honing in on our product specialty at

Speaker:

that point,

Speaker:

what set us apart from the rest.

Speaker:

So really the only thing that took a lot of time

Speaker:

and effort was getting the website to look the way I

Speaker:

wanted it to look.

Speaker:

So Shopify took the fear out of it completely,

Speaker:

just super easy to use.

Speaker:

And I loved it and I had a great experience with

Speaker:

it and continue using it now.

Speaker:

Okay. So super doable.

Speaker:

And the fact is that your website can evolve over time.

Speaker:

So even if you're at a point where you can't spend

Speaker:

the time like you were doing it can get up and

Speaker:

be functional relatively quickly.

Speaker:

I know the reason I asked you that is because you

Speaker:

were going to rely based on the story.

Speaker:

So heavily on craft shows.

Speaker:

A lot of people don't put up a website.

Speaker:

In fact,

Speaker:

last year,

Speaker:

a lot of people who have been exhibiting at shows for

Speaker:

years, I think we might've talked about this when I saw

Speaker:

you, but we're caught off guard because they didn't have a

Speaker:

website. Like all they had were the shows.

Speaker:

So that wasn't,

Speaker:

you, you did have your website.

Speaker:

So something lucky happened there that you decided to put that

Speaker:

up also.

Speaker:

Yeah, no kidding.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:So we progress into:Speaker:

What's now happening.

Speaker:

We realized mid mid-March that everything is shutting down and shows

Speaker:

they're getting canceled.

Speaker:

And we only had enough money to really get through the

Speaker:

end of April.

Speaker:

And that was it because that's when our show season started.

Speaker:

So my husband and I looked at each other and started

Speaker:

panicking because,

Speaker:

well, what are you going to do with,

Speaker:

you know,

Speaker:

our worst case scenario plan,

Speaker:

Hey, let's go and get a job sort of failed at

Speaker:

that point too,

Speaker:

because everything was shutting down.

Speaker:

We did not have any resource like that to go and

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get a job.

Speaker:

So at that point it was a little scary.

Speaker:

And then I got a cold call from an advertising company

Speaker:

that specializes in Facebook and Instagram advertising.

Speaker:

And it was really strange that they literally happened to call

Speaker:

the week that we were freaking out about everything.

Speaker:

And we sat down and said,

Speaker:

you know what,

Speaker:

all the money that we have left,

Speaker:

it's going to disappear anyways.

Speaker:

So what are we going to do with it?

Speaker:

Let's throw it into this advertising and see what happens because

Speaker:

what else are you going to do?

Speaker:

The only really resource we had for selling at that point

Speaker:

with online.

Speaker:

So we took pretty much everything we had left and gave

Speaker:

it to this advertising company and just took a leap of

Speaker:

faith. And luckily we did that because it really saved us

Speaker:

in the end.

Speaker:

It's crazy.

Speaker:

So it was Facebook,

Speaker:

Instagram advertising.

Speaker:

Yes. Correct.

Speaker:

And is it a local agency that contacted you or you

Speaker:

don't have to say That's okay.

Speaker:

They had a local office in Chicago,

Speaker:

but I think they were mainly based out of Oregon.

Speaker:

Then walk us through the nature of how from scratch,

Speaker:

never having done any social advertising at all.

Speaker:

Walk us through a little bit of your,

Speaker:

So we really didn't know what to prepare for,

Speaker:

but knowing the reaction that people had had to our products

Speaker:

in person,

Speaker:

we were hoping that they'd have the same reaction online.

Speaker:

So the prep for all of that was,

Speaker:

it took them about a month to get everything created and

Speaker:

all the ads going.

Speaker:

So we had about a month to prepare.

Speaker:

So what we did is we took all the stuff that

Speaker:

we were creating for show season.

Speaker:

I did all the photography.

Speaker:

I did all the editing.

Speaker:

I put everything on our website and I loaded everything I

Speaker:

possibly could onto the website.

Speaker:

And at that point we just sort of gave him the

Speaker:

wheel and said,

Speaker:

okay, you're all set.

Speaker:

All the ads are great.

Speaker:

We love it.

Speaker:

Let's do it.

Speaker:

And they had started the first ad,

Speaker:

went out July 31st.

Speaker:

And we literally sold a bag to a completely random person

Speaker:

all the way down in Texas that very first night,

Speaker:

within three hours of the ads going out,

Speaker:

Oh, you guys must've been breathing a sigh of relief.

Speaker:

You have no idea that first indicator that this was a

Speaker:

good move.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

So you already answered my question cause I was wondering what

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your targeting was.

Speaker:

So it was a national targeting,

Speaker:

but I'm sure you had some other specific targeted factors in

Speaker:

your head.

Speaker:

Yeah. The company actually takes all the sales that you've made

Speaker:

and like figures out all those demographics.

Speaker:

So we knew our median age and then male,

Speaker:

female, and primarily the areas where they bought from.

Speaker:

So we sort of had an idea of that already.

Speaker:

And this company actually adjusted their advertising weekly,

Speaker:

depending on who was clicking on the ads that they created

Speaker:

and stuff like that.

Speaker:

So that was a very moving and dynamic piece of the

Speaker:

puzzle that they took care of.

Speaker:

Oh, cool.

Speaker:

It sounds like they were also looking at your list for

Speaker:

lookalikes. So people who looked like the people who were already

Speaker:

purchasing by demographics and also other interests that they might've had.

Speaker:

Correct. Wonderful.

Speaker:

Oh my gosh.

Speaker:

So how did this continue to play?

Speaker:

Don't keep us in suspense here.

Speaker:

Well, I am going to keep you in suspense for just

Speaker:

a second so we can hear from our sponsor.

Speaker:

Hi, I'm Nancy.

Speaker:

I get to work with all the beautiful colors of ribbon.

Speaker:

As I pick impact customer orders for the ribbon print company,

Speaker:

our ribbon printing systems include the software printer and everything.

Speaker:

You need to start printing ribbon right away in your shop

Speaker:

or craft studio.

Speaker:

And when you need new colors or sizes of ribbon or

Speaker:

ink, we call them foils where just an order away.

Speaker:

My favorite thing is when I'm filling an order and everything

Speaker:

fits in the box perfectly,

Speaker:

really. I don't know why,

Speaker:

but it's so rewarding.

Speaker:

Kind of like how our customers feel when they print personalized

Speaker:

ribbons and see the reaction on the faces of their customers,

Speaker:

pure happiness and surprise.

Speaker:

Besides the more obvious uses for customer given,

Speaker:

I'm seeing it used for sashes party,

Speaker:

decor and bookmarks.

Speaker:

There really is no limit to its application in our small

Speaker:

town. The main street is lined with ribbon.

Speaker:

The city requested saying stand strong.

Speaker:

And we're in this together.

Speaker:

Our high school also used ribbon to motivate the students.

Speaker:

When we had Jason Brown competing in the Olympics,

Speaker:

it's a joy to be surrounded by something that can provide

Speaker:

motivation, enjoyed others,

Speaker:

to learn more and see the ribbon printer and action go

Speaker:

over to the ribbon print company.com.

Speaker:

The other thing that happens shortly after that was somebody recommended,

Speaker:

Hey, there's this events going on at this race track by

Speaker:

you? Why don't you guys go and try it and see

Speaker:

what happens?

Speaker:

And it was the only thing that was open during COVID

Speaker:

and it's actually road America up here in Elkhart lake in

Speaker:

Wisconsin. And we set up there for the entire season.

Speaker:

Cause well,

Speaker:

we didn't have any other shows to do.

Speaker:

And literally that along with the advertising online,

Speaker:let us get through:Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

we survived.

Speaker:

We did it,

Speaker:

it was stressful,

Speaker:

but we learned so much from it.

Speaker:

We would have never,

Speaker:

ever gotten a chance to figure out the website the way

Speaker:

that we did and how online advertising works and the power

Speaker:

of online advertising and the power of social media.

Speaker:

Honestly, we realized that the end of the year,

Speaker:

the power and that face to face has online stuff is

Speaker:

great, but you cannot take out the face to face interactions

Speaker:

that you have with your customers.

Speaker:

It doesn't make up for it.

Speaker:

It's not the same thing.

Speaker:

So we really learned a lot from last Year.

Speaker:

What was something that surprised you?

Speaker:

I was Truly surprised by how many relationships we created with

Speaker:

our customers.

Speaker:

When you're selling online,

Speaker:

people can read about your story,

Speaker:

but they don't really get to meet you and interact with

Speaker:

you. And I think that really caught me off guard is

Speaker:

how much we truly love,

Speaker:

not only what we make,

Speaker:

but how much we love interacting with the people that we

Speaker:

make things for and the relationships that we've built.

Speaker:

They're just,

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

we have repeat customers that are absolutely outstanding humans and I

Speaker:

love him and I would call him my friend every day.

Speaker:

I love that first.

Speaker:

I would say,

Speaker:

well, first off racetrack,

Speaker:

it seems to me like that would be a good audience

Speaker:

for you already.

Speaker:

So a lot of things worked in your favor here.

Speaker:

I have to say Yulia.

Speaker:

So that was one thing.

Speaker:

And then also I think we were all thirsting for some

Speaker:

type of human interaction.

Speaker:

So if that was the only thing that was open,

Speaker:

it was kind of like they were all siphoning over to

Speaker:

you at that racetrack.

Speaker:

Yeah, they were,

Speaker:

we got lucky.

Speaker:

And the fact that when people couldn't be together for the

Speaker:

holidays or birthdays or Christmas,

Speaker:

a lot of people were sending gifts.

Speaker:

So that also helped.

Speaker:

And I have to say again,

Speaker:

because I've the experience of not knowing you at all to

Speaker:

now knowing you some as we continue,

Speaker:

but you aren't overly aggressive in your booth.

Speaker:

You're welcoming,

Speaker:

you're there.

Speaker:

But when you talk about all the interactions and being able

Speaker:

to talk with people,

Speaker:

it's a very comfortable style that you present in your booth

Speaker:

and not everyone's like that.

Speaker:

I pride myself on that just based upon past experience.

Speaker:

You know,

Speaker:

I told myself growing up,

Speaker:

I would never be in sales ever.

Speaker:

Well, hello,

Speaker:

look at you.

Speaker:

Now it's A little different,

Speaker:

but I've learned that.

Speaker:

What do I hate when people do when they're selling to

Speaker:

me, pushy aggressive,

Speaker:

I don't like that.

Speaker:

And that's not what I ever intend to do in any

Speaker:

regard in my own business.

Speaker:

Well, I see it more as this is what you make.

Speaker:

You want to share it with everybody.

Speaker:

And if they're interested,

Speaker:

they can look at it.

Speaker:

You can talk about it and maybe they want to take

Speaker:

one home with them.

Speaker:

Correct. My only goal is,

Speaker:

Hey, if you love it,

Speaker:

I will share the love with you.

Speaker:

So I want to talk a little bit about your farm

Speaker:

house and how you've converted this into your studio.

Speaker:

This is like the perfect situation,

Speaker:

because you've got your home base right there and you live

Speaker:

there. So zero commute,

Speaker:

which is beautiful,

Speaker:

but give us kind of the evolution of how you decided

Speaker:

to dedicate some of your house and how it's working out

Speaker:

for you.

Speaker:

So We actually bought a church and the house,

Speaker:

so it was the parsonage to the church.

Speaker:

And we were originally going to have our work studio in

Speaker:

a church and that didn't end up working out because somebody

Speaker:

drove by and wanted to buy it.

Speaker:

So we sold it,

Speaker:

which was just another,

Speaker:

like everything happens for a reason type of thing.

Speaker:

So we were stuck with this house that we didn't know

Speaker:

what to do with,

Speaker:

like I said,

Speaker:

we don't have children and the house is enormous five bedrooms,

Speaker:

and we literally had no idea what to do.

Speaker:

So we converted one of the bedrooms upstairs on the main

Speaker:

level into a work studio.

Speaker:

We just built a table.

Speaker:

The sewing machine was up there.

Speaker:

And as we grew,

Speaker:

we don't have a living room and dining room anymore.

Speaker:

And it's no work studio.

Speaker:

We literally just have a bedroom and a kitchen,

Speaker:

a few bathrooms and everything else closets included is all storage

Speaker:

or work related.

Speaker:

So for us,

Speaker:

because we have the space,

Speaker:

we've just slowly expanded into the house to accommodate our current

Speaker:

needs. I mean,

Speaker:

eventually we can't keep going at this pace for very long.

Speaker:

So we will be looking to expand eventually,

Speaker:

but for a startup business to have no overhead in that

Speaker:

regard has been incredibly helpful.

Speaker:

And now we have hired our first official employee as of

Speaker:

three weeks ago,

Speaker:

which is exciting and crazy and scary and everything in between.

Speaker:

But honestly,

Speaker:

the way that we looked at it as if we had

Speaker:

to expand,

Speaker:

we would be paying rent on some other studio we're building.

Speaker:

Right? So instead of doing that,

Speaker:

we said,

Speaker:

you know what,

Speaker:

we'll sacrifice some more space in our house and we'll pay

Speaker:

what we will be paying in rent to an actual employee

Speaker:

so that we can expand the business before we take the

Speaker:

leap to actually expand property.

Speaker:

Okay. So I want to talk about this employee,

Speaker:

but first I feel like what you really have done is

Speaker:

you now live in your production area.

Speaker:

It's not a house that includes a production area.

Speaker:

It's the other way around,

Speaker:

which you know,

Speaker:

for now,

Speaker:

you know,

Speaker:

is absolutely fine.

Speaker:

It's working for you.

Speaker:

And it's all good.

Speaker:

So I love that and I bet it to beautiful out

Speaker:

there Too.

Speaker:

Yeah. We've got a great property And I bet it smells

Speaker:

amazing. Smells like Calvin newer half the time.

Speaker:

And then when you walk inside,

Speaker:

it smells like cow hide.

Speaker:

So we're just surrounded by cow smell.

Speaker:

Oh, I'm thinking just that fresh leather smell.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

So how do you balance out then some type of personal

Speaker:

time when you're surrounded now,

Speaker:

this is like the biggest example.

Speaker:

Your business is all around you.

Speaker:

You've probably no matter where you walk,

Speaker:

you're running into and seeing the business.

Speaker:

So how do you and already get a chance to take

Speaker:

a break from it?

Speaker:

That is a fantastic question that we are trying to figure

Speaker:

out by the day,

Speaker:

but I think it's important at this point where we are

Speaker:

where this year has caught us completely off guard as to

Speaker:

how busy we would be.

Speaker:

We truly are listening to what our bodies are telling us

Speaker:

that a human can only do so much.

Speaker:

And when both of us are on our last thread,

Speaker:

we just literally are like,

Speaker:

okay, you know what?

Speaker:

It is,

Speaker:

what it is.

Speaker:

We can only get done what we can get done for

Speaker:

the day.

Speaker:

We're tired.

Speaker:

We're going to go outside with the dogs and relax.

Speaker:

And I think learning that as we go,

Speaker:

we definitely push ourselves a little hard at the beginning of

Speaker:

the season and burn ourselves out a bit.

Speaker:

But I think at this point,

Speaker:

so we've come to terms with the fact that you can

Speaker:

only get so much done in a day and you just

Speaker:

have to make peace with that.

Speaker:

At the end of the day,

Speaker:

if you go to a show and you don't have as

Speaker:

much product,

Speaker:

as you were hoping to have,

Speaker:

you know,

Speaker:

what it is,

Speaker:

what it is.

Speaker:

And I think that realization has really helped us truly take

Speaker:

time off and say,

Speaker:

Hey, we're going to take three hours off or take the

Speaker:

rest of the night off.

Speaker:

We're learning as we go And you need to do that,

Speaker:

or you're not going to make it for the long haul.

Speaker:

For sure.

Speaker:

You can't go all in all the time and expect it

Speaker:

to be able to continue year after year.

Speaker:

Have you designated kind of certain work hours start and finish

Speaker:

times Now that we have an employee,

Speaker:

we definitely have that under control a little bit better.

Speaker:

We operate best in the morning.

Speaker:

And then in the evening.

Speaker:

So midday is really our time to sort of come together.

Speaker:

And whether you take a little bit of a nap or

Speaker:

you go out with the dogs or you just go for

Speaker:

a walk or whatever it is that mid day is sort

Speaker:

of our relaxing time and sort of rejuvenating.

Speaker:

And then we'd go back at it in the evening and

Speaker:

into the night a little bit.

Speaker:

And what about division of responsibilities since your owner is also

Speaker:

your life partners?

Speaker:

How are you working in dividing all the tasks that are

Speaker:

included in a business?

Speaker:

Well, at first I have to tell you this funny story.

Speaker:

So I like organized chaos and my husband just likes organized.

Speaker:

So we operate two very different ways.

Speaker:

And at a certain point last year,

Speaker:

we only had one eight by four foot table that we

Speaker:

were both working off.

Speaker:

And it got to the point where he literally drew a

Speaker:

line in the table,

Speaker:

designating, you sit over there and I stay over here and

Speaker:

that's the only way we're going to make this happen.

Speaker:

So from there,

Speaker:

we both chuckled about it at first it was like,

Speaker:

really? But then we were like,

Speaker:

okay, we work two totally different ways.

Speaker:

So he ended up creating a completely separate work room for

Speaker:

me in a different bedroom.

Speaker:

So we actually have our separate spaces,

Speaker:

which I think is really nice.

Speaker:

We also now have like a communal work area where all

Speaker:

of us can work together when we need to.

Speaker:

And there's different parts that he does that I don't do.

Speaker:

And we've sort of created that workflow in that regard that

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we know he needs to do this in order for me

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to continue working.

Speaker:

And I need to do this in order for him to

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continue working.

Speaker:

So we really have that flow down.

Speaker:

He starts the process.

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I'm sort of in the middle of the process.

Speaker:

He finishes some of the products.

Speaker:

I finished some of the products.

Speaker:

So we really have a good workflow going at this point

Speaker:

between them.

Speaker:

Beautiful. So you have a system down that's working for production.

Speaker:

How did you decide who's going to work the books.

Speaker:

Who's going to talk about the Facebook ads and marketing.

Speaker:

Who's going to book the shows.

Speaker:

How does that all come together?

Speaker:

So it all Comes together based on the fact that my

Speaker:

old job and I have to give credit to my old

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boss who was also my stepfather in law.

Speaker:

He really taught me everything I know about business.

Speaker:

He taught me how to read a profit and loss sheet.

Speaker:

He taught me how to budget.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

you name it.

Speaker:

He taught me it.

Speaker:

And we wouldn't be where we are today without his knowledge

Speaker:

and his wisdom and his guidance in business in general and

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in life,

Speaker:

he was one of my favorite people.

Speaker:

And that was a very big loss.

Speaker:

That was,

Speaker:

he actually passed away a few years ago.

Speaker:

So he did not get to see us in the state

Speaker:

that we're in,

Speaker:

which he,

Speaker:

I know deep down in his heart,

Speaker:

he knew that I was going to leave his business.

Speaker:

It was,

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he owned that business that I was working for.

Speaker:

He knew deep down in his heart that once he passed

Speaker:

that I probably would end up leaving and starting my own

Speaker:

business. Something Tells me that he knows how successful you are.

Speaker:

Somehow that message is getting out.

Speaker:

And he knows He's there.

Speaker:

And in that regard,

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just to give him a little shout out from down here,

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back on earth,

Speaker:

but he really taught me everything.

Speaker:

And because of that,

Speaker:

I primarily duel all of the business end of everything.

Speaker:

So I book the shows.

Speaker:

I keep track of the schedule.

Speaker:

I do all the finances.

Speaker:

I do everything of that nature.

Speaker:

So I'm marketing,

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I'm finances.

Speaker:

I'm the show coordinator.

Speaker:

I'm the production girl sort of do all of that,

Speaker:

which is A lot for now because as you grow,

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you know,

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the things you don't like to do,

Speaker:

you'll be able to spin off as things,

Speaker:

keep evolving,

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all right,

Speaker:

enter the idea of an employee.

Speaker:

How did you figure out how that was going to happen?

Speaker:

So basically we looked at each other and said,

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you know,

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what, if we want to continue the way we want to,

Speaker:

which is to keep building a business.

Speaker:

And also having time to actually live a life.

Speaker:

We need to talk about seriously having an employee and my

Speaker:

best friends,

Speaker:

Kenzie Seidel,

Speaker:

who is going to be at shows throughout the summer now

Speaker:

she's awesome.

Speaker:

And she has been helping us since probably about last September

Speaker:

when we were like,

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Hey, we need help.

Speaker:

Or the big Christmas push she's been helping us since then.

Speaker:

And I finally convinced her to take the jump and quit

Speaker:

her full-time job a few weeks ago here about a month

Speaker:

ago now,

Speaker:

and go into this with us and honestly,

Speaker:

RA and I said,

Speaker:

look, having an employee is going to pay off for itself

Speaker:

because she can now do stuff that we can't keep up

Speaker:

with. She can do shows that we can't go to.

Speaker:

And at the end of the year,

Speaker:

she's really going to be paying for herself in that regard.

Speaker:

So it wasn't really a question of where are we going

Speaker:

to get the money to pay her.

Speaker:

It was a question of how can we utilize her best

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so that she can create an extra income that we can't

Speaker:

create right now,

Speaker:

just the two of us.

Speaker:

And that's sort of how that evolved.

Speaker:

And she took the leap of faith in us,

Speaker:

and I'm sure she still is every single day cause it's

Speaker:

terrifying for her.

Speaker:

I'm sure.

Speaker:

And we're making it happen.

Speaker:

It's crazy.

Speaker:

I think this is the first weekend that we're going into

Speaker:

that we can actually say we're completely a hundred percent prepared

Speaker:

for the shows we're going into.

Speaker:

That's exciting.

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So exciting.

Speaker:

Okay. So how did you decide what her jobs and responsibilities

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were going to be like of all the things that she

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could take off your shoulders?

Speaker:

How did you decide when it wasn't her yet,

Speaker:

or maybe you already knew that she would possibly be the

Speaker:

one, but what was going to be the role of this

Speaker:

new person?

Speaker:

How did you figure that out?

Speaker:

So we figured it out just based on the fact that

Speaker:

we were giving her stuff to do.

Speaker:

And she was sort of taking the reins and adding her

Speaker:

own twist.

Speaker:

So we hand so all of the handles on to all

Speaker:

of our bags and we had given her some of that

Speaker:

responsibility towards the end of last year,

Speaker:

because we just couldn't keep up with it.

Speaker:

So I said,

Speaker:

you know what,

Speaker:

take these bags home and put the colors down that you

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think are going to go and do a pattern that you

Speaker:

think is going to go well,

Speaker:

this is what we've done.

Speaker:

See what you can come up with.

Speaker:

And I just saw her evolve and I realized that,

Speaker:

Hey, you know what,

Speaker:

she's got a really good sense of creativity.

Speaker:

And she sees things that we don't see,

Speaker:

which is super cool to be able to collaborate with somebody

Speaker:

that can bring something fresh to the table like that.

Speaker:

And at that point,

Speaker:

she had started making some of our bracelets for us and

Speaker:

she was coming up with designs that were just killer.

Speaker:

So I think at that point,

Speaker:

I knew that,

Speaker:

Hey, when we could make this happen,

Speaker:

that she would be a great addition to the team.

Speaker:

And on top of that,

Speaker:

I had already worked with her at my old job for

Speaker:

about three,

Speaker:

four years.

Speaker:

So she was sort of my right hand woman at that

Speaker:

point as well.

Speaker:

So I knew that her and I could already work together

Speaker:

very well besides the fact that she was my best friend.

Speaker:

So I think it sort of evolved naturally.

Speaker:

And now we're at this point where she's helping us with

Speaker:

a lot of the production aspect of things,

Speaker:

which is freeing me up to focus on the business end

Speaker:

of things.

Speaker:

And how do we grow from here?

Speaker:

What shows do we do?

Speaker:

Can we add more shows here?

Speaker:

And they are figuring that portion of it out because I

Speaker:

haven't had the time to do so this year,

Speaker:

especially, Gosh,

Speaker:

you've already shared a little bit about how you felt that

Speaker:

this was less of a risk because you've already had experience

Speaker:

working together.

Speaker:

But did you have any conversations about your relationship with each

Speaker:

other and like parameters or brackets or any concerns about doing

Speaker:

this together that it could affect you friendship?

Speaker:

We Haven't.

Speaker:

And I think so far that her and I can read

Speaker:

each other very well and especially her husband and Ari on

Speaker:

the four of us get along very well in conversations that

Speaker:

we have leading up to this were sorta quick.

Speaker:

Cause we're like,

Speaker:

we need you now,

Speaker:

but it wasn't like here,

Speaker:

it takes three weeks to think about it.

Speaker:

It was more like here take tonight to think about it.

Speaker:

I think just because we did have that solid base and

Speaker:

that solid foundation,

Speaker:

I think we had the trust already in each other to

Speaker:

know that,

Speaker:

Hey, we're going to make this work regardless.

Speaker:

I don't want to mess up anybody's life.

Speaker:

And we have a mutual understanding that,

Speaker:

Hey, it's our responsibility now to make sure that she doesn't

Speaker:

go bankrupt.

Speaker:

And it's also her responsibility to make sure that our business

Speaker:

can function as smoothly as possible.

Speaker:

And I think having that friendship and business aspect together now

Speaker:

is really just a lot easier.

Speaker:

That makes sense.

Speaker:

There's that conversation out there that says never hire family or

Speaker:

friends because it can affect your relationship.

Speaker:

Personally. My right hand person is a friend,

Speaker:

but she was a new friend when we met our daughters

Speaker:

were playing basketball.

Speaker:

And so we met on the stands at the games,

Speaker:

right. And so she kept saying,

Speaker:

I want to come work for you.

Speaker:

And I'm like,

Speaker:

no, you can't sorry.

Speaker:

But finally she kept insisting.

Speaker:

I'm like,

Speaker:

okay, come in,

Speaker:

let's talk about it.

Speaker:

And we had a conversation and we laid the ground rules

Speaker:

that if at ever point our friendship was being challenged,

Speaker:

obviously I couldn't leave.

Speaker:

I'm the owner of the business that she would step away

Speaker:

if either of us felt like that was a bad thing.

Speaker:

And it hasn't been,

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

we've been together for,

Speaker:

I don't know,

Speaker:

7, 8,

Speaker:

10 years.

Speaker:

I don't even know how long at this point.

Speaker:

So anyone who's listening,

Speaker:

I guess I just would make the point that you've heard

Speaker:

a couple of examples here.

Speaker:

So don't discount the opportunities that could be there.

Speaker:

Plus it's so fun when you get to work with someone

Speaker:

who's already a friend too.

Speaker:

Oh yeah.

Speaker:

It's awesome.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

So let's get to right to today.

Speaker:

You've got a new show coming up here this weekend.

Speaker:

How are the shows looking now compared to that first show?

Speaker:

What have you learned in this year and a half?

Speaker:

We've learned that we have something that people want and it's

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a matter of figuring out how do we balance that with

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how much we can really produce and also not saturating the,

Speaker:

the system with too much.

Speaker:

What we offer is really a unique product.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

we really,

Speaker:

I don't think I've ever replicated a big exactly.

Speaker:

And we can't really with the leather that we use,

Speaker:

it's a very natural product.

Speaker:

So it's never going to look identical.

Speaker:

And I think from the beginning of to now,

Speaker:

it's really just figuring out,

Speaker:

okay, how do we balance all of this out?

Speaker:

We know we have something that people like and that people

Speaker:

want. And how do we continue to make that a thing?

Speaker:

It's one thing to have a great idea and for it

Speaker:

to go great in the beginning.

Speaker:

But you go to art shows.

Speaker:

There's only so many art shows that you can really get

Speaker:

to within a seasons.

Speaker:

So now it's thinking ahead of like,

Speaker:

okay, we've been to this art show before right now we

Speaker:

have to bring product to this art show that people haven't

Speaker:

seen previously to keep people interested in our products.

Speaker:

And I think that's sort of where we're at is that

Speaker:

we have figured out,

Speaker:

Hey, this is something we can do.

Speaker:

How do we continue to make it something that people want?

Speaker:

And that's really where we are.

Speaker:

You'll also have the people who saw you the prior year

Speaker:

and you're back again.

Speaker:

So that adds credibility.

Speaker:

And maybe they didn't have in their budget to be able

Speaker:

to afford it last year.

Speaker:

So now they can.

Speaker:

So you'll have new customers in that way,

Speaker:

but then you're right.

Speaker:

How do you make things fresh?

Speaker:

So that for people who come back who want more for

Speaker:

themselves, even just not a gift for somebody else that there's

Speaker:

something available,

Speaker:

That's sort of where we're at this last year.

Speaker:

If nothing else has taught us the trust,

Speaker:

your intuition,

Speaker:

when you feel like something's right.

Speaker:

And that's the move that you have to make trust that

Speaker:

there's been a lot of people along the way,

Speaker:

like friends and family members and stuff like that that are

Speaker:

like, oh,

Speaker:

you should do this.

Speaker:

I saw that was a thing.

Speaker:

Or, you know,

Speaker:

you should make your bag,

Speaker:

look like this,

Speaker:

cause it's popular today or do this or that.

Speaker:

And honestly,

Speaker:

thank you everybody for all the advice and for all the

Speaker:

guidance and stuff.

Speaker:

But I think at the end of the day,

Speaker:

do what feels right and trust your gut when I'm standing

Speaker:

in my booth and I'm people watching and I'm watching how

Speaker:

people react to products.

Speaker:

I take that very heavily.

Speaker:

I've watched people and I want to see what their reaction

Speaker:

is so that I can adjust what I'm doing to accommodate

Speaker:

what they want.

Speaker:

This isn't a business about me.

Speaker:

It's a business about my customers.

Speaker:

That's good.

Speaker:

And at the same time,

Speaker:

you don't want to switch with every little thing.

Speaker:

Someone suggests that you do.

Speaker:

I mean talk about squirrel syndrome.

Speaker:

Like you'll be all over the place all the time.

Speaker:

Absolutely. And you have to take that with a grain of

Speaker:

salt. I mean,

Speaker:

people are always going to be offering,

Speaker:

Hey, you should make your big,

Speaker:

like, this would be way much better.

Speaker:

And you just have to take that and say,

Speaker:

Hey, you know what,

Speaker:

what I do is try it.

Speaker:

And it's proven and thank you for your advice,

Speaker:

but I'm not going to go in that direction.

Speaker:

But if I see multiple people saying,

Speaker:

Hey, you know what?

Speaker:

This isn't working in this space,

Speaker:

then I'm happy to adjust it.

Speaker:

So it's definitely sort of take it as it comes.

Speaker:

Don't take everything.

Speaker:

No, I agree with you.

Speaker:

And going back to what you're saying,

Speaker:

trust your intuition.

Speaker:

It's a cautionary tale because someone might say,

Speaker:

oh, this would be the greatest idea you ask a couple

Speaker:

of people.

Speaker:

They also say it would be a great idea.

Speaker:

You do it.

Speaker:

No one buys it.

Speaker:

Talk is one thing.

Speaker:

Opening your wallet is a whole different thing.

Speaker:

And for you guys,

Speaker:

since you produce things right site,

Speaker:

you can take a couple of demo samples and see what

Speaker:

happens. Absolutely.

Speaker:

And I've probably started amazing.

Speaker:

And so we're do Facebook ads play a role today.

Speaker:

So When we ended last year,

Speaker:

the holiday season,

Speaker:

we actually shut that down.

Speaker:

And we instead transitioned to using a local friend of ours

Speaker:

that is doing all of our organic social media currently.

Speaker:

So we have transitioned,

Speaker:

like I do stuff on Instagram,

Speaker:

for sure.

Speaker:

Like I do posts and I do stories sort of as

Speaker:

things develop,

Speaker:

Hey, like what's in the shop today.

Speaker:

What are we working on today?

Speaker:

Stuff like that.

Speaker:

But we actually transitioned to the more organic side of things

Speaker:

currently this year has just caught us off guard that we

Speaker:

have actually taken most of the product off our website in

Speaker:

order to catch up if you will.

Speaker:

So we will be doing a large launch and reveal of

Speaker:

a new website coming up in the fall that we're gearing

Speaker:

up for.

Speaker:

So currently,

Speaker:

if Facebook ads has been put on a pause,

Speaker:

but they will be kick starting again.

Speaker:

Once we get our new website up and running and do

Speaker:

a live launch,

Speaker:

Sounds great.

Speaker:

Well, and you've experienced with it now.

Speaker:

So you know,

Speaker:

the way it can work and I'm really feeling for you

Speaker:

Yulia, you have a demand problem.

Speaker:

You can't make it fast enough.

Speaker:

We do.

Speaker:

It's a great problem to have,

Speaker:

and it's exhausting and it's awesome.

Speaker:

And everything in between.

Speaker:

Exactly. I mean,

Speaker:

some days you're not feeling like it's a great problem.

Speaker:

I am quite sure.

Speaker:

Well, what do you see as the years go on?

Speaker:

What's the new vision now that you've reached this level?

Speaker:

That is such a great question.

Speaker:

I've been thinking a lot about that lately.

Speaker:

And honestly,

Speaker:

I think it's just,

Speaker:

I don't want to be a multi-million dollar CEO or anything

Speaker:

like that.

Speaker:

Honestly. I just want to keep the life I have and

Speaker:

continue down the path we're going and keep creating products out

Speaker:

of literally just love.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

we do what we do because we enjoy doing it and

Speaker:

I don't want that to ever change.

Speaker:

So for the next few years,

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

I would love to try new art shows and to be

Speaker:

able to drive and go farther with our products and reach

Speaker:

new people.

Speaker:

That's really,

Speaker:

the only goal I have is to just try new art

Speaker:

shows, go to new places,

Speaker:

travel when I can and continue doing what we're doing.

Speaker:

We don't really plan on going big and global or anything.

Speaker:

That's really not anything that we have a dream to do.

Speaker:

Okay. I think that's a great answer because our world tends

Speaker:

to tell us that you've got to get bigger and bigger

Speaker:

and bigger and bigger is better,

Speaker:

but you can also grow yourself right out of loving what

Speaker:

you're doing and what you built.

Speaker:

Absolutely. So defining that now and who knows what might change

Speaker:

as things go by,

Speaker:

but that's the current plan,

Speaker:

which I think is fabulous.

Speaker:

And it's again,

Speaker:

a great demonstration for everybody that you don't always have to

Speaker:

be thinking that,

Speaker:

oh my gosh,

Speaker:

am I X percent year over year of sales?

Speaker:

If you're happy where you are.

Speaker:

And for you guys,

Speaker:

obviously a life sustaining company to support you.

Speaker:

And if that's what you want,

Speaker:

then that's absolutely beautiful.

Speaker:

And you don't even need to continue to add employees unless

Speaker:

you want to,

Speaker:

because your positions then change to you have this whole other

Speaker:

element of having to manage people.

Speaker:

Well, that's just not something that we ever really want to

Speaker:

get into.

Speaker:

We love doing what we do.

Speaker:

I love being hands-on I love sewing the bags.

Speaker:

It literally,

Speaker:

at the end of the day,

Speaker:

it's like,

Speaker:

what can I create?

Speaker:

What can I sell?

Speaker:

And what can I make with my own two hands?

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

that really is what drives this business.

Speaker:

And if that was ever taken away from us,

Speaker:

we would not be where our happy places.

Speaker:

We just wouldn't be.

Speaker:

It's so good that you recognize that right here,

Speaker:

right? At this juncture,

Speaker:

Yulia, this has been so much fun.

Speaker:

I've already said like a million times,

Speaker:

how much I like your products.

Speaker:

Your story is equally as wonderful.

Speaker:

And it's been really helpful.

Speaker:

I know too many of our listeners just to hear how

Speaker:

you've advanced in your journey up to this point.

Speaker:

And I can't wait to see what the future holds for

Speaker:

you. I know we're super excited.

Speaker:

Wonderful. Thanks so much for being on the show today.

Speaker:

Thank you for having these two.

Speaker:

It's been a pleasure.

Speaker:

There's a lot here and a great example of the success

Speaker:

you too can have with your handmade product business up next

Speaker:

week. I may just have a surprise waiting for you.

Speaker:

I'm working on it as we speak,

Speaker:

and if actually takes place,

Speaker:

I'm going to be turning it around pretty quickly.

Speaker:

So you're just going to have to hold tight and tune

Speaker:

in next week to see what happens as always.

Speaker:

Thanks so much for spending time with me on the show

Speaker:

today. If you'd like to show support for the podcast,

Speaker:

a rating and review would mean the world to me,

Speaker:

and it helps the show get seen by more makers.

Speaker:

So it's a great way to pay it forward.

Speaker:

Also make sure to follow the podcast.

Speaker:

So episodes automatically download to your phone.

Speaker:

That way you don't miss a thing and now be safe

Speaker:

and well.

Speaker:

And I'll see you again next week on the gift biz

Speaker:

unwrapped Podcast.

Speaker:

I want to make sure you're familiar with my free Facebook

Speaker:

group called gift is breeze.

Speaker:

It's a place where we all gather and are community to

Speaker:

support each other.

Speaker:

Got a really fun post in there.

Speaker:

That's my favorite of the week.

Speaker:

I have to say where I invite all of you to

Speaker:

share what you're doing to show pictures of your product,

Speaker:

to show what you're working on for the week to get

Speaker:

reaction from other people and just for fun,

Speaker:

because we all get to see the wonderful products that everybody

Speaker:

in the community is making my favorite post every single week,

Speaker:

without doubt.

Speaker:

Wait, what,

Speaker:

aren't you part of the group already,

Speaker:

if not make sure to jump over to Facebook and search

Speaker:

for the group gift biz breeze don't delay.

1 Comment

  1. Neen on September 10, 2021 at 8:14 am

    Really loved this Podcast!
    The portion about folks saying “you should do this or you should try this” really hit home. I struggle with this all the time.
    Best wishes to you and your husband on your leather business Yuliya!
    And as always Sue, thank you for sharing with us such incredible information!
    Regards,
    Neen

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