Our goal for our NEW Shop Talk series is to highlight different makers & crafters, incredible small-shops, inspiring entrepreneurs, and motivational individuals or families!
There couldn't be a better time than this as supporting local and small shops during these stressful times will make a MASSIVE, positive impact on makers' personal and family lives.
Meet the lovely Krystin from Grace + Parker - a woman of many accomplishments! She's a mama to 3 adorable kids, a Certified Athletic Therapist, a Registered Massage Therapist (just a minute while we go and book an appointment!) as well as being the creative talent and owner of Grace & Parker!
We asked her to talk about her why - and to share her experience of building a business and a brand! So find a comfy chair, sit down and soak up all her wisdom on navigating the challenges of this past year, and on how to set BIG goals for your business!
Thank you to Cara and her team for reaching out and asking me to participate in this maker spotlight!
Where did it all begin? Well, back in 2014, I was looking for more fashionable teething necklaces for me to wear and had absolutely no luck. Everything didn’t suit my style. So I figured why not make myself something. So I did a ton of research (because I wasn’t going to let my little one chew on something that I knew nothing about) and made myself a few necklaces. I then started making other items like a soother clip and a teething ring, all the while making sure I read every safety standard there was.
I started a business from the ground up and loved every moment of it. Fast forward to 2018 when, through a strange turn of events, I ended up taking a huge leap and purchasing Grace + Parker. The then owner was looking to sell for various reasons, and the month after having my third little one I was the owner of Grace + Parker!
I was fortunate to have four years of ‘industry’ experience, learning the ropes of building a teething business from the ground up. I then read and researched more about the business side of owning a small shop and most importantly growing a small shop - even about that dreaded Instagram algorithm (that just when you think you have it figured out it changes!).
This last year has been interesting. Not to sound cliche, but it has definitely been the year of the ‘Pivot’. One of the best parts of having a small shop is the community you build with it. Every year in the spring and around the holidays I look forward to meeting customers at various markets. This past year, markets were cancelled and finding ways to engage with my community was still something that was important to me. I took part in virtual markets, and while not the same as in person markets, they were still a conduit to my community.
When looking to the future and past the ‘season’ we are currently living through, I have big lofty goals. When I talk to other shop owners I always encourage them to set big goals that make you feel uncomfortable. This may sound a little bit strange, but the one thing I have learned over the years is that it is the big, lofty goals that take you out of your comfort zone, that make you grow. You grow as a person but also as a business. If I think way back to when I did my first Instagram story, I was terrified. More like petrified. But that one simple risk I took of putting myself out there, letting my community learn about me, the person behind the brand, has made all the difference to my business.
The balance of motherhood, family and a growing business is a struggle. I have found that putting boundaries in place is not a failure but a healthy necessity. I also learned that I can’t do everything. I enjoy making items, showing up for my community on my Instagram stories, organizing photoshoots and working with other small shops on collaborations. That’s a lot in itself. So making sure I had a social media presence beyond my Instagram stories was something I just didn’t have the bandwidth to do. I have an amazing virtual assistant who understands my shop, my personality and most importantly my brand. I firmly believe you can’t be everything to everyone and that you need your village. I’m so glad that I have my village to not only support me but the Grace + Parker brand.
To all the small business owners that may be reading this and are just starting out - enjoy every moment of the building process. It can be scary and intimidating but take on each challenge and make sure at the end of the day, every decision aligns with your brand and the image you have for your brand. You may stumble along the way, we all have, but that’s where we all learn!
Krystin - Owner of Grace + Parker