Sooo before we dive into this interview, I wanted to say a few things. I’m a girl with just a few people I call truly “friends”. As in, I can probably count them all with my fingers. I don’t know why that is exactly, I’ve never been one to be super outgoing or felt the need to be surrounded by people all the time, so I’ve usually just gravitated to the people who truly mean something to me. I haven’t had much time for the frivolous relationships. Especially now, do you know how hard it is to maintain a relationship with my husband and daughter while working full time and two side hustles, let alone give love to friend relationships? So hard!! So before I get too far off topic, this chick right her is one of those friends that I am so happy to have and seriously love even though we’ve technically never met in real life. Ha! She is the amazing Kaleigh of Designtwentyfive. We started talking via instagram a couple years ago as we were both serving the wedding industry with our small shop products. We have been through so much together as we’ve had babies, grown our business, dealt with marital struggles, the whole nine. I’m so grateful for her friendship and hope that we get to meet in real life soon. Now you guys are lucky because you get to get a glimpse into the life of this lovely mompreneur and I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have!!
It’s happy hour time! Imagine we are off to our favorite restaurant with $4 happy hour queso, because that’s obviously where I would go… What do you order to drink?
Oh, I’d absolutely order a margarita…and there better be guac!
How did you and your hubs meet?
We actually met in high school! We were in the same Spanish class my freshman year, he was a sophomore. Oddly enough, we never dated in high school. Even weirder… we both had “crushes” on each other but never said anything. We talked a bit when I was in college and he was in the Marines, but it wasn’t until the summer before my senior year in college that we actually met up & started dating.
We are pretty much long distance best friends but tell me about yourself in 3 sentences for the sake of my readers.
I’m a wife, and a mama to a sweet 15-month-old boy. I love coffee, tacos & ice cream – not at the same time. I enjoy watching crime shows on TV and long walks through the aisles of Target – also not at the same time.
What is your morning routine? And if you don’t have one, what would be your ideal one and how are you working to achieve it?
I’m not sure if I’d call it a “routine”, but my days start whenever Henry wakes up – totally not a morning person here! We get up, get his milk, he helps me make coffee, and then we usually go snuggle on the couch for a bit. Being a mama means he comes first, so my actual “work day” doesn’t start until he takes his first nap – usually sometime between 10/11am. I wish I had a better work routine, but every day is different, so I try to make a quick list of priorities for the day first and then dive in. I do my best to work on my computer MWF and pack/work on product orders on T/Th. It’s the smallest bit of routine, but it helps me stay focused during the naptime hustle!
If you had one day to spend on anything you’d like and had no other distractions or commitments, how would you spend that day?
If we’re talking work related, I’d definitely tackle my pain points on my to-do list. The stuff that constantly gets pushed the side. I’d probably spend an hour scheduling social media posts first, just to get that out of the way. I’ve been really wanting to create a blog/resource section on my website, so that’d probably be what I’d spend the rest of the day doing. Designing the platform, and then working on content creation & posts.
Not work related: I’d definitely want to be by the pool, drink in hand, working on my tan!
If you could go anywhere in the world, all expenses paid for 1 week, where would you go?
Ooo, that’s a tough one! I’ve been to Europe before, but there’s still so many places I’d love to travel, so I’d probably go there to explore. An all-inclusive resort in Mexico sounds pretty good too though!
What is something you struggle with as a mom and entrepreneur?
Time. There is never enough time. I have major mom guilt when I feel like I’m not giving Henry enough of my attention, and I have major boss guilt (is that a thing??) when I take too long to get back to someone’s message or when I start drowning in orders.
How do you balance mom life with business-owner life? Or is this your struggle? If so, how would you ideally balance the two and are you working towards it?
At the moment, balance is definitely a struggle. I try to remind myself constantly that this is just a season. Adjusting to work life after having Henry was challenging for sure. I was so used to being able to work all day long, and then call it quits when the hubs got home. Now, it’s almost the opposite. The only “balance” I’ve found currently is to spend my time with Henry while he’s awake and work my butt off during his naptimes. But let’s be honest, 2-3 hours a day isn’t going to cut it. So, after he goes to bed at 7:30, I spend a little quality time with my husband until he goes to bed at 9:30ish and then I start the midnight hustle working til 12, 1, sometimes even 2am. It’s exhausting for sure, but I do work better at night when I know I can focus on only work and not worry about when H is gonna wake up. Like I said, it’s a season.
Describe your business and what you do, for readers that are just now meeting you!
I’m the owner of designtwentyfive, an invitation & party goods shop! When I first started designtwentyfive back in 2014, it was primarily invitations and other printable goods. I was planning my own wedding and I loved the idea of designing our invitations myself. A few months after that, I started working for a local screen printing shop and being in that creative environment really opened my eyes to all the other products I could be creating & selling. Some of my first products I sold were things I designed and made for my own bridesmaids’ gifts.
Is your business exactly how you imagined it being or are you working to developing some portion or process of it?
Oh, it’s definitely a work in progress! I’ve made it the past three years just flying by the seat of my pants, but 2018 was the year I told myself I’m really going to buckle down, get some work flow/systems in place, and expand my product offerings! I started by setting a goal to launch my own standalone website. It’s been such a big learning curve, but I’m so glad I took the plunge.
I also recently added a party décor section to my website which I’m really excited about and am looking forward to expanding. I’d love to become a “one-stop-shop” for bachelorette parties & other events!
I always thought I’d only sell online, but more recently I’ve started dreaming about what a brick & mortar shop could look like in addition to online. I’d eventually love to open a small specialty party shop where I’d carry all my designtwentyfive products, in addition to party décor and even offer specialty invitation printing services. The big dream would be to have event space attached where I could hold indoor events & classes as well.
How did you discover your passion for what you do? What drove you down this path?
Designtwentyfive started when I was planning my own wedding. I had always loved graphic design and DIY projects, so I thought it’d be fun to try my hand at designing our invitations. I also had some friends who were pregnant or had just had their first baby, so it was fun to try different styles & themes too! Invitation design was, and still is a creative outlet for me, so the more I designed, the more passionate I became to try new things and expand my skillset.
What is your mission statement? What is the inspiration behind your business?
My mission is to help create memorable events for all to enjoy! My inspiration behind my business is simple: life is short, cherish every minute! Find a reason to celebrate. It could be as simple as a Taco Tuesday with your besties or a bachelorette weekend in Miami – find your tribe, love them hard. Celebrate all life’s little moments!
How has your business grown and changed from when you first started?
When I first started my business, all I ever thought I’d do was design invitations. I wanted to offer printable designs so they’d be budget friendly for customers to DIY print and that was that. But then I started getting printing inquiries, so I expanded my services and started offering printed invitations. Never in a million years did I think I’d start selling physical products, especially that are primarily used for bachelorette parties, but it’s truly my favorite thing!
How do you advertise, promote and drive traffic to your business? What’s something you can recommend to aspiring mombosses and new shop owners?
As of now, I primarily use Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest to drive traffic to my website. I still have my Etsy shop open in addition to my website, so I do get a lot of traffic through Etsy directly. My main piece of advice in regards to social media & driving traffic to your business would be to find a platform that you are interested in and start there! It doesn’t make sense to have a Twitter account if you don’t fully understand the platform and don’t find yourself wanting to spend time there. I love Instagram and the connections & community I’ve made there, so that is generally my focus!
If you could outsource one or two things, what would they be? Some part of the labor process? Packaging? Social media management? Email marketing, etc?
If I could outsource some of my marketing tasks, that’d be a huge help! I typically let things like social media posts & emails get pushed down on my to-do list when other “more pressing” things come up! Ideally, I’d have an employee or two that would be able to help me specifically with those aspects of my business so I can be consistent! Also, blogging. I haven’t started one yet for fear of not being able to be consistent with it. So definitely those two things.
What is your least favorite part of running your own business? And what is your favorite part?
I think my least favorite part is my lack of being able to give up control. I have thought a million times about hiring an employee, asking my husband or a family member or friend for help with XYZ, or outsourcing more, but I’m such a control freak that I know I’m holding myself back. My favorite part is definitely designing new products or working with clients on custom orders! To be honest, I sometimes dread custom projects but more often than not, they turn out to be some of my favorite things!
What is one piece of advice that you were given that has been the most impactful during your entrepreneurial journey?
Oh gosh, that’s tough! I feel like I’ve received a lot of great advice over the years, but I think my favorite piece of advice wasn’t actually “advice”, but just learned by watching someone. I used to give my former boss at the screen printing shop such a hard time for dabbling in so many things – he owned a screen-printing shop, a tattoo shop, a clothing line. He started selling hot sauce and tattoo creams and one-off humorous shirts. And while that really is A LOT for one person to manage, I loved that he was never afraid to try something new. Whenever I had an idea for a new product I’d seem hesitant about, he’d always push me to give it a try – what harm could come from trying? Sort of that old adage, “But what if I fall? Oh darling, but what if you fly!” I honestly wouldn’t have taken a leap in many aspects of my business if it weren’t for him giving me a nudge.
In turn, what is one piece of advice you’d give to other looking to start their own venture?
If I could give someone just starting out ONE piece of advice, it would be to make connections. And not in the “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” sort of way. Find a friend, someone who is running a business too. Someone who understands what you’ve got going on. I’ve met so many wonderful women through social media, people that I love calling friends. Having someone to run ideas by, vent to, compare notes with… it’s truly SO valuable when running a small business! It’s different than your husband, your mom, your lifelong bestie. You want someone who’s walking the same path you are so you know when they say “I get it!” that they totally do!
Takeaways from Kaleigh
Dedicate time to the platforms you love.
Like Kaleigh said, there may not be a need for you to spend time and energy on every platform. If Instagram is your love, focus on it. Don’t jump onto twitter just because you think you need to, if it does not serve you and your brand the way that is ideal. It’s just one more thing to manage and we are all about being more efficient.
Ask for help.
Kaleigh mentioned that she struggles with this. And I am hoping she finds a middle ground and is able to outsource more of her tasks as I know it’d be great for her mental game. I think we, as entrepreneurs, continually struggle with letting go of the reigns because this is our baby, we’ve built it, we’ve poured out blood, sweat and tears into it. And we feel like we are the only ones who can do the things. But we aren’t. People can help with a lot of aspects of our business, we just have to seek them out and let it go.
Don’t be afraid to try something new.
You gotta jump before you know if you can fly. Both Kaleigh and I have jumped alot with our businesses in terms of product development. She is doing big things over on her end and I am so excited to see how it goes for her. We have to continually push our businesses to be better, you guys. Not so that it’s more work for us, hopefully we are pushing things to be more efficient, but things do take time and they do take risk and commitment. It’s not an easy life being an entrepreneur but it can definitely be worth it as you find something you are passionate about!
I second her on this point. I believe it is so important to build a community with like minded people. Find friends that you can bounce ideas off of, seek advice from, whatever it is, you need your people, you need a tribe. I have that with Kaleigh and a few other amazing mamas and I am so grateful for each and every one of them!
Isn’t Kaleigh amazing? I think so. But maybe I’m baised. Nah can’t be, she truly is. And you guys should give her a follow here and check out her shop especially if you are in the market for party and wedding goods and invitations! She also has mama and babe gear so something for everything, amiright?
Thank you guys so much for reading!
Much love, Jess