May 5, 2020
How long have you been in business?
I opened in 2017, so just past the 3 year mark!
What do you sell?
I focus on soft personalized blankets, and they make the perfect gifts for baby showers and grandmas to give to grandchildren. They are usually the kind of blankets the child saves and uses for years and years! It is a rewarding feeling knowing I can create something that a child can find true comfort in. I had a blanket when I was born that my Grandma had made and I took it to college with me! When my oldest was a toddler, he would toddle himself down the hall and pull his blanket out of his crib and hold it, and then life was better and to be able to provide blankets and know that other little kids are doing those same kind of things is really special.
What inspired you to start your business?
We were in a transitional point in our family, where we moved to a small town, I had owned a childcare business for 7 years, but it wasn’t really possible to reopen that business in the small town we moved to. I was going to be a stay at home mom, but felt like I needed something else. It was kind of my one opportunity to say “Let’s try it” if it doesn’t work, we’re not losing anything. I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d be at the place I am now. At the time, my goal was to sell 12 quilts in a year, and now I’m at the point where I average 800-1,000 quilts a year and I really need to hire an employee! It is so neat to see what it has grown to in just 3 short years.
Tell us a little about what makes your shop unique.
I think the quality is unique. I am really particular about what fabric and threads I use, and how they are made. They are all top stitched and is a very handmade item. A lot of blankets that are similar to mine are all stitched with embroidery, but I do every bit of it with my hands and I think it makes it a uniquely special item.
What is your typical day like?
Well, I have 3 kids! They range in age from 11 to 4, so my life is a lot of wrangling the kids off to school, then I work as much as I can while they are there. I get them home, we do all the activities and then dinner and then after bedtime I often go back to work. I do make an effort to get good sleep though!
What successes within your business makes you most proud?
I am most proud that I built this myself. As a woman and a mom who has so many other obligations, just to be able to look at what I’ve done and say “I did this!” The fact that I’ve been able to coordinate all this and make this all work is just something I didn’t think I could do. I’d been dreaming about this for a good 8-9 years thinking “That’s really would I’d love to do but… I can’t do that, I don’t know how to build a website…” I just did a lot of negative self talk but now I realize I can really do anything and accomplish anything I want if I try.
What are some challenges you have faced as a small business owner?
Realizing what I can’t do. I have a lot of strengths, but there are things that I’ve realized I’m just not good at, and I’ve had to learn to admit that and learn out to fill that role. The other one is time. In the work life balance, deciding where I put my time, it is a daily struggle. I truly do like working, I like it a lot! I like having my own projects and doing my own stuff. Doing the day to day mom stuff like laundry and dinner isn’t as interesting to me! So just trying to figure where that all lies when I spend my time.
How have you utilized LC within your business?
It has been life changing to my business. I knew early on, when I tried to take photos, that I can’t do it. I don’t know what you all do to get those pictures or how you do it! I’ve been with the group since it was pretty small, and I have done a lot of collaborations within the group and it has really changed my business. I love that in the group I am able to find a photographer that also has access to a baby and a beautiful nursery. The photographers in the group are often using their own children, and I have found that those are the images I love most. There is something magical about the pictures that mom gets with her own kids.
If you can give one piece of advice to a shop owner just starting out, what would it be?
Hire out what you’re not good at. Admit that, and just hire it out. It is hard at first when you are just starting out and you don’t have a lot of money coming in, but paying for the help that you need the help for is just so worthwhile. Whatever it is that you aren’t good at, just hire it out. Put then price your items to cover the cost and still make it worth your time. Someone will always be willing to pay it, you just have to find them. Price your items for profit from the start. Even if you aren’t paying others for all of those things now, you will need to eventually, so cover it all now and price yourself for profit— true profit, from the start.
Where can we find you?
You can find me at www.LibbyAnnQuilts.com or www.instagram.com/LibbyAnnQuilts
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