Welcome to the Vendor of the Week post, where we honor some particularly outstanding vendors from our events! This week’s vendor of choice is Grace Graffiti, a 3-woman wonder team of crafty best friends who started a business making “small details for big events”. They joined us at The 7th Atlanta NotWedding, where we got a first-hand look at their knack for turning a little wood into a lot of good. They put up a blog post showcasing their presence at The NotWedding, so check that out and you’ll see what I mean about the wood. If you’re a small business owner, read on to absorb some fabulous lessons these women have learned on their journey. If you’re anyone else, read on until you get to their Etsy link, then go crazy.
Describe a highlight or pivotal moment in your career.
Whitney: For several years, we worked out of all three of our homes. It was challenging, but doable. However, in the Spring of 2012, the three of us (as well as all of our children and a bear-sized dog!) were at my house trying to complete a massive amount of orders. We set up work stations in my kitchen, sitting room, front yard, back yard and back porch. Chaos. It was time to move. That week we took the biggest risk to date and rented a space in downtown Brunswick. To confirm our decision was the right one, we had a client in Hawaii order 3 sets of the entire alphabet the next week. Talk about perfect timing!
Morning Light by Michelle Landreau | Love Like Weddings
What is one lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
Kelly: We really do learn something new every day about running a business! One of the hardest lessons we have learned is to ask (and get the correct answers to) the hard questions up front. What kind of business do we need to be set up as? How do we need to track our expenses? When do we pay ourselves? What do all of those tax codes mean and when do we need to pay them? The list goes on indefinitely. We would highly recommend surrounding yourselves with experts in these areas right off the bat!
Is there an app or computer program that you couldn’t live without?
GG: We use Outright, an online program, to do our accounting. It has absolutely made our lives so much easier! We went from doing all of our accounting on Excel spreadsheets to having it all pulled into one place. Talk about a dream come true! We are all about streamlining where we can.
What are some habits you’ve formed that help you stay afloat (financially, mentally, emotionally) as a small business owner?
Suzanne: “Balance” is always my goal – daily, weekly, overall. Does it always happen? Rarely. But when it does, it’s pure bliss! The girls and I work together to make sure our production process is not only the best for our business, but is best for us personally too. We have to tweak it periodically as our family situations and schedules change. We have nine children among us (and of course our 3 handsome husbands!), so family must come first. We don’t clock out at five everyday as our business is mostly online, so it can be very consuming at all hours of the day. Each of us has had to set boundaries of “shutting down” to focus on cooking dinner, helping with homework, or SLEEPING (!!) because the business aspect could certainly happen 24/7 if we let it! We’re also all runners so pounding the pavement gives us a much-needed mental boost each day.
List three good decisions you’ve made in your business:
GG: Having a partnership of three friends.
1. Kelly – the “brains” of gg
2. Suzanne – the “voice” of gg
3. Whitney – the “hands” of gg
We were warned by many a professional that partnerships among friends can be disastrous, but we knew the gifts and talents each of us brought to the table would only serve to compliment each other. We naturally fell into our individual roles within our business, yet we overlap in all areas. We have had some honest and tough moments with each other as professionals and friends, but in the end, we all agree that each of us is worth fighting for. And so we do.
Second image by Love Like Weddings
What has been your favorite part of The NotWedding experience?
GG: We were new to The NotWedding and unsure of how it would all come together in one day. But when The NotWedding hand picks such top notch vendors, they are unstoppable. We loved being a part of the set up all day at Callanwolde in Atlanta and seeing everything come to life. We cannot wait to participate in the next one!