It’s simply amazing to even think how life has so much planned for us that we’re absolutely unaware of. We’re living our lives, completely oblivious to what’s in store for us, next.
Oftentimes, what’s even astonishing is how our family plays a major role in the sudden turn of events. It’s like they were brought into our lives for a purpose.
For our next conversation with another successful small business, meet Kimberly Grantham from HDG Designs, whose life radically altered after the birth of her son, but not in the way you’re thinking. Read on to know how!
Are you for real? Over 9k sales in two years! Many congratulations on doing so well! Please share with us what your shop is about.
9k still doesn’t seem real, but it has been a fun and a wild ride. I sell vinyl decals that can be used on mostly any non-porous surface. They are very popular for tumblers, wine glasses, cars, laptops, phones, etc. I absolutely love what I do and very much enjoy selling on Etsy. I, one day hope to expand, but am so busy right now I couldn’t keep up with much more.
How did you come up with your shop idea? We’re so excited to know!
I bought my first machine right after my son was born in 2015. I didn’t intend to start a shop or sell at all. I used it to make his birthday decorations and shirts for the party, and I loved it so much, I decided to start making decals for my cups and his baby bottles. Once I got some practice in and got better at what I was attempting, I decided an Etsy shop might be possible. I spent 6 months setting my shop up, taking photos and prepping listings before I went live in August 2016. I had no idea what to expect or if I would be successful. Orders slowly started trickling in and then the holidays hit. It was insane how busy I got, and the momentum has just kept going! I was able to quit my job the following year, in May 2017, to run my Etsy shop full time. It was my goal and it was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.
If you had to go for a Plan B, what would you be doing for a living?
I worked as an office manager for a maintenance and construction company before I started my shop and worked at a plastics plant for almost 6 years through that company. We are surrounded by the oil and gas industry where I live, so that would be my go-to if I didn’t have my shop.
Please tell us something about your family. How do they feel about what you’re doing?
It was a struggle in the beginning, attempting to balance family time with my growing Etsy shop. When I started my shop, I had a 1.5 year old little boy and it was tough working when he was home. We found a sitter that keeps other kids he can go to 3 times a week that allows me to work and gives him playtime and socialization. My husband is extremely proud of me and has been supportive since day one. He helped out so much during my first busy season when I had no idea what I was in for. He continues to be supportive and has allowed me this opportunity to run my own business.
It went by so fast, and made me realize that it was what I wanted to do more than anything, be my own boss, set my own schedule, and do something I actually enjoyed doing. I worked hard for the next 5 months and my dream finally came true!
What’s your favorite childhood memory? Anything you regret not doing?
I’m definitely an introvert, so big events, vacations and groups have never appealed to me. I was taught to read at a very early age and I fell in love. I always had (and still have) a book with me wherever I go. Just finding a nice, quiet place away from the chaos of my house when I was younger (I have three brothers!), was always my favorite thing to do. It’s hard to regret anything, because I feel like everything happens for a reason and we are who we are because of our experiences, good or bad.
We know how difficult Etsy could get in the initial days. Please share with us how it was for you.
I did a lot of research before opening my shop. I spent countless hours looking into what makes a small business successful. The first few months were insane to say the least. Once November hit that first year, I was drowning in orders. I am a low cost, high volume shop, so the orders were coming in faster than I ever would have imagined. I had to go on vacation mode the first week of December to make sure I could get all orders out in time for Christmas! It went by so fast, and made me realize that it was what I wanted to do more than anything, be my own boss, set my own schedule, and do something I actually enjoyed doing. I worked hard for the next 5 months and my dream finally came true!
What are some key lessons that you think other entrepreneurs should try to learn on how to make a customer happy?
I feel at this point I’ve had just about every type of customer there is. I may not completely follow the traditional customer service techniques, but I will go above and beyond to make a good customer happy. I do believe in treating others how you want to be treated, and still struggle with customers that are rude from the start. I try to be as professional as possible, but being a small business where every dollar counts, I’ve also had to learn to stand up for myself and not be taken advantage of. It’s still a learning process and I’m sure it always will be.
Success for me means doing something I love every day, and being able to support myself and my family while doing it.
What is the one thing you appreciate about a good customer the most?
Sometimes it’s just really nice to have your work be appreciated. I love seeing reviews, or even just messages, from happy customers with pictures of how my decals were used. Customers that understand I’m a one person shop, and human, also goes a long way with me. Customers that get that I make mistakes and give me the opportunity to correct them are the best. I will always admit my mistakes, and even if the mistake isn’t on my end, I still tend to go above and beyond what would be expected of me if they are kind and treat me respectfully.
Are you content with whatever you’ve achieved so far or is there anything you wish you did differently?
I am so happy with where I am right now. I achieved my goal of doing this full time. The only thing I’d like to do differently is better balance my work/home life to speed up processing times and again, I would LOVE to expand in the future.
Okay so the last one. What does the term “success” mean to you?
Success for me means doing something I love every day, and being able to support myself and my family while doing it. Being able to take a day off to spend it with my son or my husband, work my own schedule and be my own boss. The freedom of it all is amazing. I wouldn’t be here either without a good support system, which I believe is also an important factor for success.
Loved the post? Check out our previous conversation with another successful Etsy seller here. Let us know what you think about this shop in the comments below! We’d love to know your opinions.