Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
My name is Stephanie, I have 2 little girls and I work from home around them.
My niche is kids party stationery but my business Styla Prints and Design started as kids nursery prints. I have always been creative for as long as I remember. My whole life I always wanted to work in something I loved doing, something where I could be artistic. Since my first job at the age of 16, I looked for jobs which paid good money but they weren’t ever jobs I really loved. Almost 6 years ago now, I had my first child a little girl who I dreamed of my whole life. While I was on maternity leave and seeing as I had a GREAT sleeper, I got bored during the days while she slept. I really wanted to do something creative and fun for myself. Over many months I taught myself through Youtube tutorials and other educational websites how to use the design program which I use now for my art. Being a new and excited mum I wanted to make some pretty art for my daughter’s nursery, so that’s what I did. From there I built up the courage and made the decision I wanted to do this as a side hustle to make a little cash but more importantly to have some fun until I went back to my part-time job. Originally I started with children’s nursery prints which were cute, fun, and super pretty but after a while, I decided I wanted to move on to design kids party stationery. I get so much satisfaction from designing party stationery for passionate mums who like to show their love for their child by planning amazing and beautiful parties for their babies. I have help mums and dads all over the world, from all countries for many different cultural events and in many different languages too ( with their help). My store is mainly digital stationery which means my customers have to print their products. But being digital it gives me the opportunity to serve clients all over the world, quickly, easily, and affordably. I am a sucker for learning and growing so over the years I have enrolled in a few amazing business courses with amazing coaches to build my confidence, knowledge, and skills on how to run a business and sell and market online.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner?
I do it ALL! I design all my artwork, I upload all my items to my store, I do all the customer service, run my website (still in progress) and I do all my marketing and social media interactions – all while looking after my 2 kidlets!
What are your best selling products, what type of materials are used in your creations, how do you design your products, what makes your products stand out?
My passion is for girly designs I’m still a child in a big girl’s body. I LOVE or should say obsessed with glitter, pink, florals, and really feminine designs and that’s what I want to be known for. Don’t get me wrong some of my boy invitations and backdrops are some of the best sellers. I like to think I stand out because my designs are classy, elegant, on-trend, and beautiful and I try to stay away from licensed characters to keep that high end feel. My most popular design is probably my unicorn face backdrop.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
What I enjoy most about being an entrepreneur is being my own boss, working at my own time, and when I want. I don’t need to answer to anyone and I can take holidays whenever I want. It also allows me to be here for my kids whenever they need me, I don’t miss out on their special occasions or events. The hardest is definitely working alone, not having anyone to answer to or bounce ideas from, and doing all the jobs myself. However, these are easily fixed problems so I think anything is as hard as you make it.
Who do you sell to (and how do you get customers)? What marketing tools or strategies you use to boost your sales? Are you satisfied with the results?
I sell mainly mums with little children under 1 and up to about 5 and most of my customers come from Etsy or word of mouth. I use Instagram and Facebook as my marketing tools at the moment. I will be working on other streams like email marketing and Facebook ads soon.
Do you believe there is a winning formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur? What is yours?
For me the winning formula confidence in yourself + determination + being ok with making mistakes + learning from your mistakes + never giving up. Rinse and repeat!
What was the toughest moment you have experienced in your business practice? How did you succeed to get over it and move forward?
For me at the moment with young children, it’s mum’s life and work-life balance.
I’m still trying to find the balance where I am not physically exhausted from being a mum, wife, and then businesswoman. I usually work late into the nights trying to get it all finished.
What inspires you when you’re creating? How do you get ideas for new products? What are some methods or tools you use to get creative?
Cakes!! Some cake designers are incredible!! I have a lot of customers come to me with their cake they have chosen and then would like the invite and stationery to match. If I’m creating something new for the store I usually find a beautiful clipart piece like flowers or a cute illustration of a unicorn or fairy for example and work from there. I just design as though I’m putting something together for one of my girls. Everything I design comes from pure love and passion.
Do you ship your product internationally? How do you handle postage pricing? What is the average time it takes from the order to the delivery? Do you use free shipping? If so, why? How do you package your products?
I am mainly a digital store- I do offer to print on demand products like invites, welcome signs, and backdrops but I don’t ship internationally mainly because of shipping times and pricing. There are many amazing print shops online that offer worldwide printing that I suggest to my customers.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
I would have to say not being afraid to try new things or to make mistakes. I’ve learned making mistakes makes you more knowledgable because you know what doesn’t work and it also steers you back in the right direction. Confidence is a huge factor for success, confidence in yourself, and in your products. If you don’t have that then how do you expect your customers to feel?
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out?
Believe and back yourself 1000% because you will make mistakes, you will want to give up when you’re exhausted but believe you can do anything and get through anything. Don’t be afraid to make the mistakes because I believe without mistakes you go nowhere because it usually means you aren’t doing enough to grow.
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
For me, it’s a mixture of money and freedom. Money is great but if you stuck in a job doing long hours, weekends/nights then what’s the point. For me I want the money to be free and to enjoy and happy peaceful life with my family.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
Prior to the world pandemic and adding homeschooling to my list of things to do I would work while my little girl slept from 12:30-2:30 and then did some more when the kids go to bed around 7:30 pm.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
I plan to collaborate more with others in the industry, take part in some photoshoots with other party brands. do more marketing and add paid marketing likes Facebook ads.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I have done a lot of research into Etsy keywords and how to set up a listing.
I also work on my shop daily by adding, editing, and fixing my store. Just like you would a brick and mortar store, you tidy up and clean daily.