If you’ve been following me since the beginning of my website, you know that I do my best to highlight and showcase other small businesses in the area.
I decided to start a Business Highlight series featuring local small business owners in the area. Small businesses have been hit hard and as a small business owner myself, I know how helpful it is when platforms share more info about my business and what we are offering. Advertisements are expensive – trust me, I’ve done it before – so I hope that my series helps these small businesses and encourage you to shop with them!
I’m incredibly excited to share today’s feature of Andrea Maiolano of Love, Amarie. Keep reading to read my interview with her!
Andrea: I have been an artist for all of my life and have my first degree in Graphic Design. I always had an eye for colors, patterns, and had a love for fabrics. I started purchasing fabrics in 2005 and soon decided I wanted to make purses from them. My mom taught me how to sew from scratch and we made all of our own patterns. I used the creative as a creative outlet from my Graphic Design job, which sounds silly, but I hated my first job out of college and also didn’t feel like I had any creative freedom. I really just wanted to use my artistic skills to create fun and wearable items for people!
Andrea: Obstacles come all the time! Owning a business consists of a lot of trial and error and learning by the seat of your pants! I think a few obstacles for me were rebranding my business and making a website and learning how to shift to make my company more legit. Learning different systems in order to streamline parts of my business like bookkeeping, etc. Another would be that I also work as an RN, so balancing working with business can sometimes be challenging. I really try to compartmentalize and let my clients know that I may not be available certain days/times but will be happy to respond as soon as possible.
Andrea: During COVID, since wedding season was pretty much postponed, I decided to shift my offerings a bit. It was difficult, because before COVID hit, inquiries were steadily coming in and all wedding-related clutch orders were going swimmingly. I feel like I had great momentum and then suddenly come March, everything jolted to a halt.
After taking in the impact of our new lifestyle, making hundreds of masks (with the help of my mom and Marlie Renee Designs) it was time to try to pick back up in the Love, Amarie realm again. I wound up putting wedding clutches on pause and really started showcasing more gifts and products. My customers shifted from wedding planning brides to quarantined people wanting to send gifts to loved ones. My hand painted bottles were definitely the stars of my shop during quarantine for me – people loved giving them for birthdays!
What advice or insight can you share with readers that are interested in starting a business or are small business owners?
Andrea: Love your customers well, they always comes first. But also, have boundaries in place. Know your limits, what you are here to do and what you don’t want to. Know your schedule and time constraints. If you don’t manage your sacred time, your business can (and will!) run you. This is easier said than done, because sometimes the lines can get blurry, so I really try (and I always have to remind myself) to step away and take breaks and time off when appropriate!
What steps or measures are you currently putting in place to ensure safety for your customers or clients?
Andrea: Right now, I am conducting all of my business online. I am doing telephone calls, if my client would like one. If meeting up to get a wedding gown from a local bride, we keep apart and wear masks. Otherwise, I am also offering free contactless pick up from my breezeway!
Andrea: I am so passionate about creating and always have a bunch of new ideas pop into my head every day! I love the ability to make different creations and have them be loved by others as well.