Crib Sheet #71: Hold That Thought’s Stacey Pearl.

Ever wish you had artistic talent?  I sure do.  Fortunately some of us have more talent than others.  Stacey turned her exquisite talents and new-baby boredom into a full-fledged business.  Find out what Stacey wishes she knew before she started out, and then check out her site for the goods.

What business did you start up?

Hold That Thought specializes in personalized party favors, baby gifts, teacher gifts, and just because!

What motivated you to do it?

I painted a mural in my older son’s bedroom when I was five months pregnant.  Everyone gasped and was in awe with my accomplishment.  Once he was born, I was home and bored.  I started receiving all of these hand painted and personalized stools.  I have more “Spencer” stools than I know what to do with!  I began researching these products and took a leap of faith.  Since it’s inception, I have become the party favor provider for My Gym in Chicago, IL and Starland in Deerfield, IL.  I have recently branched out to stationery and it has become a quick, hot seller.

How many children do you have, and how old are they?

Spencer is 2 1/2 and Benji is 6 1/2 months.  Do husbands count as children too?

How long have you been running your business?

I have been in business for almost 2 years.

How long did it take you to start becoming profitable and/or successful, however you choose to measure success?

It took me about one year to really get my feet wet and realize what I was doing.  I have no formal business education, so I am still learning as I go.  I have repeat customers and my referral business is beginning to grow as well.  Facebook has been a great advertising outlet and allows me tremendous exposure,

How did your family react to you starting your own business?

They didn’t take me seriously and then my Dad, who is also a successful private business owner, called me and was raving about a personalized tub I made for one of their friends.  He couldn’t believe how excited they were, so that was my nod of encouragement.

Easiest part of your job?

I love what I am doing, so any product I personalize is pleasurable which makes it easy.  I also love seeing my customers’ reactions to the final products.

Hardest part of your job?

Actually doing the work in a timely manner.  I have two babies, so if they don’t nap then I can’t complete my orders when I want to.  The orders are always finished on time, but sometimes getting there is a rocky road.  One order of birthday party favors used to be “two naps,” now it’s a few hours of Bravo.

What skill would you most like to improve?

I would like to improve some of my art work and get out of my comfort zone.   Try different colors or shadows, etc.

What tools or advice do you wish you knew then that you know now?

That a startup is a full time job!  Just because it is your inception and idea, you still need to do ALL of the work.  I do all of my marketing, website updates, email blasts, etc.  It’s a full. time. job. Period.

What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?

Becoming the preferred party favor provider for two extremely successful children’s-based businesses.  Also, having two stationers contact me and ask me if I would be interested in selling their products.

Can you recommend 3 essential websites for moms in, or going into, business? has been a WONDERFUL outlet for me to advertise and meet some great mommies.

Favorite part of a typical day?

“Snugglebugging” with my older son and talking about our day and what we have on the agenda for next day, so he is guaranteed to sleep tight and have sweet dreams.  He absolutely loves it and I think I love it even more.

And a few more questions, considering that American Express should be featuring more mom entrepreneurs…

Childhood ambition?  To be a mother.

Time of day you get the most work done?  Early morning.

Last purchase?  Lunch today.

Favorite book or magazine?  Vanity Fair.

Inspiration?  My grandma.

Least likely to…..allow others to see me cry.

My life…..couldn’t have been written better.  I am riding on my favorite rollercoaster.


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