When it comes to decorating my home, I absolutely love personalized decor since it makes our house more of a “home”. I’m not going to lie. When it came to finding a doormat for our home, there isn’t much out there. Just your run-of-the-mill “welcome” mat. Maybe a seasonal mat here or there. When searching for the perfect welcome mat, I discovered Nickel Designs on Etsy. Nickel Designs specializes in custom, hand painted welcome mats. I knew I had found the perfect welcome mat for our home. Naturally because our last name rhymes with “house”, I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather have on our mat than “Welcome to the Graus House”.
It is the perfect addition to our home as we have been working on a huge re-design. When I saw their mats, I knew they’d be a perfect brand to feature in our Need it Now! Small Business Series because, seriously, you need one now!
How was the Nickel Designs brand born?
Nickel was born out of a little frustration and a lot of pent up creativity. We realized that we couldn’t find fun welcome mats anywhere. Your doorstep is the first impression people get of your home, and we wanted to be able to show some personality before guests get inside. A lame entryway is like a weak handshake; forgettable and disappointing. We made a couple for ourselves, wanted to share the love, smashed our names together (Nicole + Kelly = Nickel), and we were off!
What does a day in the life of Nickel Designs look like?
Corporate ladies during the day, mat makers at night. We both have full time day jobs, and paint mats during all of our “free” time. We live an hour away from each other, so we get together on the weekends to brainstorm new designs…and world domination.
Where is your favorite place to get inspiration for your work?
Our inspiration comes from everywhere! Some things just pop into our crazy brains, and others are simple things we see on a daily basis. We send one word texts to one another constantly: “heart”, “bear”, “fork”, “bike”, etc. We’ve got an ever-expanding ideas list.
What is your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
Our favorite part is thinking/experiencing all the possibilities it offers. We get to make our own rules, and be as crazy as we want to be. It’s also really nice to know that our customers appreciate what we offer and allow us to guide them on their custom ideas.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced being a small business owner so far?
We’ve done a lot of learn-as-we-go, especially when we started. We knew we had good ideas, but executing them in a way that made us proud and our customers happy was somewhat trying at times. We’ve gotten really comfortable and confident in our product, and have gotten into the groove of being our own bosses.
Just go for it! We didn’t have a clue what we were doing when we first started. Not to do a promotional plug, but Etsy makes it really easy to start up an online business. Having confidence in your product and your awesomeness is key.
What goals do you have for your business? What can we look forward to in the future from Nickel Designs?
We have a lot of things in the works right now. The first thing we’re doing is launching our own stand-alone website! We are constantly coming out with new designs, but we’ll also begin expanding our product line in the very near future. Custom orders really drive our business, so we plan to expand that option into our awesome new (still secret) products. Our main goal is to ensure that our customers love what they buy as much as we love making it.