Today’s entrepreneur is Heather Castillo of iBetterAccessorize.
When and why did you start your business?
With three girls, we are always in the market for cute hair accessories. I have seen lots of couture hair accessories that sell for upwards of $30-$50. That’s just not feasible for most, especially in today’s economy. I found it so hard to find the materials to make these headbands and when I did, the prices were too high or I had to buy a dozen of each piece. I wanted to give Moms like me, as well as boutique small business owners, a place to shop where they could pay wholesale prices without having to buy dozens of pieces at a time. iBetterAccessorize.com was born in September of 2012. We have a low minimum of $5 for regular orders and the majority of the items are sold by the piece. We provide tutorials, written by our Mom customers, on how to make different accessories.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
I love how every idea I have can be turned into a reality with a little hard work. It’s great to be able to make my own decisions and watch those decisions grow my business each and every day.
Describe your business in 20 words or less.
We sell couture hair supplies at affordable prices. We provide fun DIY projects while saving our customers money.
Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you stay inspired?
My inspiration comes from my Papa. He was an entrepreneur and owned restaurants throughout his life. I used to watch him and admire what a great business man he was. I always wanted to be just like him. My daughters keep me inspired. I’m the mother of three amazing girls. The oldest helps me ship orders and tells me every day that when she gets older, she wants to be in charge of the website. Her enthusiasm is something that reminds me daily of why I work as hard as I do.
What is your biggest success or accomplishment you’re most proud of in your business?
We’ve only been in business for 6 months, but our sales this year over last have increased almost 600%. We have such huge plans for this company and can’t wait to continue to watch it grow. We also have our customers create tutorials that we post on our blog. We create a pack of supplies that we offer our blog readers and each time one of these packs is purchased, the customer who created the tutorial is given a commission. It’s our way of sharing our success with our customers. We also give 10% back on every purchase (once they’ve spent $100) AND we will be donating 50% of all sales to Wigs for Kids on the week of 3/29/13. It’s very important for us to give back!
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs when they are first starting out?
Follow your dreams. Anything is possible if you work hard enough. When I first came up with this idea, I sat down and wrote a list of everything I wanted out of this business. I set realistic goals and made sure I not only met them, but exceeded them.
What is one mistake that you made that you really learned from and what did you learn?
One mistake I made in the beginning was not allowing people to help me get the business up and running. I wanted to do everything myself and I know now that I should allow people to help me and not put 100% of the work on myself.
Where do you see your company in three years?
Hopefully we will have grown tremendously and will be shipping all over the world. Eventually, I’d love to turn this into a brick and mortar business. I’d also love to dedicate at least 4 weeks out of the year to different charities so that we can give back.
Do you sell your products wholesale and, if so, what is one strategies that you use to get your products in stores?
Yes, we do! We do a lot of marketing and networking through social media. We’ve found that a large majority of our customers are small business owners or people that are interested in starting their own hair accessory company.
What is one thing you wish you knew about being an entrepreneur when you first started out?
That it’s not cheap to start your own business! I wish I would have found investors.