How much do you love that Money Smart Week is going on right after taxes are due?
I’m doing my first book signing! My first book signing! Since being profiled in A Cup of Cappucino For The Entrepreneur’s Spirit (Vol II), I will be speaking at Money Smart Week’s April 21 lunchtime event and signing copies of the book. I’ve been practicing my autograph for weeks and I may have juuuuuust right by Wednesday. (My husband actually asked me who I was seeing, what with the hearts that I started drawing around my own initials.) Read more
Why didn’t I know about this business when my kiddo was a baby?? I’d have moved to Canada immediately had I known. Kudos to Stacey for creating a company to serve every new mom in need.
What business did you start up?
One Tiny Suitcase – a baby equipment rental company serving clients in Calgary & Edmonton, Alberta in Canada .
What motivated you to do it?
Traveling with my twins when they were just babies made me realize how unrealistic it was to be able to bring all the gear we needed with us. I wish there had been a company like mine when I traveled to visit my parents.
How many children do you have, and how old are they?
My twins (boy/girl) are 5 now.
How long have you been running your business?
My business opened in May 2006 and I am now starting my 4th year in business.
How long did it take you to start becoming profitable and/or successful, however you choose to measure success?
My rate of growth has been in direct relation to how old my children are. I started the business in part so that I could be home with them. I couldn’t grow the business as fast as I wanted to then, but now that they are starting school I have been able to do things like open a second location, expand my product range, etc. One Tiny Suitcase was profitable after the first 2 years of running it very part time.
How did your family react to you starting your own business?
I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs and I left what my dad considered a really good job (good pay, pension, etc.). In the end, my family supported my decision to try and create a business that supported my desire to stay at home with the twins for as long as I could. There have been ups and downs but I know I can always count on my family to help me out when the hiccups happen.
Easiest part of your job?
The best part: talking to excited families about their upcoming family vacations. Grandparents are always so excited when they have a baby coming to stay with them, too.
Hardest part of your job?
The hardest part: running a home-based business, I have some customers that pick up gear from me directly. Making sure the dog, kids and husband are quiet when someone is at my door as well as having the house clean and presentable is tough.
What skill would you most like to improve?
My sales skills! I have a hard time really ‘selling’. I like talking to my customers and making recommendations for gear I think would help them enjoy their vacation but there isn’t a lot of ‘up-selling’ going on. My customers appreciate that I am a mom as well and can relate to the stress of traveling with young children.
What, if any, tools or advice do you wish you knew then that you know now?
In the beginning I kept telling myself that I would ‘try’ running this business. I always wanted to give myself a way out if things didn’t work as expected. I know now that as long as you are willing to change and adapt when plans don’t go as you thought they would, you can be successful. The ideal business I pictured in my mind when I started is not the business I am running today but that ‘imaginary’ business just wasn’t profitable. If I had stuck to that ‘ideal’ I would be out of business today.
Can you recommend 3 essential websites for moms in, or going into, business?
I’m really proud of some of the press coverage I been able to get for One Tiny Suitcase. My kids have been able to participate in some of the television and print coverage. They are always so impressed when they see pictures of themselves on TV or in the newspaper. That’s cool! Getting PR coverage is hard work but that hard work has resulted in a lot of free advertising I could have never afforded.
Favorite part of a typical day?
Typical? There is nothing typical about a day running One Tiny Suitcase, raising twins, preparing meals, cleaning the house, walking the dog. I like the unpredictability of each day. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
A few more questions, just because American Express should be featuring more momtrepreneurs…
Childhood ambition….to become a lawyer. Fondest memory….finding out my husband and I were having twins. Indulgence….my dog walkers, they help keep me (and my dog) sane during the week. Last purchase…..expensive facial cream (on Ebay). Favorite magazine…..In Style, totally not work-related, full of stilettos I will never wear, and a great escape. Inspiration…..successful entrepreneurs who have made it big. My Life…is going in the exact direction I want it to. My goals are in sight!
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