Tell us something about yourself. What is your niche? Why did you start your business?
When I was very small, I loved printing and handwriting. Probably because my mother was my 2nd-grade teacher and I received LOTS of practice at home:) I turned this passion into a money-making hobby by personalizing Christmas ornaments at local festivals and events. I grew from buying ornaments to making my own and designing some for a very large ornament distributor. I am an entrepreneur from Kentucky with a passion for making people happy. Thus my company name: thepolkadotpen1. I think polka dots make people smile. My website is thepolkadotbox.com.
What type of products do you sell? How does your manufacturing process look like?
We manufacture our own Christmas ornaments from acrylic and I design all of the artwork. Our “people” are becoming pretty popular. The Polka Dot Clan will soon be known by everyone on lots of products. Watch for key chains, T-shirts, stickers, and more! We are working hard to build our sticker company this year.
What are some challenging aspects of your business? How did you overcome them?
It has been very challenging to be a mom, have another job, and start up my business. I set aside very specific times to work on the online portion and also included my son and made it a learning experience for him as well.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? What’s the hardest about it?
I love the rush I get when I am selling lots of my products. It is fabulous. The hardest part is the unknown each week. What we will sell? What will we need to buy? What if our equipment breaks down?
What are some beginner mistakes you made? What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
I made the mistake of not going big enough. I would buy a “few” ads online, I would put a “few” products on….you have to go full force for a while to get it going.
What inspires you while designing and/or creating new products.
I try to think of what our family needs or wants in a product. Especially during Covid, it was fun to do things that made families happy. We are doing lots of new Covid Christmas ornaments.
How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
Mostly from my parents. They were both entrepreneurs. But I also read every book I could read and watched every video I could watch. I had a couple of excellent mentors as well.
What are some of the most effective ways in terms of marketing products to your customers?
Mostly we use social media. We also send free samples of our stickers in with our Christmas ornaments.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful online business?
Work it every day. You can’t just put it on and leave it. If you bought a McDonald’s restaurant, you wouldn’t buy it and then never go there:)
How do you personally define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression and innovation? Something else?
I think it is probably freedom. The freedom to be able to buy things you want with the money you know you made yourself:) Also, I often think of the time I spent working for someone else and their benefit. I worked for one company where the CEO constantly reminded me that it wasn’t my company. It was “his” and “his family’s”. Wow…..I always want my employees to think that my company IS THEIR company too. Because it is, without them it isn’t a company.
Describe your day-to-day operation. How do you manage your time?
I spend 4-6 hours a day online updating products and working with my staff to personalize. This is a very important part of our business.
How do you plan on growing your business? What is the biggest impact on your profitability?
We are going to spread out to more companies online and brick and mortar. The more locations, the more the word gets out about our products.