28 October 2013

Savvy Entrepreneur Interview: Erin Souder, House of Earnest, Grandiflora // #31Days

Today's Savvy Entrepreneur is Erin Souder of Grandiflora, a soon-to-be-launched Home + Decor line. Erin's blog is House of Earnest , which I've followed since last spring; she's one gifted lady, and her new line is sure to be as stylish as she is.

I am the owner and designer of a home decor and entertaining accessories line, Grandiflora - which launches officially in November. Grandiflora showcases 4 yearly capsule collections, each collection with a common theme or color story that runs throughout the pieces. This holiday, the line includes a lot of black, cream, gold, and warm wood tones. It's going to be gorgeous!

Yes, It was when I realized that I didn't want to be a full time blogger. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE blogging, but I wanted something tangible to create and to make others lives a little more beautiful. I sat on the plane on the way home from Alt and just started brainstorming. What was it that I loved about blogging and what was it that I loved about my day job (as a product developer for an apparel brand). I worked it down to a very simple desire: I love to create. That's it. At the very center of what I do everyday is that I create something that was once just an idea and I mold it into reality. The idea of forming my own home decor company based off this one realization was daunting to say the least, but my husband and a few very encouraging friends believed in me and that encouraged me to take the leap.

First is to channel those classes you used to have in high school or college and build a business plan with a mission statement. Its so easy to get lost in a sea of decisions and reading that pared down specific goal will keep you on track.

Second, hire the right people. I mean a lawyer, an accountant, and (for me) a graphic designer. Having other professional experts is really important to stay on top of issues and to also get another eye on things. If something isn't' your expertise, you'll end up worrying and second guessing it which leads nowhere fast.

Third, Jump in with two feet. I think a lot of endeavors fail because people are tiptoeing into it. Get your plan together and do it 100% 

I think a lot of people don't delegate the right things. I'm all about branding and having a very strong and recognizable brand image. You know I love DIY, but a home-done logo and business cards makes my skin crawl, and you can always spot them. Unless you are a graphic designer, hire one.

oh man, that's hard! I'm currently working on a big project with West Elm which was a total dream goal of mine. The project (official details to come soon) mixes a DIY element with a styling element and gets to play around with their new Christmas line. It incorporates all of my favorite things - DIY, Product, and Styling.

Creating relationships and networking is huge. This project didn't come along over night, I had one small interaction which turned into something bigger which culminated in my sending a really scary pitch (and it being accepted). At the end of the day, I try to always respond to email, never close a door completely, and take risks. 

I don't know that I have one yet, but at this point I'm researching the competition. I've been doing so much research, I know what every other ecomm shop in my demographic has, what prices they're selling at and how quickly they're moving through inventory. I want to set myself apart when it comes to product, but ensure that I'm in line with the price points and marketing exposure of those in my demographic.

Firstly, One MUST have a passion for their idea. It cannot be a fleeting 'like'. I've been working as a product developer for 8 years for other companies and still absolutely love it. I knew that I wasn't going to fall out of love with the day to day job function and I knew that I had a real drive and passion to make this my career.

Success is so subjective, but for me I want to achieve build an internationally recognizable brand selling beautifully designed, unique product which allows me to live a comfortable life working alongside my husband. I believe the formula for this is about 1 part having a relevant and unique product and 5 parts really hard work.

Y'all - So great, right?!  Now go to the Grandiflora launch site and stick your email address in that little email box so you know when they launch.  You don't want to miss what's coming! What she is doing is awesome. Now go support her!

Erin - thanks so much for sharing with us today! Can't wait to see your beautiful creations come to life!

This post is part of a series called Savvy Business Secrets for Creative Entrepreneurs. You can read other posts in the series right here, or make a selection based on topic:

Day 1: Why It Matters
Day 2: Business Basics You May Have Forgotten
Day 3: Get Control of your Day
Day 4: Do Looks Really Matter?
Day 5: Find Your People
Day 6: Resources You Should be Using
Day 7: Ask for Help
Day 8: What are you Afraid of?
Day 9: Margin
Day 10: Change Your Surroundings
Day 11: Get (really) Good Before You Go Wide
Day 12: Take your Birthday Off
Day 13: Done is Better than Perfect
Day 14: Learn to Clean Up Messes Gracefully
Day 15: Outsource your Weakness by Trading your Talent
Day 16: Invest in Yourself
Day 17: Allison Lehman of The Wonderjam Savvy Entrepreneur Interview
Day 18: Make it Happen
Day 19: Rebecca Smith of Better Life Bags Savvy Entrepreneur Interview
Day 20: Ask the Pretty Girl to Prom (aka Fall in Love with Rejection)
Day 21: Not a Grey Suit Kind of Gal
Day 22: Erin Souder of Grandiflora Savvy Entrepreneur Interview

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