Interview: Daisy Natives

My favorite thing (and there are a lot) about starting this site has been the opportunity to spread positivity and create a platform with the sole purpose of sharing inspiring women. No shop has embodied that quite as perfectly as Daisy Natives.

Sarah Eckett, who created the T-Shirt and accessories brand, was one of those people that I was hoping I'd "get" for this blog. Even if you think you haven't heard of Daisy Natives, you definitely know it. The brand went viral with Sarah's "Girls Support Girls" designs, and the phrase has since taken on a life of its own. It's one I thought of often while putting this site together in hopes of creating a space that really empowers women to build each other up rather than compete with each other.

All of the items that Sarah makes for Daisy Natives feel cheerful, and the brand is a constant source of positivity. I loved learning more about how Sarah went from selling some accessories on Etsy to creating her brand, and I know you will too.

Q: Let’s start from the beginning. Can you tell me a little bit about the process of starting your business? What made you want to do this and how did you turn your idea into a reality?

A: I received a sewing machine from my mom for Christmas in 2014 and started an Etsy shop making handmade fabric headbands in January of 2015. This was a way for me to fulfill that creative side and escape from my day job. Headbands turned into my first graphic tee “Tacos and Champagne” which sold out in about 2 hours. From there I knew I was onto something and graphic tees became Daisy Natives’ new focus. In spring of 2016 I was able to make Daisy Natives my full time job.

Q: What was your first product to take off or find enough success that you were encouraged to do more?

A: That was definitely the Girls Support Girls Tee! It really took off after the 2016 election and became wildly popular on social media during the first Women’s March. This really gave me a nudge to keep creating products with intentional purpose.

Q: What were your friends and family’s reactions to you starting a business? Were you nervous to share it?

A: My mom shared with me that she originally thought getting me a sewing machine for Christmas was the worst idea ever, haha. Now, she admits she was completely wrong. So my family was skeptical but I quickly proved them wrong. I was always one to work harder when people doubted me and when I started Daisy Natives I wanted it SO badly that no one could say anything that would change my mind.

Q: Did you work another job while you were starting? How long did it take you to turn this into a full-time venture?

A: Yes! I was a baker and cake decorator that eventually knew I couldn’t picture myself getting up at 3 am and working crazy long days until I retired. It took about a year and a half to make Daisy Natives my full time gig.

Q: It seems to be pretty common for entrepreneurs to start their shops because they have a specific talent and then have to learn the business side of things (marketing, finance, eCommerce, etc.) as they go. Was this case for you or did you go into it having that knowledge? What was the most challenging part for you?

A: Great question! I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to create and it seemed cool to be your own boss. Turns out owning a business is the hardest thing I’ve ever done but SO rewarding. I learned as I went and I truly believe (as a hands on learner) that was the best experience I could’ve gotten to be fully immersed in my business with my blinders on. I was so focused on being able to create happy things for people even if I didn’t have a clue how to actually get the happy things in people’s hands, haha.

Q: What has been the biggest marketing tool in your experience and how have you utilized it?

A: Instagram! Hashtag, interact with your ideal customers, share photos of customers in your product, be authentic, and don’t try to be like your favorite Instagram brand.

Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about buying from a small business?

A: Small businesses are not Amazon. There are usually only a handful of employees running every single aspect of the business. Please be patient, be kind, if you had a great experience buying from a small business, send them a quick note telling them so! I guarantee they’ll need to hear that.

Q: What goals do you have for your business going forward?

A: Keep bringing a little magic to people’s mailboxes, keep making things that I’m proud of, keep having photoshoots that I leave feeling inspired, and a long term goal would be to have my own Daisy Natives clothing label.

Q: What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?

A: JUST START! I spent so many months researching and stalking my favorite entrepreneurs on social media and reading about THEIR experiences thinking they’d be the same as my own. The truth is you’ll never have enough money (I started with a gifted sewing machine and $30 worth of fabric from Joann Fabric) or enough experience. Learning as I went was the best thing I could’ve ever done. Put your blinders on, stop comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs who are 5 year into their business, and just start creating magic that feeds your soul!

Q: Lastly, let’s spread the love. What are a few of your favorite small shops owned by women that you personally shop from?

A: Otherland, Susan Alexandra, Blush Daisy, Mercedes Rex Designs, kb illustration, Ash + Chess, Solstice Intimates, Lisa Says Gah, Herland Home, One Six Five Jewelry, Ladies of Paradise, Packed Party, Bulletin, Calhoun & Co., Amanda Deer, Circa 78 Designs.

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