Interview: Sandy Schmidt of You are Special Patterns and the Olde Country Cupboard
Note: It is with profound sadness that we report, Sandy Schmidt passed away on Sept 5, 2013.
Sandy Schmidt of Starke, Florida, cancer survivor and mother of one, shares her experiences owning two businesses simultaneously.
MG: What is the name of your business?
MG: Where do you sell your products?
SS: I sell my products on line via facebook and my blog, plu in CountrySampler magazine and craft shows.
MG: How can our readers find your products?
MG: How has new technology affected your personal life/business? What technology tools do you use?
SS: I use the internet exclusively. Since I joined facebook , I would say half of my business comes from it. I started a wholesale site on facebook and it has surpassed my wildest expectation.
MG: Where do you find inspiration for your products?
SS: I love dolls and Christmas, most of my ideas come late at night , just before bed. I love Raggedy Dolls, most of which I have on my You are Special site. Christmas items are on the Olde Country cupboard site.
MG: Define your style?
SS: I would define my style as country/primitive. I don’t do the extreme prim, love it but don’t use it in my patterns. I find that in my area, the more cutesy country sells better.
MG: How many kids? Age/Gender?
SS: I have one Daughter Samantha Flanders who recently started her own craft business SouthernBelle Scentz. She has always helped with shows, but has taken over the tart and some of the sewing for me.
MG: Tell me about your typical day.
SS: I stay up late usually go to bed around 3:00 am. Get up about 10:00, do pattern orders, start on sewing orders in middle of afternoon, take a break for fixing dinner and catching up on emails and such. then usually start back to sewing after dinner, not unusual for me to sew 10-12 hours a day especially closer to show time, it is more like 14 hours a day.
MG: How do you juggle work and family?
family life, It is just me and husband at home, daughter is married and lives down the street. It is easy to craft, hubby works shift work, and is usually working 12 hours shifts in the daytime or night shift, then sleep after night shift, So I have a lot of time to myself. When I want, easy to take time off and be on my own schedule.
MG: Three tips you would like to give to moms who are thinking about starting their own business?
- Start out slow, don’t take on more than you can handle especially with small children. My daughter rarely took naps, so it was extremely hard to sew and craft when she was little, I was a stay at home mom and really didn’t start my pattern business till she was in kindergarten.
- Go to shows and see if you product sells, if not, be willing to adapt your product for the market.
- Have a good support system in your spouse, make sure he is behind you 100 percent, because of the time involved. Hubby used to entertain my daughter when I got stressed with orders, he would always take over once he got home and told me to get my orders and stock done, he has always been behind all the way.
MG: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
SS: I was diagnosed with lymphoma stage 4 cancer 2 years ago. been through chemo, now in remission. So hoping to take my business to next step through wholesaling and going to a big wholesale show next year. I advertise in Country Sampler, but want to make my business grow, for my daughter to take over one day.
MG: What else would you like to add?
SS: I guess what else I would to say, it is a very competitive business and be prepared for a lot of hard work. Nothing is more satisfying to me, than to hear, someone tell me they love my dolls. I love being at a show and looking up and seeing aline of customers willing to stand in line to buy my products. It fullfills me in a way, that is hard to understand, crafting takes my mind off my illness and keeps me sane. I want to leave a name for myself, that people will be recognize long after I am gone from this world.