Need it Now! Small Business Series : Nickel Designs

Need it Now! Small Business Series Nickel Designs www.allthingsprettyblog.com

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!

Need it Now! Small Business Series Nickel Designs www.allthingsprettyblog.com

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!

Need it Now! Small Business Series Nickel Designs www.allthingsprettyblog.com

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.

Need it Now! Small Business Series: Nickel Designs www.allthingsprettyblog.com

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.

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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.

Need it Now! Small Business Series Nickel Designs www.allthingsprettyblog.com

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.

Need it Now! Small Business Series: Nickel Designs www.allthingsprettyblog.comWhat piece of advice would you give others looking to start up their own business?

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.

Need it Now! Small Business Series Nickel Designs www.allthingsprettyblog.com

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.

Need it Now! Small Business Series Nickel Designs www.allthingsprettyblog.com

Need it Now! Small Business Series: Le Cle

FullSizeRender (2)I love jewelry, and I especially love it when it carries a message. La Clé does just that. These beautiful hand dipped keys all symbolize something unique. Each color key represents a special meaning. I love that each key can be customized with your own message! I just had to order one that said #girlboss on it, naturally. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to chat with founder, Deanna Saracino to hear her story about how this wonderful company started.

Read More… Need it Now! Small Business Series: Le Cle

Need it Now! Small Business Series: Appetite Paper

Need it Now! Small Business Series: Appetite Paper by Rachel Baldwin www.allthingsprettyblog.com

I’m so excited to introduce you to Rachel Baldwin of Appetite Paper for this week’s Need it Now! Small Business Series! I discovered Appetite Paper via Instagram. Her feed is so inspirational and pretty! Rachel creates the most amazing, intricate paper flowers. My personal favorites are her peonies (of course!) The detail in her work is absolutely phenomenal. I want a bouquet in every room of my house already! I am excited for you to hear her story about how Appetite Paper came to life.

How did the idea for Appetite Paper come about? How did you get started?

Honestly, Appetite Paper started​ ​by​ simply​ exercising my love for design. ​My vision was never clear. I was constantly getting into watercolor, calligraphy, invitations and paper flowers after work​,​ ​eventually lead​ing​ to Appetite Paper. ​​Paper flowers naturally became a obsession of mine and Im just so grateful people love them just as much as I love making them!

Appetite Paper Collage 2

What does a day at the Appetite Paper office like?

Busy. I still work full-time, so a lot of grace is involved for the simple fact that I can not get everything done! There are only so many hours in a day. Its a constant balancing act and I fall short on the TO-DO list 99% of the time. This used to be a total bummer, but eventually I learned that doing my best is all that’s required of me. The rest will just have to wait.

Oh, but the ideal day in the Appetite Paper office​ :) ​…. Early rise, coffee, quiet time, yoga, work, rest, repeat – and not working on the weekends – now that I could get used to!

What is your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?

The constant challenges. You are always growing, always learning, always exploring new things. Its a creative’s dream to wonder through new projects with out the limitations from your typical 9-5. At Appetite Paper, I get to move where I feel inspired and create work that both challenges and excites me.

Need it Now! Small Business Series: Appetite Paper by Rachel Baldwin www.allthingsprettyblog.com

What piece of advice would you give others looking to start up their own business?

Ira Glass (From This American Life) said it best..

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Pure truth. When you first start out, your work just isnt good, but it will be. Just keep working, ​practicing, ​be patient and your ambition will eventually bring your dreams to life. Don’t quit.

Need it Now! Small Business Series: Appetite Paper by Rachel Baldwin www.allthingsprettyblog.com

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced being a small business owner so far?

Believing I have something to offer this world. As passionate as I am about design and all things paper, we are all fighting the lies in our head that we are not good enough, strong enough, smart enough or talented enough to make this dream career of ours a reality. Well we are, not by proof of any found success, but because we are ​simply put on this earth to serve others with our unique talents and strengths.

We are all different for a reason, and by denying our talents and saying we are not good enough only forfeits others from the opportunity to receive your help. People need us, they need what we have to offer, just as much as we need them. So go let your light shine, be you and keep on creating, you’ll change someones life for the better!

What goals do you have for your business? What can we look forward to in in the future from Appetite Paper?

Come to think of it, I don’t really have any goals (Tisk, tisk!) I just run my business with one goal in mind, I suppose. I am simply here to serve others.

Loving my clients and readers through my creativity, strengths and customer service is so important to me. Id say, if this is ever lost, then Appetite Paper will sadly no longer serve a purpose – this mission statement sorts​ of guides my every move.

I am really excited about our new venture of education at Appetite Paper this past spring. Teaching my readers how to make our Appetite Paper – Paper flowers, instead of just purchasing them, has been a blast to say the least. I hope this section of my business continues to grow. Whether your artsy or consider yourself lacking the creative bone, paper flowers are a great DIY adventure for your next event, cozy home décor or even a wedding! Especially if your on a tighter budget. I want our paper flowers to be accessible to everyone and most importantly foster my readers creativity.​ ​Its been an incredible blessing and learning experience – I am so eager to see where this new chapter is headed!

Need it Now! Small Business Series: Appetite Paper by Rachel Baldwin www.allthingsprettyblog.com

Rachel Baldwin, Appetite Paper

All photos c/o Appetite Paper

Free August 2015 Desktop Calendar

Free August 2015 Desktop Wallpaper by All Things Pretty www.allthingsprettyblog.com

Happy Saturday (and FREE desktop download day, of course!) I’ve got a slight obsession with all things prickly right now. Succulents and cacti have my heart and they are scattered all over watercolor journals. I thought it would be perfect to make one of my doodles come to life in desktop wallpaper form. This desktop calendar is yours to enjoy for FREE! I do kindly ask that before you download you to read our usage policy:

Read More… Free August 2015 Desktop Calendar