[#1.] When did you launch "Yarn Bomb Antlers" and what prompted you to start your own business?
I launched Yarn Bombed Antlers in August of 2012. My husband and I have 3 little ones, Curren, Finley, and Van, who came in 3 years. I had always waited tables at night at The Cheesecake Factory up until my second was born, but when our third, our son Van came along...I was so exhausted by the end of the day, going to another job was just not something I was interested in, at the time the kids were 3, 2, and 6 months. As hard as that time was I was not willing (nor was my husband) to go work during the day while someone else had our kids, the thought was heartbreaking to us... But those bills don't pay themselves! So I needed to find an income to help! (My husband is a high school teacher and has a window washing business) In addition to that, being home with my 3 littles under 3 was something I really enjoyed (still enjoy) but I was sinking, the day to day was so hard, and so non stop, I needed something else to think about, and I needed a creative outlet!
My husband got me an iphone and Instagram was the first thing I downloaded. Being a lover of photography I couldn't get enough, and was really inspired by every one's photos. Seeing antlers pop up all over every one's pictures, and seeing antlers in every (2012) fall catalog (Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware) collided with the Afghan craze I saw as they popped up in Insta Sales across my feed. Antlers + Yarn just came together and I made my first one and showed it to my neighbors (Marcella @illnana and Jyll @sickfeet_studio) who are always ahead of the game when it comes to decor and fashion, and they themselves were Etsy gurus. They were like ..you've got something big here, I'll share it for you and lets see what happens...and it just took off! They helped me start up my Etsy and it's been amazing since! I started with a collection of antlers I had from my family who has all hunted for years and years, now that that is gone I'm sourcing from everywhere I can! It's a constant hunt. I love that I can put a feminine and homey touch on something that's always been considered so masculine.
[#2.] What tool/marketing strategy has helped you the most in regards to getting your business noticed?I saw a real opportunity in using Instagram as my main form of marketing. I got the idea of doing a giveaway and creating a specific hash tag for just that giveaway, with a "rules" picture at the bottom of the hash tag, and all the info in the picture, so it's simple to join in! I mean, our phones are so distracting..as we are reading someones comments, here comes a text or some alert and boom there goes whatever it was we were doing. So I started with giving away a set of antlers that the winner was able to customize, and just from that I got a huge response. I also gave a few antlers away to "big bloggers" in exchange for a share on their blogs....but that never really panned out how I expected. In addition to that I purchased Etsy Keywords, and Google Keywords to direct more traffic towards me...but do you know what? EVERY SINGLE one of my sales has been from Instagram. Every one! I find that very interesting! People will purchase via Etsy, but they find me on Instagram. I think of it as window shopping! Many times when doing things online instead of face to face I've been let down by people not doing what our "agreement" was so I've been doing my own giveaways and Insta Sales, and everyone has been very happy! Also an important tool is creating your own IG account for your business, that's just your product and not personal of your kids doing crazy things all day :)
[#3.] Share with us a few of your tips for balancing motherhood and business.
Oh man this is a hard one! My office is also my bedroom so I put music on and the kids dance around while I try to work..BUT Antlers + Yarn + Kids can be a dangerous combo! I try to set specific hours during the week at night that are my "work" hours, and the goal is to pretend I'm not here, so I can get orders out. My husband is amazing and really jumps in and will watch the kids, or handle putting them all to bed so I can answer emails with full attention, and wrap some Antlers! It's really important to me to be attentive to them during their awake hours and work when they are asleep. Sundays are usually our days to get stuff done, I wrap while he has the kids, then I watch the kids while he mounts the Antlers! It's always crazy here!...oh and coffee A LOT OF COFFEE.
My first goal in starting this business was to pay off our credit card debt. After the first 2 kids were born, Curren and Finley- those hospital bills really racked up and we had to start putting things on credit cards. We buckled down and paid all of it off, and what a relief that was! Our second goal was to buy a camping trailer to take the kids camping-- we live in Southern California and have such great weather so we thought that was what our reality of vacations would be and we love to camp so might as well try to get one now! We found the perfect one last December and have gone many times. Our goals now are just to sock it away and save! All 3 kids will all be high school/ college together so I imagine those years are going to cost some $$$. We bought a house that was built in 1954 so there is always something to fix and that's where most money seems to go, but we're happy we are able to do that! My ultimate dream for this business is that I can keep working from home and just help supplement our income but still be the one to raise our kids (and not have to waitress haha)
[#5.]What advice do you have for moms who have a creative dream in their heart and desire to start their own business from home?
My advice would be to go for it! It's the best time ever to be a stay at home mom with a small business. You can do so much on your phone here and there throughout the day- and still be attentive and present with your kids. Ask your friends about your idea and tell them to be honest! There is a lot of opportunity out there, and the community I've met through IG, and my customers, and my local community has been so positive and so much fun to be apart of.
[#6.]Share with us a peek of your working space.
Our bedroom was actually an apartment that the previous owners added on to our house, it's been gutted and is a huge room! so I have my 2 old Steel Tanker Desks that I thrifted making an nook in the corner of our bedroom, one desk for my computer/ paperwork, and the other for yarn and antlers! Ryan put some nice shelves up for me to store my antlers and yarn, I love it!
[#7] Name three mompreneurs who inspire you.
The first person who first inspired me was Jessica from @houseinhabit, she and her husband make amazing Teepees while raising their boys.... and they really started such a trend. They are so down to earth and made everything with their hands and she is still a huge inspiration to me! Her feed is one I check every day and just get lost in her pictures. She and I did an Antler/ Teepee trade last Christmas and I was so excited! The teepee made Christmas morning magical, i'll never forget it!
Next would have to be my neighbor and best friend Marcella @illnana & @pellajamesvintage that girl is always doing something cool, and inspiring me! She owned her own boutique for years and is now selling Vintage treasures on Etsy & IG and runs her own Vintage Wedding Rental business. She always has such great ideas and the girl is an Internet guru, she knows how to work things and has been so generous in sharing her knowledge with me.
Third without a doubt would be Laura from @ascotfriday (are we really surprised here) NO! I identify with her big time, I love her style, she just goes for it with her amazing choices in home decor and constant projects. Her flea market pictures always inspire my color combos, and I love all the neon her family wears, they inspired my recent purchase of many neon yarns! She sets the bar for cool. She has inspired me beyond words honestly! I've bought so many things per her recommendation, from Brueder trucks for my kids, to my husband working on building a half pipe in our back yard. Not to mention the Target goodies! Cant wait to see what she and her family do next!
///// DISCOUNT CODE & GIVEAWAY DETAILS::
Tomorrow you will have a chance to win a My Everyday- inspired- Yarn Bombed Antler! Be sure and follow us on Instagram for those details! Sarah has also decided to offer a limited time discount code so you can pick up an antler for yourself at a discounted rate.
Be sure and follow @yarn_bombed_antlers on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms