A few days ago I asked what career (or life in general) questions you had for me. You sent it a few which I am finally able to answer. I'll get right to it, but if you have more questions the easiest way to ask them is by emailing me or sending me a DM on instagram.
How did you make the transition from Architecture to this?
Do you go through seasons that are way busier than others or is it pretty steady all year long?
There are definitely season that way are busier than others, like Mother's Day and Christmas. But as far as orders go each month is pretty steady. On a specific occasion where we have received an unexpected press, we do see an unusual spike. Always a good surprise!
How do you deal with having your own business and be able to have a retirement fund (which usually a big company would offer you)?
A few years ago I was advised to open a Roth IRA account for myself. I contribute to it yearly. It's only 5.5K a year but still better than nothing. Since LPS is not a big company, I can't have a 401K account but we max out contribution to my husband's account.
Do you ever think about the future and at some point getting a real office job (when you get older and have no more patience for such a detailed work)?
I used to think I should get back to my old career job in architecture once both my boys go to school full time...which is now. But then I realized I am happy and feel fulfilled in running my company. I feel when you have a mission and strongly believe in it, you don't see yourself doing it for a short amount of time...but for as long as you continue to feel you have something to offer to those around you. I feel I have so much more to give. That is what gets me excited in the morning. When the time comes and I have lost interest in doing this, then I am sure I will be moving into doing something else...but until that time comes I don't have to think about it much.
I also think running your own business is not a small task. It keeps you on your toes all day long. I love that! An office job would be boring to me (I think) in that will force me to fulfill a certain role and work on a given task all the time. I always thought if I were to go back I would go back as a consultant, not a full time employee.
How do you deal with challenges? I assume there are many of them when you run your own business...
I've been blessed to have had mostly good experiences these past 10 years of running my business. Every once in a while I would have to deal with a challenge. I have grown and learned from them and I'm happy to report I have a different perspective on things now. I've learned to run my business (and life) from a place of empathy. Knowing every human being deserve love and respect is something I don't just expect to be given to me but I do everything I can to also give others.
How are you able to balance running your business and being a mom, wife? What works for you? I feel I can never get this balance thing right!
I don't have a formula of success! I try my best. Some days I fail at all of it and others I do better. The key is to not beat yourself up constantly looking for the perfect balance...because it does not exist. I would call it a harmony:)
My family comes first, business second. I built this business to work around my family. I don't forget that. There are days the business needs my undivided attention. That's where a understanding spouse comes in:) We've had our fair share of trial and errors on this but doing it for a decade now...I think we have it semi-figured out!
How do you decide which company to partner with? How do these partnerships come about?
Over the years we've partnered with a few companies and it has been great to be able to do that. Most of these partnerships have been initiated by the other company. A few years ago we partnered with Target - a few of our pieces were sold at a few select Target stores in Chicago. We have a few other partnerships happening this year which we can't be more excited about.
When agreeing on partnering with other companies we always make sure our collaboration is in line with our brand and what we stand for. We have had to say NO to a lot of collaborations we didn't feel were a good fit for us.
I've been following you for a while and I remember a while back you mentioned your work had been copied so boldly! How do you deal with something like that and competition in general?
It's never easy seeing your work copied. And when I say copied, I don't mean by another company doing silhouettes - because there are many of them. I mean someone (or a company) who has decided to copy our designs, copy, story word for word. It's devastating! There is no other way to put it! And it used to bother me soo much. It still does at some extent but I chose not to let it get me down.
Operating online opens you up to some risk. On the other hand, let's face it copycats are flattering - it means you're doing something well for someone to want to do the same. What helps me is knowing that no matter the situation, the person copying me will never copy my esthetics, my brand message...because they don't have my voice, my way of thinking, my way of sharing our story and what my brand stands for with the world. They will always be many steps behind me and unlike them (who can't think past copying someone) I choose to move on and focus my attention on the next thing.
Recently I heard a very wise teacher say "Competition is a good thing because it creates a category in the market!" So I look at it that way...Also, fun fact - every time my work is copied, I get more customers, more sales...not sure if it's the universe trying to make things right or what. What I am trying to say is that my business has never suffered from another company stealing customers/sales from us. The opposite has happened!
How do you stay so motivated? It seems like you're always coming up with something new and amazing...
I am motivated by nature. I strive on coming up with a list of goals and setting up strategies to reach those goals. I also don't modify my business vision too frequently. I think many new businesses suffer from constantly shifting their focus to pursue the next new trend - and as a result they never make real progress in their end vision.
Well there you have it! I hope these answers were useful. If you own your own business, you may find these business related posts I did throughout the years. A lot of them are still relevant.