UPDATE: Unfortunately, Everyday Grace has closed their doors as of June 2014.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a proudly Canadian stationery designer and small business branding expert who loves to embrace colour and beauty in the everyday. I live my life with the goal to do everything with style and grace! With nearly 20 years of small business ownership experience and design expertise, I’ve been told I am the very definition of a tenacious entrepreneur. My first business, a babysitters’ club at age 13, helped me form the determination and drive to be where I am today, spending my life doing something that I love.
When did you start up Everyday Grace?
Everyday Grace (formerly Grace Announcements) was founded in 2005 after the birth of my son. As a new mom, I wanted to send out a birth announcement that was special, something my friends and family would love as much as I did, but the options were limited. So I set out to create a one of a kind birth announcement to celebrate the birth of my first baby, everyone loved my designs and kept coming to me to create something for their special moment. That announcement turned into a business and the rest they say is history!
What is the design that you are most proud of?
Oh this is a hard question as I love so many of my designs! Having to pick just one from all of the different categories is super hard. I think the easiest is to narrow down to my favourite boy and girl birth announcement. For the girl it would be the Ella Claire design as she shares the same name as my daughter! For the boy it is one of my most popular designs, the Kole Dezan design.
Tell us about your family.
I have been married to my high school sweetheart for almost 14 years. I am a proud mom to my two wonderful children and the reason that I started my business, my son who is 9 years old and my daughter is 6.5. They are my world and the reason why I do what I do, I want to be there for them as they grow up, and also teach them that it is possible to follow your dreams and do something that you love. I am so thankful that my husband is a huge supporter of me and my business, and my kids who love to help me assemble boxes and package orders in the studio.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a Mom?
Balancing my family and my business. For a couple years when the business was going through a large growth I struggled to do it all. I often felt as though one was always being ignored. When my daughter was 3 and my son was 5.5, I ended up putting them both in Montessori school full time so I could focus on working during the day and them in the evenings and on weekends. There are times that I wish I had spent more time with them when they were younger, but this was the best thing for all of us.
What is the biggest challenge you face as an entrepreneur?
Getting the word out. I find the hardest challenge is to create awareness about what I do. I can’t compete with the marketing and advertising programs of the large corporate companies. I focus on staying true to my roots of providing custom one of a kind designs, tailored perfectly to what my customers envision, with top notch customer service.
What is the most exciting thing that has happened since starting up Everyday Grace?
There have been two things. Steven & Chris featured my website and wall art prints on their show and Tori and Dean used the placemats that I sent for Stella’s 1st birthday on one of their episodes when they were setting the table for a family dinner. I still remember when a good friend called me early one morning to tell me she saw them.
What is your best piece of advice for Moms who are starting up their own business?
Get some help from family or friends for a couple of hours a week/day in the beginning to allow you to focus on the business. Try to find another mom who is starting a business and you can swap child care with each other. Having those dedicated hours will help you balance the challenges of starting a business and raising a family at the same time, it will also remove some of the guilt of spending so much time on the business. Doing both at the same time is very hard, trust me I did it for the first 6 years!
With love and care,