By Leslie Youngblood
Welcome to the debut of Tenacity Tales, our new series that highlights the grit and determination of owners and entrepreneurs all across America.
This month, we've tapped Andrea Williams, designer and creator of Paisley Paper Co.
What’s the obstacle that you’ve overcome that you’re most proud of?
I had a pop-up in Downtown Detroit for 7 weeks. I’d applied for it, thinking that I’d never get it. When I got the acceptance email, it was definitely an ‘OMG HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS?!’ moment. I had no idea how I would be able to pull this off financially, inventory wise, employee wise.
Ultimately, I figured it out as I went along. And I’d say that it was still successful!
What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
So much! I knew nothing about running a store, which is essentially what the pop-up was. If I had to do it again, I would have more defined financial goals. I would have spent more time training my employees. I definitely would have had more marketing campaigns to bring in more customers.
What’s your best advice to other small business owners?
Get your business legally set up in whatever way makes sense for you and your business. Then immediately get an accountant to set up your tax structure.
There’s so many other things you’ll need to do when starting a business, so take care of those foundational things first. That way, you can spend time working on your business instead of worrying about your business.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I work at my full time job from 9ish-5ish. Then I’ll usually go to my office after work to either fulfill orders, work on new product designs, or freelance projects.
Then I’ll go home and try to relax...but sometimes I’ll sketch or shoot off an email or two about work. I used to stay up late and now I’m in bed by 11, hopefully.
What’s next for Paisley Paper Co.?
I just launched a planner called the UNPLANNED PLANNER for people (like me) who are starting their planner journey. I’m really excited about it because it’s my first major product release. Other than that, I’m working on new stationery products to be released at the end of this year/early next year.
Fall/holiday is a busy time for craft shows, so I’m hoping I’ll be a vendor this year!
Want more from Andrea and Paisley Paper Co.?
Check out Andrea in Excelerate America's "Fitting In Is Overrated" panel of experts during National Small Business Week 2018. WATCH THE VIDEO.