Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts and crafts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Laura Kasperlik, owner of Pretty Clever Words, located in Cary, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Pretty Clever Words, we are passionate about the power of words, whether funny, punny, inspirational, or sprinkled with some dark humor! We focus on creating product lines of personal accessories and home goods, such as hoop art, canvas zip bags, and painted art - all with some kind of quote or words - and although we work to be fresh and current, we don't necessarily follow trends.
This spring, our shirts are back in stock. We are really excited about our new pretty clever home line, including bar/kitchen towels, candles, and soap - all of which are handcrafted in the pretty clever workshop. If you are the kind of person bent over laughing in the greeting card aisle at one moment and then fiercely defending the right to vote in the next minute - you are probably in our target group! Words and facts and the emotions behind them matter deeply to us - all of the spoken, the written, the painted and stitched words. I am happy to create new products every day that make my customers feel the emotions of those words. And some days - I just really want you all to buy a candle or a zip bag for a friend because it makes you laugh so hard!
Tell us about yourself
Owning, operating, and creating all of the goods for Pretty Clever Words is my third career. Like so many small business entrepreneurs, I had creative dreams while doing other jobs. These dreams turned into a side hustle. And the side hustle bloomed into my plan B when I left corporate life. I learned so much about people AND the business of making and selling products in my first two roles. Those lessons led me to believe in myself and my dreams - that I could create and sell my items at live events and online.
I still remember the stunned joy I felt when I sold that first pretty thing with clever words through my website. My goal is always to infuse my business with that joy - I'm driven by the need to create the perfect gifts for my customers. Turning dreams into a business takes a lot of work and balance, so I'm constantly tinkering to have a perfect blend of the creative with the practical every day, whether painting and designing or working out my maker schedule on a spreadsheet.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is continuing to evolve every day, which can be both exhilarating and exhausting! After I left my last corporate role, I created a complete online business in six months, sold my products at live events and shows, and thought, well...I've figured this out! But of course, 2020 had some big lessons and other ideas for all business owners, so like many makers, I pivoted to sewing and providing masks. Now I am pivoting again as we all deal with supply issues and big changes to how and where our customers shop and the words and products that fulfill their new normal and needs.
I'm proud of what I do how hard I work. The passion that I bring to my products and website - I believe it is a huge accomplishment to roll that rock back up the hill every day, cheerfully and with good grace, through so many changes!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are many difficulties that come with being a business owner, especially during times of national and global uncertainty. To put it into one very long sentence, the biggest challenge is staying fresh and relevant while combining my creativity with and making products for purchase by my lovely customers and juggling all of these business activities with a personal life. I guess I could have just said 'life and business balance!' Words matter.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Follow your passions and dreams - make/sell/provide a service for something that YOU love and enjoy.
- Research, read, and follow experts and businesses in your arena. There are so many free online resources in your local community to lay the groundwork for your small business. For instance, before I applied for any events, I went to craft shows and art shows for a full six months just to watch the details of interacting with customers. Before starting my website, I followed many small businesses on social media to figure out what I liked about shopping online.
- Find your target audience and figure out what makes them happy - write an outline of the perfect customer and focus on fulfilling their needs with your service or product. Stay focused on them.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
It's not easy - at all - to just believe in yourself. You have to believe in the very hard work that comes with having your own business.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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