Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amber Evans, Founder of Rest and Reflect, located in Santa Rosa, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business, Rest and Reflect, is focused on functional art. I start by building the ottomans out of wood and then upholstering them with foam and batting before adding the custom stenciled slip-covers that I create by hand. My customers to date have mostly been friends and family. I recently developed a wider customer base thru local craft fairs and trade shows. I create a lot of custom ottomans, working closely with clients to tailor their vision which often includes a special piece of art, beloved animals, and personal style.
Tell us about yourself
I have always loved fabric and art. My first job was at a fabric store when I was 14, and I have continued to pursue fashion over the last 30 years. After receiving my bachelor's in fashion design from Syracuse University, I started a clothing and design company Miso Designs in the NYC area. After moving to California, I opened a women's and men's clothing and accessory store, Suki Boutique. Ten years ago, I began pursuing the trade of upholstery, studying under Simon Eilenkrig at CCSF, and 3 years ago, Rest and Reflect was born. I am motivated to create functional art that each and every customer will admire and enjoy for many years to come.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Rest and Reflect was spawned from seeing wooden circles in the hardware store. From that moment, I was able to envision the product that I have developed today. It didn't take long for me to push forward on teaching myself how to build the ottomans, as I am quite industrious. I conceptualized this idea that utilized my acquired skills over the last 30 years: fashion design, fabric, upholstery, and stencil work.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The most challenging thing for me is that it takes a lot of patience to grow a business. There are so many important parts to having a successful business, and they take time and money. Mostly, I enjoy being behind the scenes creating my art for the world to enjoy, but also, there needs to be energy spent on marketing and sales. Balancing raising my 12-year-old daughter and solely managing a start-up company comes with its own set of challenges as well.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Have a clear vision of what your business looks like, give yourself enough time and money to build the business, and if you really believe in your product, keep pushing forward even when there's obstacles.
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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