I'm just going to let you know up front that this is going to be a very image-heavy article. Lots of goodies here from Shop Memento! Not just of her beautiful products but of a work area that each and every one of us should be envious of. She's not working out of her bedroom, like so many of us (there are others of "us" out there, right?). A full-blown studio awaits her everyday with everything she needs to create her monogrammed masterpieces, which run the gammet from aprons, chef's hat, market totes, spa wraps, towels, lingerie bags, wine bags, lunch totes, toddler dresses, and luggage bags.
I love the fact that she even makes aprons for Daddy. Our daddy around here loves to cook and is very much-loved. We never want to leave Daddy out of the baking fun, especially the cleaning up part, lol.
You have such a great line of what I would call form and function products! Do you have some more ideas in the works or are you going to stick with what you have?
I started my business 3 years ago. In the beginning I embroidered a little of everything. I realized after 6-9 months that I needed to narrow my focus. I had so much excess inventory and no rhyme or reason to it. I discovered that lots of people make & sell personalized baby items. I felt I needed away to offer something different but I didn’t know what that was yet. My very first Mommy & Me apron set was "born" from a customer asking if I could find or make a matching Mother & Daughter apron for a baby shower gift. (Terri, the owner of Shop Memento, and her daughter, Liberty, at left.) That was what started what is now my biggest seller and what I am most known for. I do have a few other regular items that tend to be more popular during bridal and bridesmaids season. I do have lots of new ideas and I try to set time aside for the creation of new designs and ideas. The hard part with new creations is the time to design them, pick the fabrics and test stitch them and then take photos and write new product descriptions. As a Momprenuer that has built a successful & busy business my time is spent at this point on customer service and production of the orders. The busier I am the less new items!
Did you make a large investment in your embroidery equipment right off the bat or was this a purchase that you waited to make?
I am very detailed person and thorough. I researched for almost a full year on all the types of embroidery machines and looking at other monogramming and personalized gifts companies. I could spend $2,500 for a home machine or $6,500 for a commercial entry level machine. Most people I talked to said if you spend the money on the home embroidery machine and you decide you love it and want to grow and expand you business you will end up needing the commercial machine. This would mean spending $9,000 in the long run. So I took the plunge and bought the commercial machine. My first 2 years of business I was okay with 1 machine. But I now have 3! I named the first 2 Freedom & Enterprise. #3 I bought out of necessity as I had over 1,000 items to embroider in 10 days before the shipping deadline for Christmas! Poor #3 never got a name and has now become #3.I had felt good about my business until I had to buy 2 machines. Cash flow is the hard part in the beginning when your business grows and you need additional equipment to manage the growth.
Have you ever worked hard on a product that ended up not catching on?
On your blog, you stated that you had made some of your personalized spa towels for Oprah and Gayle. Did anything ever come of this? (Kudos for trying!)
It was an opportunity to send in products made by Mom’s for Oprah's Favorite Things show and for O Magazine upcoming holiday articles. I thought it was a great way to showcase 2 popular products, the spa wrap and market tote. I never did see or hear if either items made it on the show or the magazine. I am pretty sure they didn’t and I never heard anything from Oprah or Gayle. But it was fun making them. I googled their favorite colors and Oprah’s was green. I had never done the two greens on a black market tote and now that color combo is very popular. I call them the Oprah greens since that is where they started from. To be honest when I sent the items in it was April or May of last year and I got really busy that May and it hasn’t slowed down yet. I was kind glad I didn’t have the Oprah effect hit my world. I think I would of gone off the deep end with sleepless nights, my children & husband would have never seen me not to mention the additional grey hair & wine that would be needed! I have sent some of my items to various celebrities for new baby gifts and of the 5 or 6 I received a thank you card from only 1. Trista Sutter who is married to Ryan Sutter and has two beautiful children Max & Blakesley. She is such a sweet and kind lady and from the little I have learned about her she is a wonderful woman.
I can think of so many ways to use that market tote. One thing I hate is when I go to the store and there are no more market totes left. Argghh! So frustrating. And when I just need to pick up some fabric and the market tote that I do get is dirty. If I had my own market tote, I would know it was perfectly clean, just like my house. (Where's the sarcastic emoticon?) These are also great for all of the tailgating parties and picnics or just for keeping in your car for organizing any of the millions of different things you keep in your car. We live 30 minutes from town in any direction, so it's always like a roadtrip every time we go somewhere. Also, it is farmer's market time! Grab your handmade tote (thanks for supporting the handmade community!) and go support your local farmers. You really can taste the difference!