Tamsun and Merriam are ‘mompreneurs’. The new moms wanted to encourage creativity in children… so they got creative themselves. They came up with the idea of filling paper boxes with various educational crafts – this helped simplify parent’s tasks because all they had to do was buy the box and helped children because it would keep them busy as they worked the left side of their brain. Equipped with their knowledge of how to run a business, after having built various other business already, they started the Paper Heart Club. Read our interview with Tamsun and Merriam below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
We have always been entrepreneurs at heart (Tamsun and Merriam). My partner Merriam was looking for something inspiring and meaningful to venture into after starting various small businesses with her husband. I started my own business in an entirely different field, more closely linked to my degree, before becoming a mother. After Merriam and I both became parents, we knew we wanted to do something that helped children and those that love them; preferably something that encouraged creativity. We know children are fragile and have fragile hearts. Merriam and her husband are foster parents and realized this truth first hand once they took in a couple of special kids. She used craft activities to maintain consistency and creativity during hard periods throughout the year and once Merriam saw the results, she knew she wanted to help other parents. She came to me with the idea and we both fell in love with the idea of making a craft box for kids that not only sparks their creativity but also makes it easy and convenient to provide consistency in their lives. For more information about Tamsun and Merriam click here. For more information on why we started our business click here.
Tell us about your business.
Paper Heart Club creates craft boxes for kids in the developmental age range of 3-9 years old. Each box contains 30 crafts with all tools, materials, and instructions required to complete each craft provided right in the box. So far we have one box released; the Delight box. It emphasizes watercolor paint but also contains gluing projects, threading, building and many other fine motor skills projects. We aim to release twelve boxes within our first 12 months. Our next box is set to release mid September. For more information on our business click here.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Our first few steps involved getting an idea we were excited about, planning some of the logistics of making that happen, and then figuring out a starting budget. We used Pinterest as a planning tool for our business details such as landing pages, potential suppliers, etc. We then started thinking of craft activities and what it would take to include everything for 30 unique crafts in one box.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
We are still a very young company, but so far the most effective way of raising awareness has been word of mouth and social media. Friends tell friends, family tell friends, and friends and family share posts on Facebook and tag others on Instagram. We will continue to use the social media platforms to reach people and eventually advertise to expand even further. Through social media we first directed people to our landing page and now to our website.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Our biggest challenges so far are finding our target market and focusing in on speaking directly to them. Putting your product out there is not enough. Finding your target market and getting information to them can be tricky sometimes and we are still working on honing in.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We are still working on overcoming our challenges but Instagram, our main social media platform, has made honing in on our target market more manageable. Busy parents fill so many different pockets within social media that sometimes it’s not finding the target market but limiting yourself that is most difficult. We are constantly networking, making connections, and adjusting to find not only busy parents but those that find benefit in bringing creativity and consistency together for their children.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
We stay motivated through difficult times by staying focused on why we started in the first place. We started to help parents bring their children an opportunity to have a creative outlet consistently in order to help both parents and children find a way to BREATHE. BOND. CREATE. without feeling overwhelmed by the process.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We distinguish ourselves from the originality and details put into each of our crafts to the quality and care we take to provide your child with something fun, interesting, creative and informational.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
The best advice we received recently was – get out there and start. So many times people have an idea, sometimes a great idea and they either dismiss it or plan it to death, never DOING anything. We took the leap and got out there and started.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Our best advice to other entrepreneurs is don’t let fear keep from trying. It is hard. It is taxing, exhausting, frustrating, scary and sometimes almost impossible. BUT don’t let those things keep you from putting action to your plan because although it’s all those other things, it’s also exciting, rewarding, educational and fulfilling. We know we may fail. That’s the beauty of trying; because when we succeed, we can take pride in the good and the bad because we made it regardless.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
My partner and I probably can answer this differently because we each handle different aspects of the business but personally I love our inventory site Craftybase.com. It makes things easy and accessible to those of us that were unfamiliar prior to starting a product based business.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
As newish parents and business owners it’s hard to get in time to read, especially as much as we would like. We do spend a lot of time listening to podcasts and exploring entrepreneur social media sites such as Brilliant Business Moms.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Our goals for the next few months include debuting a new box each month and working on some social media and marketing. We are currently planning and preparing our next box as well as putting aside funds and designing ads.
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