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.
We’re so pumped to introduce you to Shey from Sheyb Designs! After spotting a gap in the cookie cutter market, this superwoman and mama of five has developed her business from small beginnings to a huge production! Her business is a real family affair, providing cookiers and bakers alike with a fantastic range of cookie cutters, stencils and so much more! Her website is a cookie enthusiast’s treasure trove!
Let’s get to know her and her inspirational business story below!
1. Tell us a little bit about how your company started and what makes your brand unique.
I started making cookies first. I took an online course to learn, because my son's birthday was coming and I had an idea to make him a Little Blue Truck cookie for the top of his birthday cake. Along the way to trying to meet that cookie decorating goal, I was asked by many of my neighbors to make cookies for their events. So, I did. And I began making a ton of cookies. I was working on cookies all night sometimes! While making them, I found that there were so many times that I just couldn't find the cookie cutter that I was looking for.
I already had an interest in 3D printing - I blame my husband for that (or maybe I should say, I thank my husband for that!) because, once I brought the idea of making cookie cutters to him, he was totally on board.
I decided immediately that I wanted to sell the cookie cutters we made. So, that journey began at the Renaissance Faire in February of 2015... we were at the Ren Faire all day and while one of my daughters was getting a henna tattoo, he purchased our first 3D printer, haha! So funny thinking back to that day. I did end up abandoning cookie making - I just couldn't do both and raise 5 kids. It's crazy to think how far we have come since then. Never in a million years did I think my business would be where it is today. Not ever! It took a lot of blood, sweat, late late nights and a ton of tears, but here we are. :)
I think my brand is unique, because I try to make my designs unique. I try and steer away from the stuff everyone else is producing and focus on what I think would end up being an awesome cookie.
I am inspired by everything I see anywhere and everywhere. Craft stores, nature, clothing, home decor, etc. I try and immerse myself in inspiration as much as I can. Especially when I am drawing for holidays, I will go to craft stores and just look at everything that has been released. I will look at every detail. I close my eyes and try to imagine what I am looking at as a cookie.
This year I had time to finally create my Christmas Village - something I have had on my list to do for a couple years. I love going into Michaels and looking at their Christmas Village displays. I look at every tiny painted detail. So, on September 23rd of this year, I began to draw my version of a Christmas Village. And I am loving them! I am super inspired by holiday home decor this year as well. It's hard to come up with new stuff when you have literally drawn almost every other basic holiday item, so I tend to step outside the box and see what else I think would make a great cookie!
2. What are some of the challenges you have faced in the last year? What are some of your greatest joys and accomplishments this past year?
I think what has been most challenging for me has been learning to let go of things. Learning that I absolutely cannot do everything, despite how much I may want to. June of 2019 my husband decided to become my business partner. He and his partner had just sold their business, so he was left with a choice of finding another job, or jumping in my boat with me to grow my business. That decision has been one of the best decisions for me because I seriously needed help. Before he came on board, I was literally doing everything myself. Designing, printing the cutters, customer service, marketing, social media, helping my employees package (they were all working very part time back then so I filled in when they were gone), ordering additional products to sell on our website, ordering materials etc. That was on top of having a young toddler and 4 other kids. When my husband (often referred to as Mr. Sheyb) came on board, he took so many things off my plate, I remember feeling the weight lifting off my shoulders. Since then, he has really pushed me and our employees to be the best we can be. I love that he is now my partner in every aspect of life. I used to secretly hope that one day we could own a business together... look at us now! ;-)
I think my biggest accomplishment of 2020 has been growing our business so much that we were able to move our business out of our home and into a commercial space. That was a big big goal for me, and I couldn't be happier or more proud that that goal was achieved!
3. Can you share some of your dreams for the future of your business?
I can't really share much. We have SO SO SO much that we are working on behind the scenes privately. But I am looking forward to the day I can let all these cats out of the bag. :-) It's very exciting stuff!
4. How have silicone beads / cookie scribes been an essential part of your brand and business?
Scribe tools offer a pretty way for cookiers (that's the coined term of those wonderful people out there that spend countless hours decorating cookies) to spread and smooth out their icing. These tools allow them to add tiny details, like a drop of white icing to bring eyes alive or drag icing around to make stars, hearts, leaves etc. They also allow our customers to have something in colors they like. Many of my customers have collected many many scribe tools over the years.
I began offering them over a year ago, because I just loved making them, and one of my goals is to be a one stop shop for bakers; so having scribe tools was a must!
Since I began making them, I have since given out a free tutorial on how to make your own scribe tools and we offer kits so you can make your own without having to buy supplies in bulk. I did the tutorial, because I honestly believe that sharing knowledge for certain things, even if I sell that product, can be helpful to others. It didn't matter to me if others took that new "how to make a scribe tool" knowledge and began making and selling their own scribe tools. I shared because I wanted to give out that knowledge freely. I don't do that for everything I do, but I figured sharing this one skill with others would not only be helpful, but it would also allow conversations to happen, it would allow others to create something for themselves and be proud of it, no matter how little that scribe tool may be. I know how fun it is when you make something new.
I also know how therapeutic they can be to make and since Covid 19 blew up and people were stuck in their homes, I decided it was the right time to teach others how to make them. I had been thinking about doing a tutorial for them for a couple months before I finally decided how to make them. I told several people where to get the supplies they would need to make scribes, and once I did that, I just thought, maybe I should just do a tutorial. So I did. I love seeing the scribe tools others create after watching my tutorial, and their excitement makes me excited!
5. How do you balance life and growing your business?
I don't. Balance, in my opinion, is a joke. You simply can't really balance it. You have to choose each day what is most important at that given time.
Owning a business isn't a 9-5 job. Owning a business is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year job. When you have kids and a spouse, you just have to learn to make choices. "Do I have hard deadlines?" "Does my kid have an activity I need to attend?" "What time do I make dinner tonight?" "Do I work late or get up early?" There's no balance.
I work during the day when my kids are at school, I pick them up from school and work when we get home. I pick my youngest up from daycare, make dinner, spend time with them and once they're in bed, most of the time I am working again. I work 12+ hours a day most days. I spend a lot of time answering emails, answering comments on Instagram, answering DM's etc. All of which is part of my job. All of which takes a lot of time.
My kids know I will be there, they know I will drop anything if they need me. But they also know that mommy has to work. Putting food on the table and a roof over their heads is essential. So if you choose to start your own business, know that you'll be working a looooot!
But, despite my insane hours, I always make sure I am there for my kids, I am present. I just work around their schedule and pick work back up once they're tucked in at night or while they're in school. My oldest daughter is 18. She's worked for me since she was 13. She has learned so much and grown so much since she started. So if you can, show your kids what you do. Make them a part of it. You never know what will happen or how that may help them someday!