Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Whitney Barkley, Founder of Luv Yours Stationery, located in Dayton, OH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Luv Yours Stationery is a trailblazing paper and gift company that champions self-love and improvement through integrated print, audio, and digital-based experiences. Our products encourage women to live a more focused, fulfilled, and fearless lifestyle while rebelling against self-sabotage and embracing self-accountability. Our belief is that it is important for women to lead their life with boldness and stay true to who they are. Our customers are mothers, entrepreneurs, career women, and overall goal-getters who desire to strike a balance and create harmony in their lives.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Whitney Barkley, and I am the founder of Luv Yours Stationery, a brand that encourages women and girls to live fearlessly. My love for stationery dates back to when I was eight years old, and the beautiful paper served as a distraction from the bullying I experienced in school. I became so enamored with stationery that I started creating my own designs, selling them to family members and anyone willing to buy them for 50-75 cents.
As I grew older, I followed the traditional path of going to college, getting a good job, and getting married. But I soon realized that these things did not bring me true happiness. In the midst of the pandemic, I got a divorce, and it marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I took time to tap into my inner self to discover what truly made me happy, which led her back to her childhood love for stationery.
My journey is proof that life can come full circle, and it's never too late to discover what truly makes you happy. I believe that there are no "losses" in life, only lessons. When you learn, you can't lose, and that mindset is what motivates me to be courageous every single day for myself self and my business.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My most significant accomplishment as a business owner has been the creation of the children's book "Hey, Black Girl!" This book has opened up so many doors for me to empower young girls, share my story, and offer other stationery and gift products that can boost their self-esteem and confidence.
Through the book's success, I have come to realize my own self-worth, which has helped me make better decisions as a business owner. Seeing the impact of "Hey, Black Girl!" on the community and receiving positive feedback has given me a sense of validation and purpose, inspiring me to continue my work in empowering young girls.
Overall, the creation of this book has led not only to financial success but also to personal growth and fulfillment. It has allowed me to make a positive difference in the lives of young girls while boosting my own self-confidence and sense of self-worth as a business owner and woman.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is the responsibility and pressure that comes with the territory. As a business owner, you're responsible for making decisions that can have a significant impact on the success of your business. You have to manage finances, employees, marketing, customer relations, and all other aspects of your business, often with limited resources and time until you can hire others to do those jobs.
On top of that, there is no guarantee that your business will succeed, which can be a scary thought. It's challenging to handle the ups and downs of running a business, such as dealing with setbacks, managing stress, and overcoming obstacles. You need to be resilient, adaptable, and patient to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship -- because they will happen outside of your control. Another difficult aspect of being a business owner is the need to balance work and personal life. Running a business can be all-consuming, and it can be challenging to find time for other important aspects of your life, such as family, friends, hobbies, and self-care.
Overall, being a business owner can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges and difficulties. It requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to face uncertainty and adversity head-on. I wouldn't change my experience for the world.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First off, it's crucial to establish boundaries when you're growing a business. You need to set limits on your work hours, decide what tasks you will and won't do, and set achievable goals for your business. Don't forget to communicate your boundaries to your clients, employees, and business partners, so they know what to expect from you and can respect your time and needs.
Secondly, it's important to be clear about what success means to you. Success isn't just about making money; it's also about achieving personal fulfillment and making a positive impact on your community. Set specific, measurable goals for your business and track your progress regularly. Take some time to think about your personal values and what matters to you beyond financial success.
Finally, don't forget to invest in yourself and your business. You need to keep learning and improving to be a better version of yourself as a business owner over time. Attend workshops, conferences, and training sessions to learn new skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends. Invest in tools and systems that can help streamline your business operations and improve your efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
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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