Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts and crafts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tressie Lee, owner of Ao & Tauri, located in Cedar Hill, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Ao & Tauri is a bi-monthly handcrafted art and crafts subscription box inspiring artistic fun for kids and provoking conversation about life lessons and giving. These boxes are designed with kids in mind: easy to make, fun to do, and perfectly suited to your young crafter. Every box has an encouraging theme with nine activities and all materials provided. A part of the sales proceeds will go to nonprofits dedicated to children. Kids enjoy screen-free entertainment while creating lasting memories with family and friends.
Tell us about yourself
Art has always been a part of my life! Drawing, painting, sculpture, bead making, crafting, etc., I love it all. I have been in graphic design and web design for over a decade. Though I've loved this field of work, when 2020 came around, I started to reevaluate what it meant to do art for myself instead of just for my clients. I work from home, and that summer, I was in my usual routine of creating a fun summer schedule for my daughters. It was a 2-month schedule filled with educational activities, fun exercises for kids, science experiments, baking, and arts and crafts. I shared the schedule with one of my closest friends. She strongly encouraged me to package all the arts and crafts ideas and materials into a box and sell them to non artistically inclined moms. I let that idea simmer in my head for about a month and prayed on it until I finally thought, you know what, this is a great idea! I wanted to create a box to encourage children, invite more family time, and prompt conversations about their art.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Learning how to sell a product. I design the crafts, produce them, photograph them, film tutorials, add products to my website, market them, and make social media posts. Doing this solo and doing it well has been my biggest accomplishment so far.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Creating balance with my business, family life, and a full-time job. What has helped me is having a great support system. My family and friends always lend a hand and remind me to practice self-care when overwhelmed. My kids also love to get involved with brainstorming and testing crafts which is super. From this support, I created a good rhythm that allows me to service all the avenues in my life.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find your niche. Once you know what you want to do, look at what your competition has done to see how unique your business is.
- Have a sound support system. Without it, you will struggle.
- Good things take time. Plan everything out, test your product and get others' thoughts and opinions to ensure you are at your best before launching.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
There's nothing more exciting than when one of my daughters comes up to me and starts explaining what she has drawn or created. The excitement and satisfaction they share are what I want other parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles to experience with my craft boxes.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.