Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.
I’m a stay-at-home mom to my three kids, Emily (10), Lizzie (7), and Vince (3). My journey began one July afternoon in 2008 while I was out shopping with Lizzie (aka “Lizzie Lou”), who was then a shoe-obsessed 5 year old, when we stumbled upon the most beautiful pair of crystal flip flops. Lizzie asked if they came in her size, and at that moment it dawned on me to create a mother-daughter line of crystal flip flops.
It took nearly a year to bring the shoes to market, and my fabulous jeweled flip flops launched at high-end specialty boutiques in San Antonio, Texas and online in May 2009. Since then we’ve produced 17 different styles of women’s shoes, and we have more in development for 2011. We’re also working on some new product lines that we will be launching soon.
How did you fund your business?
We dipped into our personal savings and took out a home equity line of credit for use when needed. I’ve also taken care of as many aspects of growing my business as I know how to, and in the process learned a great deal more, in order to keep expenses low.
What did you do before launching your own business?
As a stay-at-home mom who hadn’t worked in 9 years, getting back in “the game” has been a learning experience. I have a bachelor’s degree in communications, but things have changed a lot in the past 15 years since I graduated. Luckily, social media has been a good experience for me. If only I could master all the new software programs I use daily!
How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?
I’m not sure I would call it an office, since I often have several kids at the desk with me or trying to take over the computer. How much I work depends greatly on the time of year and the amount of orders. September through December is my slow season, but now we’re in high gear again, preparing for spring and summer season. I would say I average 30 hours a week, but I’m usually doing more than one thing at a time.
How would you rate your success?
Designing my own shoes and having friends and family wearing them … well, it just couldn’t get much better than that! I love doing something that I can share with so many people. I've had more support from my fellow moms than I ever could have imagined. The best is when someone I’ve never met tells me how much she loves her Lizzie Lous. It’s fun to see people out and about sporting my beautiful flip flops.
What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?
I constantly struggle with having enough time, keeping organized and managing stress when it’s busy. Of course, not having a big marketing budget also makes it hard to properly promote my business, so I have to do a lot more things myself, which then takes up a lot of my time. Time is something that I need more of every day.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Do something you love, because having your own business is a lot of hard work and sometimes with little financial incentive. If you don’t like what you are doing then you are going to have a hard time putting your heart into it.
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
I wouldn’t actually call it “manage,” it’s more like juggle. Some days I juggle better than others, but that’s just kind of how it goes around here. I know my priority is my family and my three kids so if something comes up or one of the kids is sick, work has to wait. During my busy season, I will be working in the evenings a lot more to keep up with orders and workload. I don’t mind the hard work, but I do get tired.
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