STARTING SMALL SERIES: Loved By Hannah and Eli

Instagram Instashop Loved by Hannah and Eli Mama Bear Man Cub Mompreneur Sarah Duncan Small Business Social Media STARTING SMALL SERIES

The focus of the Starting Small series is to introduce you to some amazing individuals who have created their own businesses from scratch. They are full of passion, life, and love. Once a month, we feature a new business owner, and pick their brain regarding how they started their business, advice to those who have/wish to have a business themselves, making time for oneself, and most importantly, which they love most about being a small business owner. I hope these individuals will inspire you, motivate you, and fill your heart with as much love as they've filled mine!

To know Sarah, is to love Sarah. She's the epitome of a hard-working mother, savvy business woman, and all-around fabulous mama bear. I had the privilege of chatting with Sarah (while she was on vacation, might I add) and could not wait to share her tips and tricks to being successful, going after what you love, and new product she's loving this fall!

Sarah and her little bears, Eli and Hannah.

Your company's name is such a wonderful reflection of your children, Hannah and Eli! How did you decide to incorporate their names into the company's name? // Well it all started when I would sell the kids clothes they had outgrown via Instagram & send invoices. Instead of "used" or "worn" I used the term "Loved"... So my business literally started with items that were Loved by Hannah and Eli.

What has been the most difficult part about starting a business? What has been the most enjoyable part? // I would say the most difficult part of starting a business is work/life balance...the balance of making sure that my children, home life, and customers get the appropriate attention. I would say that the most enjoyable is seeing my vision come to life and flourish. I also really love that people use my items for their special memories, such as pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, and family photos. It's such an incredible feeling to be a small part of the memories they are creating in their families.

When did you first realize that your dream of starting a clothing line was a tangible reality? (first sale, the first time your shop sold out, increase in IG following etc.) // I would say the first realization that what I was doing could be an actual reality is when I previewed the design "Man Cub" (which stems from my son). The response from friends, family, and Instagram following was amazing, something I couldn't ignore. From "Man Cub" came "Mama Bear" and I set up a pre-order and sold over 300 items before they were even printed. That was the second sign that confirmed that I was on to something big.

Describe a typical day in your life! How do you incorporate your family + business + personal time into your day? // I feel like my typical day is not really something to write home about. I have two friends that come over after the kids are all dropped off at school (around 9am) and we begin processing orders and shipping items out. We work until the kids are out of school about 2:30 and then my husband swings by real quick and takes all of the packages down to the post office. I try hard to be done with emails and such around 3:30 and I won't log on again until the morning. I do post on Instagram every few hours & love to communicate with my "insta-fam" and see what's going on. I do have a virtual assistant who helps me manage my emails and returns. Having a virtual assistant take over these processes has been a game changer for me. I am able to spend more time with the family, make dinner, go to the kids sports games, etc.

Tori Spelling and her kiddies all wearing Loved By Hannah and Eli tees

Favorite memory so far during your small business journey? // Somehow, my small business was lucky enough to be invited to a celebrity Christmas party hosted by The Guncles. I'm pretty sure cupcakeMAG had a lot to do with it! The response I got from various celebrities and socialites seemed to be very genuine and it made me feel like what I had started was relatable to everyone! I was able to bring two good friends to LA with me, take pictures with celebs (such as Tori Spelling, Tiffany Amber Theissen and Haylie Duff) and pass out my merchandise. It was something I will never forget!

You recently shared more tees that aren't just for the Mom! What piece from your fall collection are you currently obsessing over? // Yes, I'm so excited to broaden our horizons, as well as bring back some of the shirts I started with, such as "Ugh." "Meh." and "Laundry Day" . This Fall I'll be living in my "Sweater Weather" and "Cozy Day" fleece all Fall/Winter long!! It's just all so readable, I think my Insta-fam and "non moms" will really love them!

"It's a Mama Bear Thing" Football Tee

What three pieces of advice can you give to those with the goal of starting their own business? // I actually have 4 things I'd like to point out to new business owners : 1) Do your research. Legal, technical, and make sure what you are doing isn't the exact same thing as someone else. 2) Make sure you have the proper capitalization to start. Bottom line, it takes money to make money. 3) Utilize social media!!! Be involved in giveaways on Instagram and Facebook. Send items to bloggers for features and styling. Find something that appeals to your audience, and ask for suggestions and feedback. 4) Make sure you are properly prepared for taxes. Being a small business/self-employed can get tricky. Make sure you set aside funds to pay your taxes at the end of the year. When you get big enough, set up payroll and pay yourself out of the business. Figure out what you can and cannot write off. The sooner you do this the better!
Join Sarah's Insta-fam, and make sure to stay tuned for new products on the website this fall!

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  • Holly Hicks-Guski on

    I loved reading your post. And your 4 tips on opening up your own small business. You hit the nail right on the the head and are all totally correct. And I couldn’t agree anymore. I dreamed of owning my own in-home daycare since I was a little girl. Children and photography, and baking and have always been my passion. And it truly does take a lot of time, planning, and preparation before you just want to start selling things or owning your own business. The 4 factors you have pointed out are what everyone needs to take into connsiderstion before just opening up their own business. Patience and making sure you have everything prepared is key to success! I love seeing other shops share other shops amazing merchandise. And I want to say that by working together and helping one another is what I love to see most on IG. I think It is amazing to see other people helping one another verses being each other’s worst enemy. Although I do agree with the fact of having your own original designs, and please don’t steal others. Owning a small business is hard enough. And everyone is working to provide for their families. And it truly breaks my heart to see other people steal someone else’s ideas and then make them and sell them as if they were their own. Let’s all work together and lift one another up. I truly love this post and love all of the amazing IG shops I have found so far ❤️

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