shop small Small Business starting small STARTING SMALL SERIES

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 make 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.

Chatting with Abby Tooker, Owner of:

My name is Abby Tooker and I am the founder and CEO of Soul Honey. Soul Honey was started out of my love for words. As Louisa May Alcott said, "I like good strong words that mean something." I believe that the power of our words is incredibly underestimated. For something that can be so fleeting, it can in contrast be so lasting and memorable. At Soul Honey we quote people who have made a difference in this world by the people they were or are, but also by the words they have said. We believe a quote stands for words that have stood the test of time and hope that all the words on our products would be like sweet "Honey" for your "Soul." Thank you for supporting Soul Honey!

1.  What did you want to be when you were a child?
Growing up, I always thought I would do something where I worked with people. I considered the options of being a nurse or a physical therapist, but the bottom line was I knew I wanted to fulfill a need in someone’s life. Oh, and I always wanted to be Hannah Montana. Quickly grew out of that phase. :)

2.  What was the best piece of business advice you were given when starting out?

Two things. First, my dad always told me if you have a hard work ethic you can achieve anything. I believe I grasped this concept so well because he didn't just tell me, he showed me in his own life as well. You never can beat a person who never gives up. Second, create a story that people connect with. The best book I ever read was from the founder of Toms, Blake Mycoskie. It is called, “Start something that matters.” He didn't personally give me the advice, but that book changed my thinking about business. I wont give anything away, just read it. You won’t regret it!

3.  What is your favorite thing about your workspace?

My favorite thing about my workspace is the people that fill it. I have started from my bedroom as a 19 year old girl designing shirts, to now having multiple employees. It still blows my mind what Soul Honey has grown into in less than 2 years. As my workspace is constantly changing and growing, the only constant is the people, which is far better than the stuff. That will come and go. Good employees that are dedicated to your vision are hard to come by.

4.  What does success mean to you?  
Success is a hard word to define for me. In some ways I feel like I have been incredibly successful, in other areas I feel I have much to improve on. So I will just say this, if I set realistic, but still lofty goals and am working my hardest everyday to achieve them, I believe that is success. I know every product I come out with will not be a best seller, yet if I dedicate myself to my craft and vision of Soul Honey, where customers continually come back year after year, I would consider that a success. After all, this shouldn't of happened to a 19 year old with no experience owning a company. If Soul Honey continues to spread its positive message and encourages at least a few people a day, I will consider it an incredible success. 
5.  What is the biggest sacrifice you've made in starting and running your own business? 

By far the biggest sacrifice I have made would be not going to college. I never question my decision, but I often wonder what it would be like to life those few carefree years as a 20 something year old.

6.  Name the biggest overall lesson you've learned running a business.

The biggest lesson I have learned, unfortunately, is to be very careful who you do business with. I have been taken advantage of many times by printers, photographers, videographers, etc. Be an understanding employer, but have and backbone and don't let people walk all over you. I learned that the hard way!

7. Which of your traits are you most proud of? 

Oh goodness, this is another hard question for me to answer, so I will just say this. I am incredibly proud of my hard work to go after my vision for Soul Honey. I get so much joy hearing stories from people that love my product and how it encouraged them. Still blows my mind people love a company I built.

8. What is your go-to when you need inspiration to get out of a creative rut?

I always go on a long walk. I put my head phones in and walk on the Greenbelt here in Arizona. A long stretch that goes for miles and miles around lakes and beautiful houses. It gets my mind out of a creative rut and gives me a fresh start. Exercise makes everything better!

9. What quotes inspire or motivate you?

Oh goodness, that is a hard question for me when I own a company completely revolving quotes. I will have to say “Whatever you are, be a good one.” -Abe Lincoln is one of my favorites. It is a constant reminder to be the best businesswoman, friend, sister, daughter, etc. 

10. What does the world need more of?

Kind words. Plain and simple. “Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy to the body.” -Proverbs 16:24 This is what Soul Honey was based off of and I will never stray from that.

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