Today I have the opportunity to introduce you to small business owner, Kim Sievers. I didn't know this when I originally scheduled the interview for today, but it also happens to be her birthday! Happy Birthday, Kim!!
Kim is the owner, purchaser, and designer behind The Lemonade Stand, an online children's clothing store, with seriously adorable clothes! She is also a full time mom of a three year old and four month old, and a dayhome owner. She's located in Edmonton, AB, Canada. She started her business about two years ago. It was inspired by her daughter. Kim found it so hard to find unique, fashionable, and most importantly affordable clothes for her and wanted to change that.
I think she certainly has done that! Keep reading to learn more about her experience as a small business owner.
How did you get started in your field?
My shop first started with a small dream, a lot of research, and sending off a lot of emails. I had a few brands I loved that I knew I wanted to carry (a lot of which didn't end up doing wholesale), but aside from them I researched a lot of different brands, and made a lot of personal purchases so I could get a feel for quality and such.
What do you wish you had known when you were just starting your business?
The full extent of how much competition there is out there. I mean I knew it was a competitive field to get involved in, but it felt like once I committed and put money into it, ten new shops were popping up every week.
What has been the most effective strategy for getting new clients or selling more products?
I try to make a personal connection with my customers. I like my Instagram feed to be real. Lots of shops have these dreamy photos that look so magical and they are amazing, don't get me wrong, but I want my customers to see the items I carry being worn by real kids, doing real kid things.
What has been the best part of running your own business?
Being able to work from home and watch my kids grow up (cheesy I know).
What has been the most difficult part of running your own business?
Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. As a new(ish) shop in such a competitive field, it's sometimes disheartening seeing the success of other shops exceeding mine. Statistically a new business is in debt for the first few years of business, so I know I'm not alone.
It's hard to keep motivated sometimes...but every kind word from customers or cute photo shared in my gear makes it easier.
What advice would you give to someone else starting a business?
Do your research!! In relation to my business; I THOUGHT I did a lot of research...researched other kids shops in my area and internationally, looked to see who carried what and what was popular, and even made a lot of personal purchases just to test out quality. But even after all of that, I found there were A LOT more shops, even within my own city, that didn't necessarily advertise a lot so I never came across them.
With certain brands I learned a lot of them (although great brands), just cared about their end of the business. So they didn't really care if they had six different stores within the same city selling the same stuff; which makes it really hard to sell things when you've got so much surrounding competition.