Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alexis Howard, owner of Etta Grove, located in Washington, DC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own a private-label brand that designs and manufactures women's footwear and handbags. Our niche is extended women's sizes, but our customer is anyone who wants playful-but-chic shoes in sizes 7m to 14m. Our footwear is for all of life's occasions.
Tell us about yourself
In 2021, I founded a footwear company with my two daughters, Kayla and Haley. All three of us wear extended shoe sizes, as did my mom and late grandmother. My frustration with shopping for stylish and comfortable footwear for myself and then my daughters led me to start a business to address the gap in the market for women's extended sizes. Each day when I meet someone who tells me they wear a size larger than a 9.5 is exciting because it motivates me to keep going!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment thus far is holding a shoe or handbag in my hand that was once just a thought in my head. It may sound small, but it really means a lot to me. Also, working with my daughters to bring a dream to fruition is an awesome accomplishment as well because we are strengthening our bond and hopefully creating a tool for intergenerational wealth.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the most challenging parts of being a business owner is hearing "No" from a bank, grant provider, or investor that does not see your vision or find value in it. It can be hard to move past that rejection, but you have to keep trying until someone says "Yes."
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Building a team is important for any business. One person can't do everything. You need to find people who share your vision and are willing to help you achieve it.
- Whenever possible, take advantage of free training and education opportunities to help ensure your success. I've learned a "nugget" of new information at every training or meeting I've attended, and the information has helped me grow my business.
- Be patient. I thought things would happen overnight, but it takes time.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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