Interview with Cary Heise, the Entrepreneur Behind Stay at Home Rock Star LLC
What is your business called and what do you do?
I created and own Stay at Home Rock Star llc, Tees for Moms that Rock! I am a stay at home mom of 2 and wife in Raleigh, NC. I enjoy being at home and love encouraging and empowering other at home moms.
Tell us how you became an entrepreneur and how long you have been one.
I have always in been in sales. I was waiting tables through college and pre-kid I had a retail career. I love selling (products I believe in)! Here is the funny thing about these shirts…I did not plan on starting a t-shirt business. I think I always thought I could do it and had some ideas. But on a whim one day last year I created my first Stay at Home Rock Star shirt for myself, posted it on Facebook and my friends went crazy over it! In two weeks I had ordered 60 tees for friends and found homes for my shirts in two local shops! I was really chasing the ball. I had no idea about UPS accounts, wholesale, pricing, nothing! I did get lots of advice from shop owners and other shirt line owners and they really helped me make smart choices at the beginning and I am so grateful. I let the dust settle and when I felt like I had a good grasp on the wholesale side I set a plan in action for the retail side and introduced my shopping cart website this year.
How did you fund starting your own business?
I made a personal investment that I was comfortable with. The initial investment was not enough to make an difference in our normal budget but it was out of our savings. I will tell you that my husband is not a risk taker and any amount made him a little nervous. I have worked hard and have just about broken even with my investment and I am 2 months shy of the Stay at Home Rock Star anniversary.
How many hours do you work in a week?
I don't work many hours a week. I could work lots more but balancing my family life and my creativity is a big focus of mine. I try to send a couple emails out a day. I keep up with Facebook posts and tweets daily. I take certain weeks and schedule meetings with other business contacts to network, get ideas, get advice and give advice. Then there are weeks that not much t-shirt biz gets done. But I am a stay at home mom and that is the way I want it. My youngest is starting kindergarten this year and I am excited about the time I will have to put into the business when he gets to school, but I am not so excited that I am pushing him into school. All in good time.
What has been your biggest business challenge as an entrepreneur?
My biggest challenge has been investing with my husband. I don't work outside the home. I don't have a budget or an account for myself and this is how we have set up our finances and it works for us and our marriage. But his comfort level with spending on a t-shirt business is much different than mine. Please don't misunderstand. My husband is a wonderful supporter, but when we are talking about our families' savings and risky business expenses, it has been a hot issue at some points. Maybe his reservation has been a good thing to cool my heels with some ideas and help me to take it slow.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Have fun! Get excited about your product! Stay motivated. Look for new opportunities to promote your line. Brainstorm. If ideas don't come to you right away, take some time to think about it and wait for that light bulb to come on. Don't take everyone's advice and run with it. Take your time. Plan well. Be prepared. Do your research. Talk to anyone who will talk to you about your line. Don't be afraid to put your name out there! It is okay to get it wrong sometimes. Speed bumps are great learning opportunities! Give back. Take some time to help others start their business and encourage them.
Anything else you would like to share?
Meeting amazing, talented and generous women who have encouraged me and that I have encouraged has been the best part of this whole t-shirt gig!
Website URL: www.stayathomerockstar.com
Twitter ID: @athomerockstar
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/
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