Do you remember the moment where you said, I have to pursue this dream and start my own business?
I was driving and listening to the local radio when they made an announcement for applications for the big summer craft market. I thought, "I need to do that. And I need to quit my job." I honestly started sobbing because I knew I needed to pursue my dream/business full-time. I was terrified of the next steps, excited for how much happier I would be, and anxious for the potential growth of my business.
What is next for you and your business in 2016?
I recently got back from the MAGIC tradeshow in Las Vegas and made great connections with several retailers and agents. My hope for 2016 is to grow my placement in shops throughout the US and in Europe. On the side, I host sewing classes at night. I would like to grow my work force. I want to hire other teachers to help teach the classes so I'm not working 24/7.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I love anything vintage. I love to mix the silhouettes of the 50s/60s and the vibrant colors of the 70s and 80s. I am also inspired by the everyday woman-- who is on the go and is looking for function and fashion. My styles are simple and easy on the eye.
How important is a good support system?
A good support system is key to find motivation and real success. I had several close friends share their enthusiasm and belief in my products/business at a time I was complaining about my current marketing job. They gave me ideas of how to launch my business and even start networking with people. When I started expressing fear and concern, they said that the worst case scenario would just be that I would have to move in with my parents and/or find another job. And realistically, those aren't bad options. At least I be would out of the job I hated and moving on to something better. Now that I'm doing it full-time, I receive several referrals and inquiries for networking from fans and friends. This tells me that others believe in what I'm doing and want to see me and Anne B succeed.
What advice would you give women who want to start a business and/or pursue their dream?
Don't wait. If the idea has come to your mind more than once, do it. You can start small, just give it a try, and don't quit your day job just yet. Talk to as many people as you can; people in your desired industry and potential consumers. Don't be shy about your new passion. Be confident and you'll be amazed at how many people will follow.
After starting your business, what are some lessons learned?
Woah, there's too many to name. One thing I've learned and I wish I did more of this when I started, is to treat your business like a big deal from the start. Either invest or find friends to help you out with branding, promoting, and a website to make your potential consumers/market fall in love with your business as much as you love it. When you treat it like a big deal, others will believe it's a big deal during their first encounter.
Be ready to wear several hats. I am a designer. That's all I want to be. But right now, I'm in charge of finances, hiring, operations, production, marketing, curriculum, shop management, design, etc... And you have to love what you are doing. If not, all of these tasks will get old fast and you'll want to get out. Remember why you started and keep your goal in mind. You'll get there!
There's no cookie cutter life. I studied advertising, got an internship in New York, and expected to follow the path of my peers and get a big time advertising job in the city. But that didn't happen for me. I moved home and all I could find was a marketing job at a software company. It served me fine for a while, but then I realized that I didn't need to stay there. I had control of my future and happiness. At first I felt like I had to prove that I could find a job using my degree. Not true. I just needed to prove to myself that I could create the type of life I wanted. So I did.
What are a few of your favorite must-haves?
Every girl needs a leather jacket. It can be fake. (Mine is from Forever 21). I was afraid to get one at first because I didn't want to look too "hardcore". I thought, "That's not how a professional business owner should look." NO! That's exactly how a professional business owner should look! Confident and not caring what other people think! Collection of vintage rings. They give the perfect touch to any outfit and are great conversation starters. Post-it notes. I have several colors and use them everywhere in my office, car, and home. I like having tactile reminders and notes.
**Interested in learning more about Sarah Burroughs and Anne B Designs go to: Anne B Designs