Tonight’s Balancing Act features Huey of the NottyPooch duet!? Not only does she & her boyfriend make incredibly cool recycled wallets and laptop covers (and the famous “muffin shirt”), but they are already halfway to full-time status.
1. Tell a little about your business — what do you make/ sell, how long have you been in business, and what do you love most about it?
I work with my boyfriend, Wah. We recycle used billboard banners into one-of-a-kind accessories like iPhone cases, laptop sleeves, wallets, bags, and totes. We also design and silkscreen our own t-shirts (although not so much lately, since we are too busy sewing…). We’ve been doing this on and off for about 1-2 years now. We love the fact that each and every one of our item is unique – just like our tagline: The Reason to be Unique. :)
2. How does it differ from your day job (creativity, skill, autonomy)?
In my day job I am the designer and I control the image and communication part of a local company – but still, I need to abide to the image of the company and you know, get approvals on many things, of course. I think the most important part that I love about our business is that we get to be our own boss. We get to control the pace, we don’t have to answer to anyone on our decision. And of course, I get to make all the cool stuffs with my own hands, not with a computer. :)
3. What has been the most challenging part of juggling a business, day job,, and family? How have you gotten through the difficult parts?
I haven’t gotten through the difficult parts, honestly. Very often I find myself working from 9AM until 1AM, with perhaps 1-2 hour total of break time in between. As most of our customers are from the U.S, and we are in Asia, I have to promote when I should be sleeping. I am lucky to have very supportive family members and boyfriend, who have helped me taken care of some aspects in daily life.
4. Identity is often closely linked to what we do professionally. How do you identify yourself, and does it relate more to your business/ artisan side, or your day job?
Both. Like I introduce myself depending on who I’m meeting. If I meet a supplier or customer at my day job, I identify myself as the Image Consultant of the company I work with. If I meet a friend, I introduce myself as an independent artist.
5. Give one organizational or business tip (or product) that has been invaluable.
I have personally received a tip that I appreciate a lot on Etsy’s forum, from a buyer who turned into our customer. He made me rethink about tagging and item description. Tagging is so important not only on Etsy, it’s everywhere on the internet world!
6. Some people use a side business as a way to slowly change gears from employee to business owner. In the future, do you ever see yourself transitioning to full-time entrepreneur? If so, what would ultimately help you ultimately make that leap? If not, what benefits do you enjoy with your current situation?
Yes. After my boyfriend resigning and working full time on our business, my plan is to resign by early next year – in fact, I’ve mentioned to my employer about my plan! I’ve never really been an office-kinda people, and this is my first full time job. Not that I don’t love this job, it’s just that I love my own business better. :)
7. Any additional words of wisdom you?d like to share?
Well, perhaps not much that I can share except to promote, promote, and promote. The internet world is moving really fast. I’m still learning to promote our business better and hopefully will meet our own target before I quit my day job!
Thanks much, and best of luck with your business!!