Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jala Smith-Huys, Founder and CEO of Seek & Swoon, located in Portland, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I design modern knit throw blankets. They're made from recycled fibers (a cotton/poly blend) in the USA at a small, family-owned knitting mill. Most of my patterns are inspired by places I've traveled. I sell online and to about 100 boutiques across the country. My customers are, generally, people who value investing in forever items products that are sustainable and support small businesses. They want something that they can feel proud owning, something that has a story to tell.
Tell us about yourself
I'm a former graphic designer, gone social media strategist, gone blanket designer. I was approaching a time in my life when I felt it was time to pivot my career to something completely different, something that would sustain me through the next phase of life. But I knew I wanted this change to be meaningful. I wanted to create something that married all of my passions. We had just returned from a Europe trip, and realizing how much travel meant to me; I knew I wanted to make it part of my next career move. I found myself storing a baby blanket that my son had grown out of and realized that a blanket was a blank canvas for creativity. That's when the ah-ha moment hit. I could create home goods made from sustainable materials while supporting domestic manufacturing, and my inspiration behind these products could be travel. It all just came together.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating a business that helps support my family is what I'm most proud of. That's a sign that you've launched a business rather than a hobby. Not that there's anything wrong with a hobby, but because my goal was to create a business, knowing that I could actually make that happen has been the most rewarding.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Ensuring that all your business decisions always ladder back to your goals and that you continue to stay true to your original mission.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Lean on your network and your community. Most people want to be resources. Ask them questions. Ask for help. They know that you'd return the favor.
- Focus your time on what you're an expert in, and try to delegate the rest. You can't do it all.
- Stop if you're not having fun.
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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