This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know best friends and sisters-in-law Jennifer and Melissa of Nashville, TN, co-founders of The Vintage Honey Shop, a brand founded on stylish, functional teething and nursing jewelry for parents + babies. Welcome, Jen + Mel!
LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneurs?
Jen + Mel: When we started off, becoming entrepreneurs was far from what we had envisioned for our shop. As we made little crafts here and there, we would share them on our Facebook pages, and a lot of friends and family members urged us to open up an Etsy shop. We thought about it for a while and finally decided to open up a shop together as friends!
LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?
Jen + Mel: When we first started off selling our crafts on Etsy, we didn’t have a business plan. We just wanted to make cute things and have a place to sell them. It was a fun venture…a hobby, really.
We had no idea that The Vintage Honey Shop would take off, and that we actually had great business skills that had been laying dormant inside of us. Our vision for our shop has evolved and changed for us over the years; and it still does, which is great, because being an entrepreneur is a fun adventure!
LBC: How would you describe what you create?
Jen + Mel: We make handmade teething and nursing necklaces. The necklaces are fabric and wood-based. Mom wears the necklace, and baby can safely put it in their mouth (because you know they are going to do that anyway).
Our necklaces are very popular with breastfeeding mothers as well, because when mom wears the necklace, their baby can have something to hold onto that will keep them focused on nursing – instead of looking around or pinching/scratching mom!
LBC: Where can we find your products?
Jen + Mel: We sell our necklaces on our website, thevintagehoneyshop.com.
LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.
Jen + Mel: There is no typical day! Every day is new and different.
Because we are a partnership, we split up responsibilities. Melissa is in charge of our inventory and shipping operations. We store and ship all of our necklaces from her home, which happens three times a week. On the days we do not ship, Melissa makes tags for our packages, preps orders for the next day, and does inventory on the necklaces we have in the shop.
Jennifer is responsible for the customer service side of the business, which entails emails, social media, collaborations, etcetera. She keeps all of the fabric, beads, and other supplies into making our sweet little honeys! Jennifer also coordinates and oversees the making of necklaces with our two assistants we have hired to help us keep up with the production of our necklaces.
Since our first jobs are being stay-at-home moms, our business does come second. We have to work around playing with our kids, school, laundry, and all the other errands that go with staying at home.
LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?
Jen + Mel: 1) Figure out and find your target audience. Until you know who you are selling to, you will be spinning your wheels!
2) Focus on branding. It was a turning point in our business when we finally figured out our brand; it took a few years of trial and error, but once we nailed it, our business took off!
3) Make a list of short-, mid- and long-term goals. Every time we are able to cross something off our list, it is a victory! It drives us to keep working and dreaming larger.
LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?
Jen + Mel: When we get overwhelmed, we usually take a break. Even if it is a few days off, being able to shut our minds off of the business almost always sparks new ideas and inspiration for us! When we take a step back, a flood of ideas just pours in. And the good thing about being a partnership is that when one of us needs a break, the other one steps in and takes over!
LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.
Jen + Mel: Hiring out has been the BEST decision we have ever made – ex. hiring a graphic designer, photographer, shipping assistants, seamstresses, and even a virtual assistant. There is no way we could do it all on our own. Scratch that; we can do it all on our own, but it wouldn’t be at the quality we want it to be! We could make our own logo…but is it going to look as good as a professional graphic designer? No!
By giving up control in a few areas, it opened us up to be able to look at the bigger picture. Our brains have a hard time shutting off when it comes to our business; it is a passion for us. But being able to delegate a few things help us to better our business and prevent burnout.
LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?
Jen + Mel: We pick different charities to donate to, but there are two that we just love. One is a local pregnancy center that helps out newly pregnant women during their pregnancies. We also love Midwives of Haiti, which trains women in Haiti who go around to different villages to give proper care to pregnant and postpartum women.
LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?
Jen + Mel: Our phones, Netflix and lots and lots of coffee! You might think we’re joking, but it is true. The majority of our business is conducted on our phones, which gives us mobility and flexibility. Netflix keeps us entertained as we sew, ship and hand-make the tags that go onto every order. And coffee…well, that is a no-brainer for any entrepreneur – especially one who is raising little kids at the same time!
LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?
Jen + Mel: Oh boy, this is would be mystery for us. Every so often, we say, “Wow…would you imagine us being where we are now a year ago?” We hope that we find ourselves still happy, inspired, and growing!
LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…
Jen + Mel: We constantly have worship music blaring on our Pandora music stations as we work. It brings a calming and inspiring atmosphere to our workspaces.
LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.
Jen + Mel: Chocolate! We keep little chocolates in dishes next to our desks; it fuels us.
LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?
Jen + Mel: “Good, better, best…never let it rest, until good turns to better, and better turns to best!” We are not sure who originally quoted this, but we grew up hearing our Pastor saying this all of the time, and it helps keep us always make our business the best it can be.
Thank you, Jen + Mel, for sharing your talent with us! We absolutely love what you’re doing and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for The Vintage Honey Shop. We’re cheering you on…
Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!