Design. Create. Inspire

Small Business Week- SCORE Program

Let me start this post by saying that when I started my business a little over two years ago, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. I really had no expectations except for what I saw all over social media, which was definitely glamorized entrepreneurship. I was just so excited to be starting something on my own and doing something that I was really passionate and excited about. Then reality hit.

Things weren't easy. I had high expectations for myself and I wasn't meeting them. I struggled with so many things as a new business owner. I literally had to learn everything; photography, finances, wholesale relations, coding a website, sourcing materials and so much more. Things weren't easy. There were many days spent in the studio that ended in frustration and tears (just ask my husband, he can tell you all about it!) There were many days when I have questioned if this is all really worth it.

Like many new and challenging situations, there have been many moments of frustration, but also many many exciting and rewarding moments. When I reflect on my two years in business, I am so proud of all of the things I have accomplished, and am proud of myself for persevering through the challenging situations. I am extremely thankful for all of the help and support I have gotten from friends, family, and complete strangers. I would not have been able to get through all of the challenges without all of the support I have received.  

Some of my favorite moments over the past two years in business.

There have many different aspects that have contributed to my success during the past two years. One of them being the SCORE program. I first learned about the SCORE program about a year ago when reading a post from MacKenzie Horan from Design Darling about her tips for entrepreneurs. She had mentioned how she had a mentor that helped her when she first started her business. That night, I went onto the SCORE website and started researching mentors. I was still unfamiliar with the program, but loved the idea of getting some help and mentoring since at the time, I felt like I knew nothing. 

When I first started looking for a mentor, I knew that I really needed help with marketing and growing my audience. The SCORE website outlines the different areas of expertise for each mentor. I looked through all of the profiles of the mentors in my area, and found a mentor in New Jersey that had extensive experience in marketing. That night, I put in a request for mentoring, not knowing what would happen after that and not knowing what to expect.

Later that week, I got an email from the mentor that I requested and we set up a time to meet over Skype. I was so excited and nervous during our first meeting. She had already looked at my website and had so many suggestions and pieces of advice. I remember taking notes furiously in my notebook. Since I live and breath this business, I was so excited to finally have somebody to talk to and share all of my ideas with.

Over the past year, I have been meeting with my mentor once a month via phone conferences. I share ideas, ask questions and reflect on things I have tried. Every month, I look forward to these meetings, and appreciate every minute I spend with my mentor.

I truly am grateful for the SCORE program for so many different reasons. Not only has my mentor been able to share her expert advice with me, but she has been there to support me when I need to work through something that is challenging me. Although her background is in marketing, she has been able to support me in every aspect of my business.

As a mentioned at the beginning of this post, I quickly discovered that starting and running a business on your own is not easy. In the beginning, I was desperate for support, advice and understanding from somebody in the business world (my husband deserved a break from all my business chatter!) The SCORE program was able to fulfill this need and has exceeded my expectations in so many ways.

The most amazing thing about SCORE is that all of the mentors are volunteers. Every single mentor does this for free and volunteers their time to meet with the entrepreneurs. These people dedicate their time to entrepreneurs who need support and they share their expert advice because they want to help these businesses grow.

I am sharing this with you because the SCORE program has had a significant impact on my business and myself as a business owner. I really believe that every business owner should be a part of this mentoring program. I consider myself a lifelong learner, always looking to grow and  improve myself as a person and as a business owner. This program has helped me do that in so many different areas.

If you own a business or know somebody who does, send them my way to chat! I would love to help you get set up with a mentor!

Read more →

Pattern With a Purpose

 

I am excited to be launching a new pattern today as part of the Pattern with a Purpose collection. This Pattern with a Purpose is fun bright yellow pattern that is perfect for the spring and summer. 

25% of the sales will be donated to The SCOTTY Fund and the money will go directly to helping families with children with life threatening illnesses.

Why The SCOTTY Fund? 

The SCOTTY Fund was started 21 years ago after my brother Scott passed away from neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer. I was 5 years old when my brother passed away. During the time when he was sick, our small community in Connecticut came together to support our family; helping make meals, providing childcare for me and my older brother, and raising money to help our family pay for medical bills. After my brother passed away, my parents decided to turn a tragedy into something positive, and they started The SCOTTY Fund.

What does The SCOTTY Fund do? 

The SCOTTY Fund provides support for families with children with life threatening illnesses. This support comes in many different forms such as delivering home cooked meals at a doorstep, paying for medical bills, purchasing an ipad for the sick child to be able to face-time his or her family from the hospital, paying for gas cards and overnight stays, and so much more. In such dark times for families, The SCOTTY Fund provides light and hope. 

You can read more about The SCOTTY Fund from my Mom's perspective in this blog post. 

Thank you for supporting a charity that is extremely important to me and impactful to the community. Your purchase is making a direct impact to families in great need.

 

Read more →

Free Mother's Day Card Printables

Mother's Day is right around the corner! I have linked two of my favorite FREE printable mother's day cards below. 
Don't forget, all orders this week will include a free matching key fob!
Weekend Craft
TomKat Studio
Read more →

Inspired Collection- Linda Anderson

Hi! My name is Linda Anderson, mother of Emma (Yes! Of Emma Lyn Designs), Grant, Brett and Scott. I am lucky to be married to my first true love for 31 year. I am a teacher at Bethel High School, Coordinator of the Bethel Educational Summer Programs and Founder/President of The SCOTTY Fund, a non-profit local charity.

Who/What inspires you?

I am inspired by my husband, who is a self-employed business owner with an incredible work ethic; my children who always amaze me with their kindness and generous spirit; my friends who are smart, talented, thoughtful and giving; and the community in which I live.

What’s in your purse?

I carry my Emma Lyn design clutch everywhere I go! It holds my credit cards, cash, receipts, cell phone, lip gloss and gum. When I’m going off to school, I always put the clutch in my large ordinary tote (hint, hint… waiting for Emma Lyn to design a fabulous patterned tote bag)

Go to drink: 

I love Starbucks Passion Fruit Lemonade (and have gotten pretty good at making my own blend!)

Favorite way to unwind or relax: 

I enjoy reading a good historical fiction book or taking a walk with my husband.

We all face different challenges in life and business. What is one obstacle or challenge you had overcome, big or little? What is one tip you have on staying positive when things aren't perfect? 

To understand my challenges, you need to know my background. When my son Scott was two years old he was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer. He went through nine rounds of chemotherapy, three surgeries, 12 radiation treatments, a bone marrow transplant and many (too many to mention) painful and invasive tests. Scott died from the cancer just after his third birthday. During his treatments, we received tremendous support from family, friends, and even strangers in our community. There were fundraisers for Scott, hot meals delivered to our house every night, treats for Emma and Grant (so that they did not feel left out while we were at the hospital for days on end), and many prayers. When Scott passed away my husband and I knew we had to do something to help others as we were helped. We started the SCOTTY Fund, Inc. (www.scottyfund.org) as a way to honor Scott’s memory, to give back to the community for all they had given to us and to turn something that is so incredibly painful into something positive. Over the past 21 years, The SCOTTY Fund has given out over one million dollars to children with life-threatening illnesses. The SCOTTY Fund has paid medical bills, mortgages and other household bills, travel expenses, child care and other ancillary costs due to the illness. We purchase and wrap holiday gifts and deliver nightly meals as well as special holiday feasts.

Twenty years later, I still cry. There is no pain greater than losing a child. After Scott died I used to write in a journal each day… one thing I was grateful for that day and focus on that one thing.  By doing that I soon realized that while I had a devastating loss, I have so many things to be truly grateful for each day. I know that I am blessed…. blessed to have a wonderful family and good friends; blessed for the support of The SCOTTY Fund by so many giving and kind people in my community; blessed for having been Scott’s mom if only for three short years and that his legacy lives on in my work helping others through The SCOTTY Fund.

My “tips” for staying positive: Focus on what you are grateful for in your life, know that we all have choices-  choose joy and happiness, and do something kind each day for someone unconditionally …. “For it’s in the giving that we receive”

What do you think is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?

Since I know the difficulties of having a child with a life-threatening illness, the most rewarding aspect of the SCOTTY Fund is knowing that the help we give truly eases the burden of having an ill child. Many times, a parent must stop working to take care of the ill child. Knowing that our financial support and nightly meals allows parents to focus on their ill child, not bills and finances is a gift. The SCOTTY Fund’s assistance brings peace-of-mind to families at a time when peace is often difficult to find, and has brought myself and my family peace knowing we are able to help other going through a difficult journey.

Learn more about The SCOTTY Fund by visiting:

www.scottyfund.org

https://www.facebook.com/thescottyfund/

 

Read more →

Fabric of the Week

Introducing the Fabric of the Week!

Every other week, I will be introducing a new pattern that will only be available until Friday! This pattern will be available in the Everyday and Chic sized clutches, and will be 15% off.

One of my absolute favorite things to do is to get lost in a fabric store and obsess over all of the colors and patterns. The Fabric of the Week patterns  are a collection of fabrics that I have found and local fabric stores, both vintage and modern. This will be an opportunity for me to debut some unique and fun fabrics to see what you all think of them! 

This week's pattern is a fun pink floral pattern!

Read more →

Inspired Collection- Rachel Heckmann

Rachel Heckmann is an educator, product shop owner, encourarger, and the creative stylist and director at Rachel Allene, an online shop that offers products and services for the creative, joyful, and inspired dreamer. She creates business resources in order to encourage and empower women to run heartfelt businesses on all social platforms. Rachel is a grateful wife, founder of #lesshustlemoregrace, and believer of real talk.

Who/what inspires you?
I am inspired by the outdoors, empowered women, all things grace-filled, being with family and friends, and my Creator.

What’s in your purse?
Wallet, lipstick, pens, mints, sunglasses, earbuds, water bottle, almonds, essential oils.

Go to drink:
Decaf almond milk latte.

Favorite Instagram accounts to follow and why:
@ashleybrookedesigns because #goals
@juliepaisleyphotography because her photos are swoon-worthy
@laracasey because the woman is wise and incredible
And all my insta friends like @laurenlcarnes, @laurafoote, @simplyjessicamarie, @meganmartincreative, @rachel_tenny, @katschmoyer, and sooo many others!

Favorite way to unwind or relax:
Pre or post-dinner walk with my husband and then reading a good fiction novel.

We all face different challenges in life and business. What is one obstacle or challenge you had overcome, big or little? Oh boy, how do I pick just one? I would say a challenge I face regularly is failure or a business idea not going as planned. Sometimes products don’t sell or collaborations don’t work. Being able to adapt and overcome is always a challenge for me!

What is one tip you have on staying positive when things aren't perfect?
Remembering that no one is perfect, failure actually makes us stronger, there is enough grace for me, I don’t have it all together and that’s what attracts people to my brand. Being honest in the hard stuff always makes me realize that I’m not alone and so many others are right there with me. Share your story!

What do you think is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
Seeing women empowered to be brave with their business decisions and social media presence. I find so much joy when I get messages about women sharing parts of their story they never shared before and how much freedom they received from that! It’s pretty much the best.

Website/Instagram/Facebook Accounts:
Website: http://www.rachelallene.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachel_allene/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelalleneshop
Shop: http://www.rachelallene.com/shop/
The Heartfelt Grid: http://www.rachelallene.com/heartfelt-grid/

Read more →

Emma's Favorite Things- Flamingo Edition

Ever since I found the cutest flamingo fabric designed by Rifle Paper Co. back in the fall, I have been obsessed with flamingos! I love the color and the bold, yet delicate look of a flamingo, and they are just so fun! I have gathered a few of my favorite flamingo items- I hope you love them just as much as I do!

Flamingo Clutch- This clutch is so cute and is the perfect accessory for your trip to Florida, or as your go to accessory this summer! Since it is so simple on the outside, this clutch looks awesome with so many different colors on the inside. Some of my favorite are Ice Frappe, Coral and Pool for a fun pop of color!

Life’s a Party Cocktail Napkin- Need I say more?! What a fun cocktail napkin for a summer party with your girlfriends! These napkins are from Swoozies and are such a cute thing to go with your drink!

Flamingo Wall Art- This watercolor flamingo is such a cute way to decorate your office! Not only is it cute and colorful, it also has a positive and inspirational message!

Flamingo Pool Float- How fun is this pool float!? It is super cute and also looks super comfy. I have this in my Amazon cart, ready for when the pool opens in May!

Cinder and Salt Flamingo Tank- These tank tops screen printed by Cinder and Salt in Connecticut are so comfortable! I live in these tanks during the summer. This flamingo/mint combination is perfect for the summer or your next trip to The Sunshine State!

 

Read more →

Inspired Collection- Jaclyn Pare

Hi! My name is Jaclyn and I am the creator of Brimmer Boys.  I live in Connecticut with my husband and our three young sons (ages 4, 3 and 1).  I was a second grade teacher before staying home with my sons and although I will always miss teaching, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be with my boys each day.  I was immersed in the life of a stay-at-home-mom but my creative mind was running.  I kept searching for a way to incorporate my love of sewing and creating with this drive to become an entrepreneur.  As a new mom I was always searching for fashionable looks for my sons that looked great and were comfortable for them to wear.  My company, Brimmer Boys, was born out of this necessity.  I began making the shirts and the concept took off.  Our shirts have a faux cuff and collar to give the appearance of a button down under a sweater.  And by the way, Brimmer Boys was named for the street my husband and I lived on when we were married.  A special place in our hearts.

Who/what inspires me?

My grandmother is an accomplished quilter and my original interest in sewing, creating and fabrics came from her.  I have always had a strong sense of wanting to create something and those thoughts started from her.

My husband and sons inspire me and motivate me to keep striving for more and working hard each day.

I have become an avid podcast listener (at the advice of Emma!) and I am very inspired by other entrepreneurs and their stories.  Stories of determination, conviction, faith and luck are so powerful and inspirational.  

What's in my purse?

When I am out and about I am most often with my children, therefore my extra large tote probably has more of their belongings than my own!  Right now it has: wallet, keys, several chapsticks and lip glosses, tic tacks, hand sanitizer, and cough drops.  Then for the children: diaper, change of clothes, snacks, bibs, epi pens (we've got allergies!).  Its a bit of a mess!

Go to drink:

This depends what time of day you find me!  I live on my morning coffee and my older boys know how to brew it for me.  Come the evening I love Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio!

Favorite way to unwind or relax:

Spending quiet time with my husband catching up on our shows.

We all face different challenges in life and business. What is one obstacle or challenge you had overcome, big or little?

One of my biggest challenges is time management.  I am home with three young boys each day while maintaining a small business online.  I work when they are at preschool, napping or sleeping at night and it can be a difficult balance.  Sometimes this means having my oldest draw pictures in my office while I package up orders.  It all somehow gets done.

What is one tip you have on staying positive when things aren't perfect?

It can be easy to get bogged down when you feel like things aren't going right.  I try to remind myself often of how grateful I am for my supportive family and successful business.  I find my mindset is much more positive when I spend time to exercise and eat properly. When my mindset is positive I feel more prepared to work through more difficult tasks.

What do you think is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?

My birthday shirts are my best selling item and most often these are used for the child's first birthday.  I absolutely love to see how important family celebrations are for a young child.  I am thankful to be involved in these milestone moments.  I am also very grateful for my business as it has allowed me to support financial aspects for my family while working at home and embracing my creativity.  

Website: www.BrimmerBoys.com

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/BrimmerBoys

Facebook: @BrimmerBoys

Instagram: @brimmerboys

Read more →

Inspired Collection- Stefanie Ott

This week I am so excited to be featuring my Sister in Law, Stefanie Ott, on the Inspired Collection! I love her ambition and drive in her business, all while taking care of a family of 3 cute kids! I hope you enjoy her story!

A short introduction

HI!  My name is Stefanie Ott. I am a mom of three amazing children, Gavin (11), Makenna (9) and Cole (6).  I am married to my amazing husband for almost 15 years!  Together we live in the western suburbs of Philadelphia.  After teaching for five years, I started to grow my family, but always needed to be "busy."  I took on a few at home jobs and even started my own hair bow company with a dear friend.  Then after my third baby was born, I discovered Stella and Dot. I knew it was the perfect opportunity for me to work from home while taking care of my young family.  Fast forward six years and I am now a Senior Director with the company coaching an incredible team all around the country.  I love styling and meeting so many women.  I am truly blessed.

Who/what inspires you?

I have to start with my Mother.  She has always inspired me.  From a young girl I wanted to be just like her.  She was an incredible teacher, mother and friend.  She always taught us to be kind, humble and work hard.  I have taken that advice with me through the years and applied into my business today.

I also am super inspired by all women entrepreneurs, especially the special Emma Lyn :) She is positive, works hard and had so much tenacity.  I love watching Emma soar with her growing business.

My CEO, Jessica Herrin is also driven and inspiring!  She created this company that would offer today's busy woman a career alternative. Jessica inspires so many to achieve success and balance through a career you love all while home with your family.  

What’s in your purse?

Ha!  Well I started with big bags with a growing family, but now that my children are all in school full time, you will find my phone, hand sanitizer (hey! keep the germs away!), probably a pair of earrings I left in the side pocket from week before, lip gloss and receipts.  I tend to hoard them in the inside pocket!

Go to drink:

Of course WINE! I love red wine and it is my go to drink for weekend fun.  During the week, my second favorite is coffee.  If you see me around I will probably have a Starbucks in my hand!

Favorite way to unwind or relax:

I love to relax with my family while listening to music or sitting around our fire pit.  I also am addicted to window shopping.   I grab my Starbucks and walk the mall to check out the latest styles!

We all face different challenges in life and business. What is one obstacle or challenge you had overcome, big or little?

Being an entrepreneur, you quickly have to get used to hearing "no" a lot!  This was a big challenge for me in the beginning of my business.  I have learned that not everyone will want what I can offer and that is ok!  Another challenge is keeping the joy for what you do.  You will have lots of ups and downs and moments you think you are ready to throw in the towel. This is likely the time you are about to really explode your business.  Keep with it, work past the downs and know that if you can overcome any obstacles that come your way, your business will flourish!

What is one tip you have on staying positive when things aren't perfect?

It is so easy to get down in the dumps really quick if things are not going the way you planned.  I like to read positive quotes in the morning and post them to Instagram.  It is a reminder that we MUST live a positive life to succeed. No one wants to work with someone that is negative.  You attract your customers, so stay positive and know you are making a difference in someone's life.

What do you think is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?

I adore coaching my team.  This is the most rewarding part of my job.  I love helping others work through their own obstacles and seeing their success on the other side. It warms my heart to see when one of my stylists promotes or has an amazing month.

https://www.facebook.com/stelladotstefanie/

https://www.stelladot.com/sites/stefanieott
Instagram: @Stefott2
Read more →

Emma’s Favorite Things- Winter Beauty Essentials

It is finally starting to warm up a little bit in Connecticut, but the cold weather has definitely been hurting my skin! I have very sensitive skin and it gets very dry and red in the winter. I have rounded up some of my winter beauty  products. Let me preface this by saying I am NOT a beauty expert. These are just products that are quick and easy to use, and are things I use every day. 

Beautycounter Balancing Face Oil- This oil is very hydrating when I use it on its own. I also mix it with my moisturizer for ultimate moisturizing at night. I love how it makes my skin feel so soft when I put it on.

Beautycounter Nourishing Day Cream- I love this moisturizer! I use it every morning and every night and I also mix it with my oil. One pump is all I need, so it has lasted me a while!

BareMinerals Blemish Remedy- As I mentioned above, I have very sensitive skin that gets red in the winter. I have been wearing BareMinerals for over 10 years because I love how light and soft it is. This foundation does a great job covering up my redness and I love how easy it is to apply.

Naked Skin Weightless Concealer- This concealer is what I use on top of my foundation to cover up any more redness that is showing. I have never worn concealer before, but I really like using this one. I also have a color corrector to hide any darkness under my eyes.

xoxo,

Emma

Read more →