Monday, January 31, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy Post -- Kim of Hope Loves Cards

This week our Spotlight Mommy is Kim of Hope Loves Cards, an online Etsy stationary store.  I just love handmade cards, and fell in love with Kim's store and product offerings, which include stationery, party invitations, thank you notes, note cards, labels and pocket mirrors! Kim also offers custom orders, and is looking forward to working with you to create something extra special!  All of Kim's stationary items are embellished with hand applied glitter accents, and she does all of the desigining, printing and cutting in house, so you receive your orders quickly.

Don't forget to stop back to my blog on Friday, where I will feature Kim's store and products further.  In addition, Kim will be offering one lucky reader a chance to win a $25.00 gift certificate to use in her store.  I will also be providing a 20% off coupon code for everyone.  Why not make a statement this Valentine's Day with a handmade card from Hope Loves Cards?


Company Name/Product/Service:  Hope Loves Cards/Stationery with "Person"ality
Company Location: Clayton, NC
Company Website:
Facebook URL:
Twitter Handle: @ hopelovescards
Age of Company:  1 year           
Favorite Inspirational Quotes:  When life gives you lemons...make lemonade!
Favorite Book:   Pinkalicious

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.:

I have a wonderful daughter, Kathryn Hope, who is almost six years old.  I live in Clayton, North Carolina, which is just outside of Raleigh.  I love creating just about anything and take great pride in sending beautiful thank you notes!

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?: 

My daughter loves to draw, especially mermaids.  My business came about as a creative way to make things and spend extra time with Kathryn.  She is the one that decided that glitter needed to be added to my creations.  After searching around on Etsy for a couple of days and seeing all of the handmade creations,   I was totally hooked and knew that I needed to start creating personalized stationery.  Kathryn always likes seeing her image (the little girl with the ponytail) and I am always proud to pull out a notecard and send a special "little Kathryn" to everyone we know.
What is a typical work day like?

I work full time in retail - so my days are crazy.  Typically I get up between 5-6 in the morning and check emails and respond to convos that have been sent to my Etsy shop.  I help my husband get Kathryn off to school around 7:30.  Then, if I work in the morning, it's a shower and off to work until about 5:30.  I check emails and answer convos on my lunch break.  Then, I get home around 6:30-7 and spend a couple of hours with Kathryn.  She goes to bed around 8:30pm, then I go straight to my guest bedroom and work on proofs for customers, orders that need to go out the next day, I have all of the cards that need to go out spread across my desk, dining room table, and kitchen table so the glitter has time to dry, and then I go to bed around 12:30.  Then the next morning I get up, assemble all of the glittered cards and get them off to the post office!

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?

The biggest struggle for me is getting my stationery seen.  I am currently working on getting my stationery in retail stores so that I can gain additional exposure locally.  Also, funding for my stationery business can be challenging.  For the first several months for every order I had there was something that I didn't have to finish it - so I spent more than I made at first, but once I found suppliers for my envelopes and a good source for glitter, paper, and boxes things got much easier! 

What did you do in your past work life?:

I have always worked in retail.
What have been some of your major successes?:

This month, January 2011, I have started seeing an increase in sales.  I am extremely happy to see all of the business!  I also have someone working one a new box for my stationery - which will hopefully be very successful!
What have been some of your major challenges?

The biggest challenge for me has been funding.  When looking back on my business this past year, I would love to have had more money set aside to offset the time that it takes to be seen by customers. 

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?  I am motivated by knowing that I have great stationery that brings joy to people.  Whenever someone leaves me an email that they have received the order and that it was perfect, it makes me smile!  Also, I have a goal that someone that doesn't know me personally, will send me one of my cards as a thank you, without knowing that I created the card.  Wouldn't that be terrific!
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?:

Find a business that you can share with your child!  My company is named after my daughter, and she loves what I do.  For every order that I have, Kathryn gets one of them to draw on and keep.  She has one of every invitation I have created, one sheet of every notepad, one note card and she really enjoys doodling mermaids on them!  If you can combine your business and your family, it makes it easier.  Kathryn helps me on the computer and is always quick to ask if she can "send" convos by hitting the reply button.  It is quite funny!

What is next for your business?:

My business is branching out from it's Etsy roots and will hopefully be seen in retails locations in North Carolina within the next couple of months.  I would love to see my stationery sitting on shelves in boutiques and speciality stores throughout the United States by 2012.
Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?:

Just find your niche.  Make sure that your business is something that you can see yourself doing five, ten, fifteen years down the road.  Have funding ready so that you can have all necessary equipment and supplies.  Be prepared for what you will do when your orders come in really quick.  Do you have the ability to get it done in time!  Plan ahead and don't be afraid to hire someone to do the things that you don't like to do - for example, I hate the record keeping so I find someone who can do it for me!  Remember that you can't do everything and be the best!  That keeps me doing what I love, which is cutting paper and adding glitter sparkles!

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