Here at The Styled Child, we love featuring small businesses, especially run by moms! I have featured business in the past on the blog but wanted to feature more MOM created/run businesses as I know how difficult it is to raise a family and run a business. Our first feature is one of my favourite Canadian companies, MY MILA! Here is my interview with the founder, Tennille.
Tell us about yourself and your shop. What do you sell?
I am a stay at home mom to 2 boys. Damian is almost 8 and Xavier is 3. I design, and create baby apparel.
What was your situation before you started this business? Were you always a business owner, or did you have a more traditional career?
I worked in the financial industry straight out of college. I was tired of the long hours away from my family so I changed things up a bit and went to school for massage therapy. I worked as a RMT for about a year before I had my youngest boy. Then I started to sew and never looked back!
How do you keep everything organized? Do you have a workspace?
What’s organized? Lol I am the least organized person EVER! But I try. My hubby just built me the most gorgeous studio. I’m still trying to put it together.
What has been the most difficult aspect of being a Mommy with a Small Business?
Trying to find time to do it all! Finding the balance to make it work, business and being a good mom is difficult.
Who are your customers, and how do you serve them? Was there a pressing problem you were trying to solve with your product?
My customers are mothers, fathers, aunties, uncles, grandparents, friends…anyone who wants to dress a baby/toddler is stylish clothes and accessories. I always have had an issue with my fabric. It fades way to fast and I am always on the hunt for new fabric.
What resources or tools did you find most helpful when you were getting started?
Any and all social media! I wasn’t sure that my local mamas would like what I was putting out there, and felt like I had to reach out to more European and Australian followers…I’m learning this isn’t the case and there is definitely a local market for my clothes. Social media helped me figure this out too;)
What were your biggest mistakes, or biggest wastes of time or money?
My biggest mistake has been taking too much on by myself. I don’t think I would have been able to do this without the help of my husband. He has been my biggest supporter. Buying in bulk and ahead of time is something I have learned to do and wish I had figured this out at the beginning…I’ve wasted a ton of money rushing fabric to meet deadlines.
What kinds of content do you create to help you market your business?
I really just try to produce a good quality photo. Sharing customer feedback photos is a great way to show people how things look in real life.
How do you use social networking in your business (or how does your business benefit from social networking sites)?
My go to is Instagram. I use it throughout the day to showcase my brand. I struggle with twitter and facebook but am working on creating a social media calendar to manage it all. I feel like social media is the only way I can really connect with my customers, and let them in on who’s behind the brand. I share way too much personal stuff with people, but I feel like it adds to the home business aspect.
What does your business look like today?
Monochrome is where it’s at right now, and I’ve added another pop of colour! Mint and mustard are the only 2 colours I’m using right now and love it. I’ve added a comfy vibe to my clothes and can tell people really love it.
What’s next for you? What are your next goals?
I’m growing and I’m so excited! I’ve started to get help from a local manufacturer and seamstress. I hope this helps turn around time. I also hope to work with an artist to add a fun element to my fall line.
What advice would you give to mothers trying to start their own businesses?
Create because you love to. I recently told a friend, this isn’t about the money for me, and it felt so damn good! People will want your product if they can feel that you truly love what you are putting out there. I love sewing and would continue doing so even if people didn’t buy from me.
Thank you Tennille for sharing!
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And support a Mom Run Business!