The focus of the Starting Small series is to introduce you to some amazing individuals who have built 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 for those who have/wish to have a business themselves, how they making time for themselves, 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!
We love putting a gorgeous face to a brand! Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you started Potato Feet. // Hi there! I am a wife to an amazing man who pastors a church here in Los Angeles where we live with our 3 little boys (ages 6, 4, and 2). Every day is an adventure in our home!
I have always loved arts and crafts, but never thought in a million years that it could turn into a business. I went to school to become a teacher, but when I had my first son he became my world! He was a chunky little guy with giant feet. We could not afford shoes for him at the time and the only hand-me-downs that would fit him had hard soles. I wanted my son's foot to grow without being constrained by ridged hard soled shoes, so I borrowed my mom's sewing machine and used a pair of my husband's old jeans make my son's first pair.
Other moms began commenting on them and asking me to make them for baby showers. Other moms would notice them at the shower and start asking to buy them. I was just in shock that anyone would want to pay for something that I designed. It was exciting to make something that made other people happy. Money was still tight for us, but any time we were not able to pay a bill, I would get another order request. It started out slow but it was clear that these shoes were a way that God was providing for our little family.
Potato Feet is such a catchy name! What was the decision process like for deciding the name of your business? // While at the grocery store, my son was wearing a new pair that I had made out of an old pair of my husband’s brown jeans. A young girl noticed my son’s feet sticking out from his stroller and shouted “Look Mommy! Potatoes!” And Potato Feet was born. I wish it was a more creative process, but we are so thankful for that moment in the grocery store. That little girl will most likely never know how significantly she has contributed to our lives.
Where was your business five years ago? Where do you see your business in five years? // Five years ago, my business didn't even exist. I was just making shoes for my son. Five years ago, I never would have imagined that we'd be here. It wasn't until we went onto Instagram in 2013 that things started to gain traction outside of my friends and family. I did my first Instagram giveaway which opened up a huge window for me. I gained a lot of new followers and had regular orders coming in. We had 2 boys by that time, so I was chasing them around all day and then staying up late to sew. I had no real plans for the company at that time. My husband and I were just thankful for the additional income.
In five years from now, I would love to see Potato Feet in stores. Unfortunately when you order online, there can be a hesitation to buy [a product that you're not familiar with]. Once people try our shoes and fall in love with the quality, they are a customer for life. I would also like to design other styles of shoes and even potentially begin dabbling in other avenues of children's fashion.
If you could give a fellow mom and aspiring business owner three pieces of advice, what would they be? // 1) Have a game plan on how to balance mom life and business life. And make sure you and your husband are on the same page. Potato Feet wouldn't exist if my husband didn't support me 100%.
2) Kindness goes along way! If people feel valued, they will value your product far beyond what they are paying for it. We have so many loyal customers. And we love them. I love recognizing the names on the orders that come in. We have customers who have put multiple children in our shoes and then continue to buy for their friends and family. I don't even like thinking of them as customers. Many of them have become my friends.
3) Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Some people are business people and have everything figured out. The rest of us have a lot to learn. Find a supportive community and learn as much as you can.
Do you have a current favorite shoe from your line? Is there a pair that your little ones wear constantly? // Every time I bundle up pair to ship out, I think to myself that IT is my favorite. But when I look at my whole line, I have to pick out the Camo Loafers. They are so fun and unique! My 2 year old lives in his Panther Moccs and Camo Loafers. He will bring them to me every morning while he is still in his PJ’s and say “Choose.” Which is his way of saying shoes. I have created a PF monster :)
Finish this sentence: Something I didn't realize when I started my own business is….How difficult it would be to feel like I'm giving my family my all, and still have energy left to work on the company.
Favorite material to work with? // The Metallic leather! Hands down! It catches the eye and is so buttery soft!
Most used emoji? // Heart eyes emoji! I can’t help it when I am tagged in a photo of adorable kids wearing Potato Feet, I have to use it.
Can't get enough of Kati and her amazing brand, Potato Feet?!