Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kim Strassner, Co-Founder, and Owner of Words with Boards, located in Baltimore, MD, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

At Words with Boards, we are best known for our personalized wooden cutting boards, which landed on Oprah's Favorite Things Holiday List and The Drew Barrymore show to name a few. Everyone says their product is unique, but our cutting boards and other wooden home goods truly are. Words with Boards is the only company in the world using a scroll saw to cut names out of butcher block wood. Our customers love to give our cutting boards as wedding gifts, holiday gifts, and any other gift-giving occasion. The relationships we have with our customers, as well as their feedback and 5-star reviews, are what keep us going.

We are also big supporters of our community and the environment. A tree is planted for every product sold through our website. We have partnered with One Tree Planted to make this happen.

Tell us about yourself

The seed was planted in 9th grade when I made a cutting board with the word Chop cut out. Fast forward many, many years when my husband and I turned leftover butcher blocks into cutting board gifts with words cut out for the family. They were a huge hit, and it just snowballed from there.

What motivates us each day is our amazing customers. We love to collaborate with them on custom projects which sometimes end up as a product offering on our website. For example, our large custom boards with the extra detail of wedding bells, couple dancing, and mountains, as well as our trivets, originated from customer requests. They also inspire us to keep coming up with new products.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Our biggest accomplishment is building a business around a product that no one has made before and figuring out how to source the right materials, the right equipment, and develop processes. This didn't happen overnight, and we are still learning. But I will also say we wouldn't still be here today if it weren't for all the press and celebrity endorsements we have received. You can build the best product, but if no one knows about you, it doesn't matter.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

For me, there are two things that come to mind. The first is the responsibility you have to your employees to keep the sales coming in so that they have a job to come to. Some of our people have been with us since the beginning; we don't have too much turnover, so they are like family. The second is the balancing act of work and personal time. I'm a big believer in taking care of one's self, so I do carve out time for yoga, massages, and quick weekend trips with my husband and friends. But even when away, I'm usually responding to emails or thinking about the next new product. As a small business owner, you never can really be completely tuned out.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Your product, service, or process does not need to be perfect before you share it with the world. Just get it out there and make adjustments as needed.
  2. Understand what you are best at and what areas you need help with, and then surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.
  3. Hire a really good accountant from day one.

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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