Kristi and I are very excited to launch our Taking Flight series by introducing Jenny & Skip, owners of a gorgeous store called Ugly Glass & Company located in Independence Missouri. This series will focus on the entrepreneurial journey of several small business owners. If you are thinking about starting your own “handmade” business or own a small business we invite you to become an active participant in this blog series.
That is Jenny (below), we are pretty sure she was excited because we’d just dropped off (check the counter below her) a brand new batch of Hang Ups in KC creations. Or maybe she was just happy to see us?
Q. How long have you been in business?
A. Skip and I started creating jewelry in 2002 and opened our store front in 2012. We created our store front as way to showcase our work and the works of other creative souls from the USA. Currently we have over 70 artists and fine crafters on 2 floors from all over the USA, a lot from the Kansas City metro area. We are much like an eclectic gift show!
Q. What made you want to start your own business?
A. I found a love of beads while creating stretchy bracelets with my friend Amie for Family Literacy Centers; “Bracelets for Literacy”. It was a fundraising project. After that I was addicted and started making for others. Amie got me started on doing craft shows too…so it is all Amie’s fault I guess!!!! I think opening our store front came from a need to have a year round selling venue, instead lugging our things from craft show to craft show on the weekends. We wanted to give that opportunity to other artists and crafters too.
Q. What is a mistake that you’ve made that you would like to share to help others avoid it?
A. Save lots of money! We had been looking off and on for an amazing store front for 5 or 6 years, but had not saved a penny. So everything we had on hand when the “right” space became available went into the space and it was used very quickly! I suggest having enough saved up at home too. If you are quitting your day job to start your business, you need bill money for a couple of years, because it might take that long or longer before you are making a profit on your business.
Q. What is the best thing you’ve ever done for your business?
A. I started it…I dove in and started it. I am shy so it took a lot to put myself out there and just do it. If I let my shyness run my life, I would not have started my business nor opened a store front.
Q. Advice for anyone thinking of starting their own business.
A. Network…networking is hard for a shy person. But don’t be shy about sharing with the world that you have a business. Always have business cards on hand to give to someone as you are telling them about your amazing business! Create that Facebook page too! I cannot believe how many come into the shop because they found us on Facebook! Social media is very important now.
Q. What is your favorite business book or blog? If you don’t have one – what inspires you?
A. I don’t read – I like pictures!!! Many times we are creating what we have been challenged to create. If a customer says “hey can you make a starfish?” we shrug and say “we can give it a go.” Sometimes it is amazing and sometimes it is just plain ugly. We wake up thinking about color combinations and designs. Our materials inspire us as well. We have huge amounts of beads and glass. We just start pulling things out and putting things together, sometimes it is everything we dreamed of, others aren’t. Ya win some and ya lose some!
You can visit Ugly Glass & Company at 206 N Liberty St, Independence, MO. They are located right on the square in the heart of historic Independence, Missouri. If you visit Wednesdays between 11am-4pm you can see Skip going live glass demonstrations. You can find Ugly Glass & Company online at www.uglyglass.com or on their facebook page at www.facebook.com/UglyGlassCo.
If you have any questions for Jenny & Skip or for us you can comment on this blog post and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Thank you Jenny & Skip for sharing your story with us!