Business Owner Interview: Laura Gardner
This week we meet Laura Gardner from Klaim U.
What is your background in general?
Laura: I was born and raised in Belgium and I went to college to study geography. I moved to the US with my husband when I was 23 and volunteered as an EMT before becoming a stay at home mom to our 2 children, now 4 and 7 years old.
When did you start making things, and what type of things? (personal life and business)
Laura: I always loved making crafts. I made all our wedding invitations and thank you notes by hand when I got married at 22. Then I started making baby items for family members and I sewed/knitted/crocheted things for myself from time to time.
Do you still make the same types of things?
Laura: Although they are not always handmade, I still take a lot of time to design holiday cards and customized calendars for our family. I stopped making baby items as my own children got a little bigger. The items I make and sell are now focused on making life more organized.
What made you start a craft business?
Laura: I hadn’t finished college when we moved to the US for my husband’s job. I volunteered as an EMT at first, then stayed home to raise our 2 kids. I didn’t feel fulfilled by being a stay at home mom and I needed something for myself. I love making things and decided to open an online store and “see what happens”!
What are some of your challenges in business?
Laura: I don't have any background in business and at first I didn't know the first thing about building an online store or advertising - or filing business taxes!
Now I struggle with getting it all done by myself! I find there are many things to cover when having your own online store and while I can do them all, I find hard to stay on top of it. Once I catch up on something, I fall behind on something else.
How have you solved some of those challenges?
Laura: I took a lot of business classes, specifically designed for small craft businesses, both online and at conferences and I met with an accountant. I have a lot of online resources and communities to go to if I have any question or issue, or if I need advice or feedback.
I still struggle with getting everything done and I'm considering getting a virtual assistant that could take care of all my social media channels and perhaps advertising, too.
What do you like about your craft business?
Laura: I love that I built something from the ground up and that people come visit my store and appreciate the items I make. I love sending each one of my products to its new home and when a happy customer leaves a review or sends me a picture of their purchase being used, it makes my day. I take pride in having my own business!
How does your background affect your style?
Laura: Because of my European culture, I am drawn by modern and sleek designs. After having kids, I also started looking for ways to keep things more organized.
What is your definition of success for your business?
Laura: Getting a regular and steady additional income and enjoying what I do is already fulfilling. I would love to see my business grow to a higher sales volume at some point, but I realize it would consume more of my time and it would be more stressful, so I would like to see that happen further down the road, when my children are a little older. I consider myself successful as it is for having developed a business that generates profit!