I had so much fun chatting with Stacy, owner of Poppy Lane and Co. Right from the start, it was apparent that she is a marketing maven and enlists the help of her husband (also in advertising), to build her strong brand. Stacy walks us through creating a marketing net, managing personal time on social media and how to focus on kindness vs. success. Enjoy!
Hello! I’m Stacy Thiot of Poppy Lane and Co. My husband is on Instagram as @willitbeard, we have a three-year- old girl, Adelaide, and a newborn son, Jackson. After Adelaide was born, we were gifted a baby bracelet that was painted plastic and broke after a few days. I didn’t feel comfortable with Adelaide wearing something that unsafe, but it was adorable. I started looking into high-quality bracelet materials and making my own mommy + me bracelets and after a few months started Poppy Lane & Co.
#pressplay below to watch our recorded Skype interview, and check out her answers below in written format as well as pictures of her wonderful business.
What did you do before Poppy Lane & Co?
Before I started Poppy Lane & Co. I was a professional photographer. I graduated from college and started taking pictures professionally; headshots, engagements, weddings, family photos and product photography. Adelaide went on 15+ flights with me in her first year for shoots and weddings and it was becoming more and more difficult to travel with her, leaving her during shoots, and staying up late editing constantly. I started distancing myself from photography and discovered how fun it was to make bracelets for my daughter. Then friends started asking me to make bracelets for them and their daughters. After a few months, I gathered the courage to start my own company and handmade shop and I’m so happy I did!
How did you decide to start your own business?
I officially started Poppy Lane & Co. November, 2014. I put a lot of time and effort into building my Instagram following because that was such a good resource for small shop owners; free advertising, lots of supportive people and mamas that love to shop! 2015 was a good first year for PLC. Slowly, the climate of Instagram started to shift and it really hurt shop owners like myself that depended on that social media circle. I eventually decided to focus more on other platforms and brick and mortar stores. Having loyal customers and friends is key for a small business and I’m so thankful for all the support I received. It’s humbling. I get emotional thinking of all the wonderful women (and men) that work so hard supporting their families with their small shops and amazing talents!
What’s your big picture WHY? What motivates you work hard and build your business? What is your ultimate lifestyle goal?
The big picture for me is fulfilling my dream of staying home with my children while also helping my family financially in any way I can. I’m so grateful for a husband that works so hard so I can be home with my littles while also have a creative outlet and small source of income for us. Eventually we will add more products besides bracelets to our shop and I’m excited for what the future holds. My husband and I love working on @willitbeard and being creative together and that’s what I see PLC being for us.
Where did you find your mentors, or resources to help learn about entrepreneurship and running a successful business?
My husband is so supportive and smart, and has helped me from day one. Having someone that is 100% behind you is incredibly important. I’ve also met some amazing ladies and fellow shop owners that constantly encourage and teach me. I’ve been in a lot of Facebook shop owners groups that are helpful and insightful and have researched on my own about businesses and marketing strategies.
When I think about any failures I have had as a business owner, it doesn’t pertain to my business per se, but personally. I think in the beginning I was so caught up creating the perfect Instagram feed, marketing and advertising non-stop, and amassing followers online that I wasn’t paying attention to those right in front of me. Social media is consuming. It can be a very good resource and place to create friendships, but can also ruin those relationships that mean most. I was constantly stressed and my husband and daughter noticed. I also noticed that I was on my phone way too much and my friends didn’t care to be around me while I was focusing on this little computer instead of them; which is totally understandable. It’s hard to write these things now. It made me realize at the time that I needed to take a step back and prioritize. I decided I needed to delegate instead of doing it all myself so that I could be a better wife, mother, and friend. I think my strengths are definitely the marketing and advertising aspects of my business and that’s why it was so hard letting go and slowing down. But I’m happier because of it!
Do you currently have 1099s or employees? Or are you a onewoman show? If you have help, what advice do you have to give about scaling your business and outsourcing responsibilities through hiring to help grow? Do you have any advice on when to start scaling the business and hiring employees, bookkeeping… etc.
I currently do it all myself, with the help of friends and family during the busy times. During the holidays last year, I probably should have hired a few people because I was incredibly stressed. My advice to fellow shop owners is to know your strengths and weaknesses and know when to delegate when possible.
How many hours per week do you work? How do you balance family life with work?
Every week is a different amount of work. My favorite part of owning my own business is just that; when I have time and want to be busy, I can work a little more on my shop and receive more orders, if not, I maintain. Especially after having a newborn, I have really loved being able to work when I want to and as much as I want. I have orders coming in everyday, but I don’t feel the need to release new products constantly, work on collabs, or have sales. When I want to, I can. I try my hardest to work after I put my kids to bed. I like to be fully involved with them when they are awake and make sure they know they are my priority.
I’m Like Brave is about creating an uncommon life. What does an “uncommon life” you love look like for you? How does your business help create this ideal lifestyle?
My uncommon life is wearing multiple hats; I’m a wife, mother, friend, business owner, marketing and advertising enthusiastic, and creator. And the best part is being able to do all these things at once, and more if I want to. That is uncommon. I am so happy when I’m learning new things and developing as a person and am grateful that my life allows me to do that. I’m excited for what the future holds for me and my family and our business.
What has been the most exciting thing to happen to your business so far?
We are currently working on a new product that I’m so excited to add to Poppy Lane & Co. But I think my favorite and most exciting experiences have been working with bloggers and other shop owners. Being in a community that is supportive and not negatively competitive. I’m excited when I get to help others and when those I look up to help me.
What is your ultimate vision for your business in the coming year? Where do you see Alice and Ames in 5 years?
I’m excited to continue with Poppy Lane in the handmade world. Seeing little mommy + me sets makes my heart so happy. Being a part of those special moments brings me so much joy; births, blessings, birthday parties, photo shoots, and the everyday moments. In five years, we plan on working with a manufacturer on new and different items besides bracelets, and that’s super exciting.
What’s holding you back from where you are now and your end game?
Time. I 100% think and believe time is holding me back. I feel like I don’t have enough time to do the research I want, meet with the companies I need to, shop for supplies, photograph product, work on my website, make and send bracelets and develop new products. I’m constantly thinking of new ideas and finding the time to work on it all is incredibly hard. I sometimes wish I had an assistant or a second me. Time management is a constant struggle and holds me back.
What is it that you need help with right now, and if you could get free advice that would solve your problem right now, what would it be?
Finding a manufacturer that is honest, values my thoughts and opinions, and is high quality is a struggle for me. I have been working on a new item for almost a year now and finding the resources to make my dreams come to life is really stressful and hard. I would love someone who knows the ins and outs of manufacturing to help without stealing or copying my ideas. I feel like there are many of us who have these amazing concepts, but seeing them come to life is difficult and somewhat defeating. I’d like to change that.
If you could sit down with any entrepreneur for a 2 hour lunch and pick their brain, who would it be and why? What would you ask them?
Katie Richardson from Puj or Elle Rowley from Solly Baby. These ladies are incredibly talented, creative and dedicated to their businesses and family, and that’s admirable. I would ask them what decisions they made in the beginning that positively impacted their business the most. Also, how they found the manufacturers they work with and trust and what they would do differently if they could.
What advice would you give your “just starting a business” self knowing everything you know now?
Be more organized. I would be more organized about my finances, my product and supplies, my releases, the money and time I put into advertising and developing a really solid website. Organization can make or break your business. And be patient. Growth and opportunities take time. Be patient with yourself and your shop.
Jamie Tardy, podcaster at “The Eventual Millionaire” says millionaires share 2 habits: they all journal and they all have a morning ritual. What does your morning ritual ideally look like?
I’m not a morning person. My husband and I joke that I take the night shift and he takes the mornings because he sleeps like a baby and never hears anything at night and I seem to have this adrenaline from 12-5am in case of any kind of emergency. But once 6am hits, I’m out. I try to focus on my family when I wake up. My husband is in advertising and works crazy hours, so the mornings we have together. That’s the slow time of the day that I love.
If you could do anything in the world, with no possibility of failure, what would it be?
I would grow my business into what I want it to be. I’d love love love to work side-by- side with Pierce and employ both of us so that he could be a stay at home dad as well.
I haven’t read an adult book in a really long time, probably since Adelaide was born. Ask me about sleep schedules and potty training and I can give you a few recommendations.
What’s your favorite success quote and why?
“Just as important as what you are doing, is who you are” because in the end, it’s our character and the type of person we are that matters most. Our temporal, business, financial successes are largely dependent on the kind of person we are and strive to be. I fully believe if we are good people or try to be, that good things will come our way.
Closing thoughts to other entrepreneurs or those on the verge of starting a business:
Be unique. Don’t try to do what someone else does, don’t worry about what others are doing or thinking, just be you. Be kind. Kindness goes a long way, especially in the business world where we all need help at some point. Be positive. I see makers too often being hard on themselves, but especially on others. Try to uplift others instead of bringing down and spread your positivity.