Welcome to the first post (of several) in an awesome interview series about women who are in business for themselves, are truly their own boss, and work hard every day to make their business thrive. Some of the women in this series, like our first, are moms looking to make a full time income at home. Others are artists who make their own accessories and share their creations through their business to support their craft.
Women Entrepreneurs – Jaime Tessman of Graystitch
Without further ado, I’ll just begin! Our first entrepreneur is Jaime Tessman, creator and owner of Graystitch, an online children’s boutique. Jaime started her business in January of 2014 in order to create an income that would allow her to work outside the home less. Because I personally know a bit about Jaime, I’ll jump to the conclusion that she sought to spend more time at home because at the time, her son was very little and she didn’t want to miss out on his babyhood. Jaime now has another little one to spend her days with, yet she still manages to keep up with her business and provide great quality products to her consistently growing fan base!
Let’s let Jaime do a bit of the talking though, and tell you about her business.
What sort of things do you make and sell through Graystitch?
Bibdannas, skirts, shorts, leggings, dresses, bow tie and bows, head wraps and crib bedding.
What product is your favorite? I see a lot of popularity with the bibdannas, but is there something else you prefer making?
I love my Bibdannas but just making new things is great fun. I love figuring out new patterns; I go through phases though. I loved sewing leggings then grew to hate them so I switched to something new. I think it’s important to switch it up so I don’t get burnt out.
Do you have any memorable customers?
[There] was a situation where the customer had no clue what they wanted. I ended up losing time and money.
What is your main form of advertisement? What has worked best for you?
I have a customer in Miami that I think has told every mom in Miami about me. Word of mouth is huge- I let my products speak for themselves. I believe in my products and don’t feel the need to do huge gimmicks to get people interested.
If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I’d love to be selling in more local stores. I’m just getting started so hopefully one shop leads to another.
Speaking of, you have a store in Central Iowa that’s about to start carrying your products? Where is that?
Kidding Around in West Des Moines, Iowa beginning in July. Kidding Around is a kids consignment store near Valley West Mall. I’m starting with a few products: diaper covers, skirts and Bibdannas. If my products get a good response then they’ll have me bring in more product.
I also see that you’re active on Instagram, what percent of your sales do you think come through that resource?
Instagram is 95% of my sales- I tried etsy and it still exists but I just prefer Instagram. I’ve met a lot of amazing women through there- it’s quite the community.
Where else can we find your products?
What’s the most valuable advice you have to give to someone who’s wanting to start a business?
Be original, be patient and be confident. Allow your business to grow slowly; I see a lot of shops pop up and they try to do everything at once and end up failing. That’s not good for anyone so allow yourself to be small for a while. I’ve been open for 15 months and still feel like a small shop which I’m happy about.
Thank you Jaime for a fabulous interview! I always love seeing your posts on instagram and I know your products will come in handy especially for us with a new baby in the house.
I invite you all to check out Jaime’s instagram for sales and more photos as well as her etsy store. Also, if you’re in the Des Moines area, don’t forget to check out Kidding Around for her items as well as gently used and new children’s and maternity items.
Stay tuned for more from our Women Entrepreneurs Series, next we’ll be chatting with the designer and creator of some of the most unique women’s hair accessories I’ve ever seen!