Interview with the Entrepreneur Behind Janet's Creative Pillows- Janet Bernasconi
Could you tell us a little about being a winner in the Startup Nation Leading Moms in Biz Competition?
I feel extremely honored to have been chosen as one of the winners of StartupNation Leading Moms in Business competition for 2011. Thousands of qualified moms who have been in business entered this competition and I was surprised and flattered to make the top 3. I am very humbled and appreciate the honor very much and wish to thank everyone who voted and made it possible. Hard work and persistence pay off.
Please tell us how you became an entrepreneur and how long you have been one.
I was inspired by a Oprah Winfrey episode about stay at home moms and the businesses they had started. Drawing on this inspiration, I took some clothes that belonged to my daughter that held special memories and started to make pillows as a remembrance keepsake, and then expanded to start listing different creations on EBay. One of the customers I had suggested I create my own website and I started the website with my creations in 2002.
What is your business called and what do you do?
My business is called Janet’s Creative Pillows. They are all original creations, and run the spectrum from inspirational, Victorian, cottage chic, to name a few. The creations are all custom made and even some of the requests I have gotten to make custom made pillows have turned into different themes in my business.
How did you fund starting your own business?
All expenses literally came out of my own pocket. The website costs, materials, advertising have all been paid for either from my husband and from generated sales that we pour back into the business expenses. The main thing to remember in any business is to make sure part of the profit is generated back into your business to insure constant growth.
How many hours do you work in a week?
It is really hard to pinpoint actual hours. Whether it is creating products, preparing orders, updating my blog, or responding to mail or business matters, sometimes the days just blend. Add to that two children, parents, and a husband, and a 24-hour day is not too far off. The time I dedicate to my business is constant, whether I am creating or networking. I do what I love, and that what make the time go by so quickly. You just never stop working if you want to be successful.
What has been your biggest business challenge as an entrepreneur?
The wave of success is always a business challenge. Many products can be successful, and then become yesterday’s fad. The challenge is not only to make a viable product that people want, but preparing to replicate that item should that item become popular. You always want to keep customers coming back and that is the challenge to keep your business and mindset fresh. There will always be another wave right after.
How did you or do you overcome your biggest challenge?
I think it is very important to learn by trial and error. The only way to learn is by making a mistake or two. I learned never to agree to rush a product to make a quick sale because it puts undue pressure to hit an impossible deadline and the quality of the work will be sub standard. I make sure to let my clients know that the custom items they request have a time frame because they are handmade and I want them to be happy with the final product. As a result, I have several repeat customers who are the core of my business.
What has been your most effective method of marketing?
The most effective method of marketing for my company has been to write directly to the editors of different companies that would hold an interest in my type of business. I have written to editors of magazines and that is how I have been able to get my products featured. This has worked for me far better than placing an ad.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Work hard, and don’t doubt your abilities. There are rejections in business all the time, but even the most successful people in the world today never let it stop them from realizing their dream. I like to believe with God, all things are possible. I don’t preach religion, but I believe faith in yourself and what you can accomplish is what makes the difference. Everyone has talent within them, but few ever realize or try to use it. What I like to do with my business is inspire others the way that Oprah’s show inspired me. ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
Anything else you would like to share?
It is great to have a support system in my life. I don’t think I would be lucky enough without the support my family and friends have given me. I have always said the main reason I started my business was so my family wouldn’t have to struggle and I could take care of my parents the way they took care of me. I always focus on positive things and keep negative thoughts away, because they are poison to me and my business. The best opportunity for me is to give back to others from the success I reach so that I can pay it forward and help to inspire others to do the same.
Website URL: http://www.janetscreativepillows.com/
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