Today's blog marks the first post in a new series, called Starting Small. The focus of this series is to introduce you to some amazing women who have created their own businesses from scratch. These women are full of passion, life, and love. Once a month, we will feature a new business owner, and pick their brain regarding how they started their business, advice to those who have/wish to have a business themselves, making time for oneself, and most importantly, which emoji they use the most. I hope these ladies will inspire you, motivate you, and fill your heart with as much love as they've filled mine.
For our inaugural post, I was able to chat with the lovely Lacy Stroessner. While she was on vacation. VACATION. She is sweet enough to take time out of her precious vacation time to talk with Little Adi + Co. And this is only one of the reasons why I've got a mom-crush on her. That's a thing, right?Lacy is the owner of Madre Beads, which first opened in March 2015. Yes, you read that correctly. 2015. She creates handmade necklaces that are fashionable enough for women of any age, but safe enough for babies (if you happen to have one, or a few). All of her products are made of non-toxic and eco-friendly materials, and the string that the beads sit on is made of t-shirt fabric. So it's basically equivalent to wearing your comfiest tee in a new way! Need I say more?
The Phoebe Necklace
You are a woman on a mission with a business on the rise! Tell us about your process of setting goals for your business and how you accomplish them. // "Do things right" has been one of my little mantras for Madre Beads ever since I started dreaming it up last winter. I decided that if I was going to start a business, I needed to be smart about it. I needed to use my tribe of people to help spread the word. I needed to get my products into the hands of my favorite influential mamas. I needed to make sure my photos and social media reflected a brand that was exciting, uplifting, and even inspiring. I try to pick a few things to work on at a time. For instance, at the beginning of the summer I set 3 main goals for Madre Beads: to get my own website, to get Madre Beads products in a few brick & mortar stores, and to do some kind of indie craft/art show before Christmas. By doing a little research, getting to know some amazing business owners, and stepping out of my comfort zone, I've been able to accomplish all 3!
When did you first realize that your dream of starting a jewelry line was a tangible reality? (first sale, the first time your shop sold out, increase in IG following etc.) // When my shop opened in March, I had butterflies in my stomach. I had so many fears! What if people didn't like my stuff? What if they didn't buy it? What if all of this hard work and time and effort amounted to nothing? And I guess that's the risk you take with any big project or idea. But because I did things smart from the beginning, (and because I have the best friends and customers EVER) my shop sold out in a matter of days. I restocked a couple of weeks later and sold out again. Whatever I was doing, it was working. I realized then that Madre Beads is a thing. It's going to be a thing. It's MY thing! It's still a little bit scary, but mostly, it's just incredible!
Describe a typical day in your life! How do you incorporate your family + business + personal time into your day? // Ooof. This is probably the hardest part of the business. I am a stay at home mama to 3 little girls, which means they are my #1. I wish I could say that I'm super organized and everything in my life compartmentalized, but that is just not the case. Most of my work gets done in little tiny increments - 10 minutes here, 5 minutes there, etc. I work during nap time everyday and each Monday night, my husband takes my girls for 3 hours so I can get a solid chunk of work done. It's not perfect, but it's working for us right now. As Madre Beads continues to grow, I'm sure I'll have to reconfigure.
Where do you look to for inspiration when working on a new jewelry design? // Oh goodness, where do I NOT look is the question! I find inspiration everywhere. I spend a lot of time in nature, which is a huge inspiration for me. I do a little bit of research to see what's on trend - colors, prints, styles, etc. I try to design pieces that compliment on-trend fashion, all with keeping the comfort and style that moms and little ones need.
Shark necklace coming soon!
What has been the most difficult about starting a business? What advice can you give to those with the goal of starting their own business? (not specifically jewelry, but any type of handmade shop) // Honestly, the hardest part has been finding my niche amongst other small shops. Never in a million years did I expect the competition that I've encountered. I firmly believe that there is room for us all! There are so many amazing small businesses that design and sell similar products for mamas and little ones. (In fact, I did a little Instagram feature about them a couple of weeks back!) Small biz is hard enough, so we should be lifting each other up and cheering each other along. What's that new saying go around? "I'm not interested in competing. I hope we all win!" That's what I think, too.
If you had to wear one piece of jewelry for the rest of your life, what would it be? (besides any jewelry that you wear daily i.e. wedding band, diamond earrings etc) // Only one?! This is totally not a fair question. But, I'd wear one of my creations, for sure. Something bold that gives a statement. Something comfy that goes with everything. (My Mari Necklace fits the bill!)To follow her flourishing business and daily shenanigans, you can follow her on Instagram and shop her handmade creations at MadreBeads.com But wait! There is more! If you find a little somthin' somthin' that you like on MadreBeads.com, use the code littleadico at check out to receive 20% off of your purchase--just in time for their Fall line, which launches mid-September. Thank you, Lacy!!