I'm starting a new project and I'm so excited! I have met so many wonderful women who have been instrumental in helping achieve all that I have. Now I want you to meet them too! So, I am interviewing each of them and each week I will share an interview with you. Prepare to meet some of the most talented, dynamic, and successful women entrepreneurs. Take notes - because what they will teach you can change your life!
Today, I want you meet Beth Bentley. I first met Beth on Ryze when I was searching for some gifts for my granddaughter. I came across a post of Beth's where she described her business. I had to check it out since it sounded like something my princess would just love. And I was right. It also shows you that you don't have to have a complicated product or service to be a success. Beth brought her passion for a very simple product to her market and it works. But I won't spoil it for you. I'll let her tell you about it in her own words. Loyal readers, Beth Bentley!
1. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Beth and I turned 34, 9-7. I have been married for 7 years and I have 4 kids ranging from teens to toddler (16 y/o son, 13 y/o daughter, 7 y/o son and 1 y/o daughter). Every time I put one in school, I have another one, lol.
2. Tell us about your business.
I started my hairbow business a year ago.The name of my business is SweetBabyCakesBowtique. The name came from my baby girl. I call her SweetBaby and my husband calls her BabyCakes. I custom make boutique hairbows for babies, toddlers and older girls. I use good quality grosgrain ribbon and attach them very securely with an alligator or french clip. I also heat seal all ribbon edges so they do not fray.
3. Why did you start your own business?
About a year ago I bought my youngest daughter a headband. I looked at this headband trying to figure out how it was made. I got online and found some information on how to make the headbands and hairbows. I got addicted right away. I could not wait to order up some ribbon and get to playing with it. I have sold online for years so I created a store and went from there. I love coming up with different themes, Birthday, Princess, Diva and MORE!!! I also like matching bows to my daughters Gymboree outfits. I don't have to go searching for a match, I can create it myself.
4. What do you like most and least about being your own boss?
I don't really call myself a boss, lol. I enjoy what I do. I come up with all my ideas and go to my networks for help when I need it. I work as I have the time. I have 4 kids so time is hard to find sometimes.
5. What personality traits and skills are needed to run a business? Y
You need a very friendly, outgoing personality. You must be devoted and determined. When you sit down to make an order, you put your best into it. If it doesn't look good enough, start all over and try again. If you are not happy with it, don't send it to someone else. You want to build a good relationship with the people you meet and do business with so they will come back and refer you to others.
6. What has been the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur?
The fact that I am responsible for everything. I sit down with my ribbon and look at it trying to think of a bow someone will want. I want people to look at the bow and say...I WANT THAT!! Sometimes I would like for some input, lol. It's all trial and error though. Some bows go FAST and others don't. I also struggle with TIME, not enough of it.
7. Do you have any resources you have used to build your business that you would recommend?
I Love networking on Ryze. There's several groups available and I have met lost of people and done business with a few as well. I also have my blog ready. Lots of people say this is a GREAT resource. http://microwebblogs.com/babycakes/
I also participate in a monthly trade game on http://www.mommyauctions.com/.
You can build a FREE store on there. List as much as you want for FREE, only 5 % fee when you make a sale. I also go to the message boards daily on there. I am also a CL for the flea market board on IVillage. You can advertise your store on there as well as long as it's homemade or yard sale items. http://messageboards.ivillage.com/n/mb/listsf.asp?webtag=iv-ppfleamarket&nav=start.
I also have a network group I am trying to get going on cafemom http://www.cafemom.com/group/5525.
Network as much as you can everyday is my advice. Don't spam people, join their groups and get to know everyone.
8. Do you have any tips to share on promoting your business?
I get my business by networking and meeting people. Make sure you have a good name for your business and use it. I use it as a member name on lots of groups.
9. What other advice do you have for someone starting their own business?
Be persistent. make sure it's something you enjoy, have fun with it. Give it everything you have, don't be a slacker. You want to build a relationship with your customers. You want repeat business. Make sure your customers are 100% satisfied. I would rather offer a full refund than have an unhappy customer. Luckily I have never had to do that. When someone makes a purchase, I always email them thanking them and I send a Thank you card with their order. On some sites that have feedback, I leave it as soon as payment is made. A lot of people wait for the buyer to leave it first. I think that is not a very good business strategy in my opinion. I always leave feedback first and have yet to receive a negative because of it.
10. How can we contact you about your products and services?
You can visit my website at http://sweetbabycakesbowtique.weebly.com// Email me at BethBentley@centurytel.net. Call me at 256-591-5790.
For everyone who reads this blog and orders from me, you get a 15% discount on your total purchase before shipping, a free set of Mickey Mouse hairbows (not custom made, store bought) and your name will be entered into a drawing for a FREE hairbow of your choice from my store at http://sweetbabycakesbowtique.weebly.com// or http://www.sweetbabycakesbowtique.com/ Does not apply to custom orders. If you have a business and win the hairbow, I will feature you on my store as the winner and my blog with your business info.
11. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Join some groups and participate on the message boards. You will meet some wonderful people along the way and grow your business.