I'm excited to introduce you to Al Barker, owner of burdees. She makes GORGEOUS, minimalistic jewelry! She is a full time wife and mommy to four little ones, living in Louisville, Kentucky. Burdee's has been in business for four years. One of my favorite things I learned about her business is that her husband & her make all the pieces together. How sweet is that?
How Did You Get Started In Your Industry?
I had tried to find minimalistic, affordable pieces that I could wear every day, and I really couldn't find anything. It was a niche that I realized I could fill. I started just making earrings and then slowly branched out into necklaces and then rings after that.
What Do You Wish You Had Known When You Were Just Starting Your Business?
I wish I'd known what I really wanted to make. I spent the first year or so just figuring it out. On the other hand, I really enjoy the process of discovering what I like and what others like best.
What Has Been The Most Effective Strategy For Gaining New Clients?
Partnerships and collaborations with instragram friends have been far and away the most effective ways of building our brand. It's been really fun to connect with women from all over the world in all different stages of life. It's really amazing how they integrate my pieces into their own lives. Then other people start seeing how the simplicity of burdees can go with pretty much any style.
What Has Been The Best Part Of Running Your Own Business?
I don't know that there's one best part for me. As a full time mommy, it's nice to have a creative outlet. I love that I can do this with my husband. It's another connection point for us in the midst of busy lives. A few nights a week, we get to slow down and spend time doing burdees things together. I also like that burdees gives our family a little extra income.
What Has Been The Most Difficult Part Of Running Your Own Business?
It can be difficult to keep up with everything between orders, shows, and social media demands...not to mention our little ones. It also takes discipline to set aside time for creativity. And then, it's pretty much all on me. If I don't do something with burdees, it won't get done.
What Advice Would You Give To Someone Else Starting A Business?
If you have a small starting budget, you should be prepared to do a lot by yourself. It's fine to hire someone to make a logo for you if that's not something you're good at, but expensive things like building your website shouldn't be outsourced. There are amazingly simple (and often free) tools on the internet. Also, when you launch, the public face of your business should look like you know what you're doing, even that you've been doing this for years. A small but important additional note is that it's best to have a business name that has an available .com domain name. An easy to remember web presence is pretty key to success.
Anything Else You Would Like Readers To Know About You, Your Business, Or Being A Small Business Owner In General?
Make things that you love. It's difficult to ignore what other talented people are doing on Instagram, but you have to stay true to your own vision.