Today I have someone special I want to introduce to you! Readers, meet Caitlin Childs. Caitlin is the CEO and founder of All That It Seams, and runs her business with two major passions in mind: functional, fashionable accessories and shelter pets.
It’s not too often that these unrelated passions might go hand-in-hand, but Caitlin has managed to bridge that gap by donating a portion of every sale of her gorgeous accessories to no-kill animal shelters and organizations. So by purchasing one of her beautifully crafted pieces, not only are you supporting a female-owned small business, you are helping her achieve her mission to help fund the facilities that care for pets in need.
Caitlin began sewing when she was eight years old, sitting on her mother’s lap in front of a vintage Singer sewing machine – and has been hooked ever since! She began making her own shirts and purses, and when she grew bored of the same old patterns, she started to create her own. She worked as a seamstress, then a boutique manager, and in 2016 took the plunge and pursued her dream of starting her own business.
She was first inspired to launch an accessories business as she observed buying trends at the boutique she worked at. “I really studied our inventory and observed what was selling and what wasn’t. What I realized was, in the world of women’s accessories, there was either fashionable or functional. Rarely did those two categories meet. Since the functional pieces lacked a sense of fashion that separated them from the rest and the fashionable pieces were rarely suitable for everyday life, most customers wouldn’t buy either.” Recognizing that gap in the accessories market, Caitlin knew exactly the direction to take: “I knew that with my knowledge of creating patterns and my sewing skills to create those patterns, I could invent pieces that would be both fashionable and functional.”
Since launching, Caitlin says she has been blown away by the attention and support her business has received. In her first ten months of business, All That It Seams received two celebrity endorsements, collaborations with several animal shelters, and features in several news outlets. “Knowing that something I created from scratch could have such a large impact is an incredible feeling. My hope is that with enough hard work, this business will grow large enough to make a huge difference in our community.”
Caitlin counts herself lucky to have a strong support system of friends and family behind her, but particularly notes that her husband has been her biggest cheerleader from the very first moment: “When I told him that I wanted to quit my job right after finding out that we were pregnant with our first child so that I could build up my own accessories business, he didn’t even flinch. He has been my biggest supporter from the beginning and I wouldn’t be able to do it without him.”
Working from home, Caitlin is extremely careful to keep her work/life balance in the right order. “Growing up, my parents stressed the importance of working hard during the day, but dedicating all of your attention to your family when you came home. Since I have the privilege of working from home, I usually work as hard as I can until my husband gets home, and then I take a break to spend time with him. We like to be outside with our dogs, whether we are fishing in our pond or riding around our property. Taking the time to dedicate all of my focus on them seems to make me more productive when I do get back to work.” The hours that she does dedicate to work need to be extremely productive, so she has strong time management in place. “On Mondays, I will prepare patterns, answer emails, and work on marketing strategies. The rest of the week, I wake up early and sew sew sew until my husband gets home, only stopping for a lunch break.”
Caitlin is extremely excited to be part of a fast-growing community of female business owners. “This is definitely an incredible time to be a woman in business because so many new doors are being opened for us. It’s no longer a “man’s career.” For me, it’s exciting to explore this new territory and see just how far I can push myself in the business world.”
However, she confesses that life as a business owner is not all smooth sailing. “When you’re trying to grow a business from the ground up, I think there will always be obstacles to overcome. What sets you apart from other businesses that fail is how you deal with those challenges. For me, the largest struggle has just been learning about the business side of things. I always knew how to create these products, but I had to learn how to market them and get them in front of the right people so that I could make a living from it. I’m still learning everyday.” She also notes that one of the most important lessons she has learnt is not to try and please everyone. “The products that I have created with a “mass market” approach in mind don’t sell nearly as well as the products that were created with a specific type of person in mind. By learning exactly who my target market is and who I’m catering to, I’m able to make products specifically for them, which, in turn, creates a community of people who are excited about supporting my business”
The best advice she can offer fellow businesswomen who are keen to launch their own passion-based business is simple: Keep learning. “We’ve all heard the term “Knowledge is Power” but in this case, it couldn’t be any more relevant. No matter what you do, never stop learning. Never stop perfecting your skills and picking up new techniques. Don’t let your lack of knowledge stop you from doing what you love. You have the whole internet at your fingertips. If there’s something you want to know how to do in business, Google it. I’m serious. That kind of determination is what sets apart a business from a hobby.”
As for the future of All That It Seams, Caitlin has set her sights high: “I would love to one day be able to keep an animal shelter’s doors open for an entire month from a single donation from my business. Being able to benefit others and be a part of something larger than myself is not only what I want out of my business, but what I want for my personal life as well.”
Caitlin has very generously offered Her Happy Heart readers a 20% discount up until 1st November, 2017. Enter the code “herhappyheartreaders” at checkout and pick yourself up something unique and gorgeous!
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