Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in baby clothing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Seiko Sisco, Founder of Waku Waku Baby, located in Glenshaw, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Waku Waku Baby is a handmade baby shop based in Pittsburgh, PA. I design and make cute and comfy baby gifts from fabrics that tell a story and capture the magic of childhood. My customers include families with little ones and those looking for unique, one-of-a-kind handmade gifts. The Stay-On Baby Shoes (that actually stay on) are my bestsellers, and other customer favorites include our Stay-Dry Bandana Bibs, Hair Bows, Burp Cloths, and Reversible Bucket Hats. Waku Waku means (to be) happy and excited in Japanese. I wanted my shop name to reflect my Japanese roots and the feeling I get when I sew new baby items. I hope my customers also feel "waku waku" upon receiving handmade gifts from my shop for their little ones!
Tell us about yourself
Hello everyone! My name is Seiko Sisco, and I am the owner and maker behind Waku Waku Baby. I discovered my love for sewing cute and comfy baby accessories in 2018 when my son was 8 months old. He was quite a drooler and needed absorbent and stylish bibs as a part of his daily outfit. When my little one started walking, I could not find any soft-sole shoes that fit around his chunky ankles. This prompted me to start making our now bestselling stay-on shoes. In 2019, I was inspired to open my shop, Waku Waku Baby, so that I can continue to share my passion for making adorable yet functional baby gifts with families in Pittsburgh and beyond.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been staying true to who I am and saying yes to big dreams. Ever since I started my handmade baby business 4 years ago, I have had a secret dream of designing my own fabric patterns and turning them into products. Last year, I finally said yes to making this dream a reality, and not only did I start moving toward my dream, I actually did it! I took a surface pattern design course, created my first-ever fabric collection, and got my original designs printed on fabric, which I then used to make baby shoes and bibs for my shop. I was able to showcase my exclusive collection at holiday markets and receive immediate positive feedback from others which was so encouraging!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Mindset, time management, and decision-making have all been a challenge for me as a small business owner and now a homeschool mom of two young kids. With only a certain number of hours I can work on my business a week, I need to be strategic about how best to use my time and what to focus on. I am continuously working on finding clarity on how to make certain decisions while maintaining a positive mindset.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
If you are thinking of starting a product-based business, I hope you find these tips helpful!
- Is it a product-based business for you? Before you start, understand the different business models and what makes a physical product-based business different from all other business types (think inventory management, shipping, etc.). Give yourself a gut check to see whether this is something you're ready to tackle.
- Invest in yourself at the earliest opportunity. Investing in yourself pays itself over and over because it empowers YOU, the boss of your business. Whether it's knowledge, confidence, mindset boost, self-assurance, happiness...the list goes on.
- Prioritize connection and community. Running a small business on your own can be lonely and challenging. You don't need to do it alone. Reach out to others. Find a community of like-minded small business owners to share your struggles with and encourage each other.
If you'd like to hear more about my experiences, I recently wrote a blog article on the 3 things I wish I had known before starting my handmade business on my website; you can go check it out!
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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