71. How to Run a Product Based Business
Kelly Parker Smith is a surface pattern designer, illustrator, and the Owner/Creative Director at Hello World Paper Co. She is also the co-host of the Creative Rebellion Podcast.
In this episode, we discuss why Kelly decided to go into business for herself after teaching for a decade, how she grew her stationary business and the different ways she diversifies her income. She provides actionable steps to growing and maintaining a product based business.
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- Before opening her business Kelly taught 3rd grade for 10 years
- For fun, she started out handmaking cards for friends
- In 2009, after creating invitations for her wedding, she decided to open up an Etsy shop selling wedding invitations and birthday cards; For the first couple of years, it was more of a hobby
- January 2014, she started listing wedding stamps on her Etsy shop and they became extremely popular so she decided to open a separate Etsy shop just for the stamps
- In the beginning, she outsources her stamps, but now she owns a laser engraver
- By April 2014, she was exhausted from fulfilling all of the orders part-time, so she decided to go full time and start thinking and operating as a business
- When she became full time, she began to create more products, become more active on social media (i.e. giveaways, connecting with influencers), networked with wedding planners, worked with vendors, and she did some wedding shows
- She talks about working 24/7; Her mom helped her out in 2015 for free, but by the summer of 2016 she hired her best friend
- Though hiring someone else required giving up a portion of her salary, it was worth it because it reopened up her life
- When determining pricing she looked at the market and asked herself: What are other stamps selling for? Are they custom stamps? Do they include designs?
- Kelly talks about looking at what all of your competitors offer and comparing it to what you’re offering; Ask yourself: What makes you stand out? What others services do you provide?
- We discuss not pricing yourself too low and being careful with having sales all of the time
- To think like a business, Kelly states you need to think about your bottom line; How can you get your cost down so your profit goes up; Also, think about how to cultivate your customer relationships
- With 18k plus followers, Kelly’s social media advice is to be social!
- If you’re looking for a manufacturer get samples and don’t be afraid to reach out
- Kelly talks about how she got into drop shipping and how her packaging is special
- We end by discussing why and how she began to diversify her funds
- Epilog Helix
- Pattern Camp by Jessica Swift
- Serial Podcast
- Criminal Podcast
- Lore Podcast
- Yeti Cup
- Procreate for iPad
- Adobe Draw for iPad
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe Sketch for iPad
Hello World Paper Co.
Kelly Parker Smith
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