I am not the first to say it, but I will say it anyway. My life changed the moment I became a mother. Before deciding to start a family, I was a professional with a Master’s degree in Business Administration. I managed a hotel, spent my days elbow deep in marketing, forecasting, financial planning, human resources. My staff lovingly called me, “Magic Fingers.” I could solve any overbooking; satisfy even the most difficult of customers. Once my daughter was born, I was elbow deep in diapers and the only management I did was Mommy group play dates. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mother. I choose to be with my children instead of pursuing a career, and in no way do I regret that decision, but I never realized how much I would miss interacting with others, being the go-to gal, being “Magic Fingers.” I didn’t have projects to finalize anymore, as we all know the projects of motherhood are endless loops of laundry, dishes, cooking, snotty noses, kissing booboos, and singing songs and reading books, over and over again. There are so many magical, beautiful moments in motherhood, and though I enjoy every one, I still have a professional in me that longs for projects that have identifiable ends, and I’ll never stop wanting to be that go-to gal.
K’s Closet Custom Boutique began as a hobby shortly after my daughter was born. She inspired me to teach myself to sew on my mother’s 25 year old machine, and it wasn’t long before friends were asking me to make things for their children too. Then their friends would ask, and a business was born. This little business has been such a blessing to me and to my family. Not only has it provided the additional income to keep me at home with my children, but it also provides me with a respite to the endless chores of motherhood. I have projects that are meaningful to others, that have discernible beginnings and ends. I have quickly developed a reputation for being able to make anything, and thus, I am again the go-to gal. Since adding birthday and holiday items, I get to be a part of so many special moments for so many wonderful families. My children appreciate me in so many ways that are unique to them, but there is something so important about a simple thank you that they are too young to really express, and this is what I get from my customers. My business gives me quantifiable success. It has become such a large part of me, and I get so much joy out of watching it grow every day.
I am now at a point in this business where I am turning down custom orders as often as I am accepting them. My choice is to reduce my workload and keep it small or take a risk and expand. I was in no hurry to move beyond my small home office space, but the pieces started falling into place for me to take my business downtown. The perfect location, one that I dreamed about since I first laid eyes on it, is coming available in the fall. The day after the For Lease sign went up, my local fabric store listed their fixtures for sale, and I bought a whole store worth of shelving for $91 and some change. My crafty friends have lined up to offer help. My customers are so excited for me. They have become such an important part of my life, and I cannot wait until I can meet them in person, show them my designs, chat about their children, and create for them items they will cherish for years to come.
My husband and I have had one major concern about expanding: how do we diversify and reduce our financial risks going forward? How do we make sure that this expansion does not put our home at risk? We decided to not only offer up personal financing but to seek support from our friends, family, and community. We started a KickStarter fund, and on the first day it was posted, not only did we get a pledge from one of my favorite customers, a family member, and one of my lovely crafty friends, but a total stranger out pledged them all. We are also putting together a plan to add a fabric store and a small consignment section where other local crafters can post their items for sale. I like to call this section the Incubator, and I think I am equally as excited to offer this valuable service to other entrepreneurs as I am to expand my own business.
I am now digging deep into my sleep deprived Mommy brain to pull out everything I learned from my education and my time as a professional to write up sales forecasts, marketing plans, trying to describe the millions of ideas floating around in my head for this business. I am determined to make this dream a reality. My daughter, who is 3 ½ now, talks about working at the shop with Mommy. My son, 1 ½, keeps trying to get to my sewing scissors, but he’ll get it too one day. He will see how much this business does for our family. Beyond how to put together clothing, they will learn what it is to work hard, to serve their community, to do something they truly love.
Best of all, I will get to continue doing what I love, only with the new storefront, I will be able to take part in the lives of so many more young families. I can provide jobs for others, like me, and I can take pride in watching my little business grow. I am diving in. I am taking the risk. I am taking it to the next level. K’s Closet Custom Boutique is about to take off!
I hope you will share in our future. I hope you will drop in, pick up something special for a little one in your life, maybe sell some of your own hand made goodies. I hope you will feel the love and joy we put in to everything we do, and I hope you’ll make me your go-to gal!
You can find K’s Closet Custom Boutique online. The website is brand new, so don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and on Etsy. To donate to the K’s Closet Custom Boutique’s Expansion head over to KickStarter. Any inquiries can be directed to Sharyn Arai at KsClosetBoutique@gmail.com.
- Raleigh Small Business | Kickstarter - March 4, 2015