Snowberry Creek is proud to introduce our very first "E-tailer Spotlight". We will be featuring a new E-tailer every two weeks. Please check out their websites and the wonderful products they carry. We are happy to introduce Ms. Becky Willis.
Tell me about yourself and/or your business.
My name is Becky Willis and I own Country Keepsakes Retail/Wholesale. I am the mother of 3 kids (ages 17, 14 & 12 - 2 boys & 1 girl). Happily married going on 13 years.
I have owned Country Keepsakes for almost 1-1/2 years, but worked very closely with my sister for over 2 years prior to that when she had the storefront. I started making soybean candles back in Oct. 2002, which is where I "originally" started.
How and/or why did you start your business?
As I previously mentioned I started out making soybean candles and had my own website "Brambleberry Candle Company". I had a website-but at the time I didn't know how to market or get my name out there. Eventually, I sold what business I had to my sister so she could wholesale her other products along with the candles. For quite a while I kicked myself as I really enjoyed making the candles and was mad at myself for "giving up" on myself so soon. I did, however, work closely with my sister-learning what I could about the other parts of the business. I did create her website originally and market her site as I had learned more about doing that. In January 2007, my sister asked if I would be interested in taking over the business (purchasing it from her) as she was ready to move on. She had already closed the storefront buisness and was mainly doing things from home, more wholesale than retail. I was so excited. We set the date of March 13th for me to take over *2007* and the rest is history.
What kind of products do you carry or make?
We carry soybean candles (3 sizes), melts (3 or 4 different kinds- "buttons", muffins, stars/hearts, and "tops" -like muffin tops and cake tops...), pillars, cake candles, electric lights, potpourri, potpourri fix'ins, soybean lotion, bar soap, farmhouse mixes (like cocoas, cappuccinos, dips, cheesecakes, pancake, waffle, side dishes, muffins & cookies). We were/or look like we are still carrying rag quilts, handmade dolls, and rag balls-but recently my Mom has opened her own site "The Grungy Cupboard" and that is where the purchasing of the dolls will come from. It will still be shipped from Country Keepsakes and orders can be combined.
If you carry handmade products, do you make them yourself?
95% of the items we carry are made here at Country Keepsakes. The only things we don't make are the silicone dipped bulbs, tart warmers, and rusty pans. Together with my Mom, Linda everything here is made to order. I make all of the candles, where my Mom does the mixes, sewing and packaging during busy times. It wouldn't be possible to do it all by myself.
What's your favorite product to make or create?
I would have to say I most enjoy making the candles. It is especially enjoyable when I "create" a new scent or a "new look" when it comes to the Grubby Cake Candles.
What or who inspires you?
I would have to say originally, my sister inspired me as I didn't realize the hidden talents she possessed. After having the business for over 1 year, I am inspired by what I see out there. I have found that you can't compete (well only with yourself). It is never possible to carry everything-and what you do carry, you should make sure it is the best that it can be.
Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
I have had many-but I have 2 that I refer to often.
"A Champion is a dreamer that refused to give up!" unknown author
"We Create our tomorrows By What we dream Today"
These two hit home with me often.
Do you have a storefront, sell strictly on-line or both?
If all goes well, my Mom and I plan to open "The Grungy Cupboard" as a storefront as well as her website. We are hoping to achieve this by October 15, 2008. Otherwise, right now I am online and have the occasional retail customer and 1 local wholesale customer that stop in at the house to pick up their orders.
Website and email address.
Country Keepsakes (retail)
Do you have more than one website?
Yes- I have Country Keepsakes Wholesale
The Homestead Register
I also have a Top 100 site http://thehomesteadregister.gotop100.com/
Do you have a blog?
Country Keepsakes Weblog http://countrykeepsakes07.wordpress.com
Do you work at another job?
LOL -sorry...I shouldn't laugh. Actually I am considered my husband's daycare "assistant"- I only assist when it is necessary - whether he has to run errands or pick up kids when they are in school....otherwise no, I don't work another job-not sure where I would fit it in...oh and I am a Mom as I referred to also-which in itself is a job-just not an "outside" of the home type.
What advice would you offer to someone starting their own business?
Research, Research, Research. I feel you have to go into business with a plan. Somehow you have to set yourself apart from others. You don't want to do a business that you are losing more than you are getting. Although, we all know buisness takes a few years to get going-so don't despair. Definitely don't go into a new business adventure thinking you are going to be making money right away-and think long term. Some of the best businesses didn't give up after 6 months - they kept fine tuning and tweaking to get it just right.
Hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into the life and business of one of our Snowberry Creek Sample Box E-tailers. I can attest to the fact that she makes the best potpourri and fix'ins. The dip mixes are very yummy. I have personally tried the Mexican Fiesta, Spicy Cajun and Garlic Onion. Becky offers recipes on her website using the dip mixes. Next time I must order more so I can try one of the recipes. Please stop by and visit her at Country Keepsakes.