TheBlackPlankShop – Black Plank

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]Niche : Home and Living
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Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? Why did you start your business?

We are Keri and Stephan! We run our business out of our home in Ohio, while also working full-time jobs! We have always loved being creative and building things around our home. We started this business to share our love for unique designs and wanted to share them with everyone. We have also had many years in manufacturing and took our skills from working in the field and used that to start our own business. We wanted something that we could be proud of and call our own! We hope that one day our business will be our career and we can focus on creating new things for our customers. It would be a dream come true!

What type of products do you sell? How does your manufacturing process look like?

We sell an assortment of home decor items. We are currently selling anything to display shelves to coasters. We start out by sketching our ideas out
together and agreeing on a design. We then come up with a blueprint and convert our blueprint into SVG files. Once we are happy with our designs we cut it out and assemble it layer by layer and figure out what we can make better or if nothing needs to be changed at all. After the final product is done we test the item in our own home to make sure that it’s durable and meets our high expectations.

What are some challenging aspects of your business? How did you overcome them?

The most challenging aspects of running our own business are balancing a full-time job and running the business at the same time. The way that we overcome it is basically to not think about our business as work, but more of an escape. We have so much fun creating things that even on the days that we are exhausted and sore, we keep the excitement for our business alive and strong!

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What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?

What we love most about it is it gives us the freedom to be our own boss. It allows us time to manage ourselves and figure out our goals for the day. The hardest thing about it is knowing when to take a break. We are so passionate about making our business grow that we are constantly creating things, advertising on social media, responding to emails, or taking product photos that we sometimes lose ourselves in our business that we forget that we need to take time for ourselves.

What are some beginner mistakes you made? What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?

In the beginning, the mistake that we made was not advertising our business enough. We were so focused on what we wanted to become that we did not think much into advertising. Our words of inspiration that we would like to share is not to be so hard on yourself when trying to create your own business. Don’t try to create things that just fit the norm. Be yourself and love what you create! If you love what you create it won’t feel like work! The joy that you get when someone purchases an item that you love is the best feeling in the world.

What inspires you while designing and/or creating new products.

The thing that inspires us while creating new products is looking at creating things that you would normally not see in a store. We stick with our dark style of designs and think of a way that we can push things further to stick out from others.

How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?

We have both worked in manufacturing for years before we started our own business. Stephan has experience in construction and computer programming while Keri has a background in fine arts.

What are some of the most effective ways in terms of marketing products to your customers?

We constantly are running ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Etsy. You have to spend money on advertising to make money.

What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?

Drive and passion are the key elements for starting a business. If you have the passion everything will fall into place. Don’t give up when times get hard! Push through the tough times and it will be worth it in the end.

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How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?

Business success for us would not be money but it would be the freedom and being able to be creative! We are not a money-driven business but a quality-driven one.

Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?

We wake up in the morning and count our sales. Once we have a number of sales for that day we start production on the items. Once we have all our products assembled we begin painting and packing. We basically keep an assembly line of products going each day to try to fulfill our orders for that week.

How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?

We are planning on constantly making new items to bring new eyes to our store. The biggest impact on profitability is to advertise our business constantly. Whether it be on social media or paid ads. We are constantly putting ourselves out there and making it known.


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