Today's business bad-ass is Rebecca Saylor, founder, designer and creator of awesomely huggable pillows at OodleBaDoodle. On the side, Rebecca also runs an all-volunteer organization of 1600+ makers that is the powerhouse team known as SF Etsy. I'm never quite sure how she manages to pack so much into her days, all the while maintaining an incredible sense of calm and a great sense of humor.
1 - How did you get started with OodleBaDoodle?
I'm sort of a backwards person, always thinking differently, so it makes sense that I began my business without a product - ha! After the start up I was working at closed, I knew I wanted to have a small business so I started with a business plan and then I created a few products that I felt like could sell. I tried a few things, but nothing was really sticking, so I went back to work in the corporate world. One of my coworkers was having a baby and I made him an owl pillow for the nursery. He is a very snappy dresser and so the owl had glasses, a bow tie and vest. He really loved it and I made some for a gallery show here in SF. I sold 25 owl pillows the first two weeks I was in business and I knew I had my product!
Since then, I seek out other things that inspire my designs, like sea creatures, huggable San Francisco and coming soon, the unicorn pillow!
2 - What is your top challenge in your business right now?
After 4 years of sewing constantly everyday, I feel like I am still in a constant backlog. My challenge now is production. Like a lot of makers, I truly enjoy the "making" part of my business and I am not ready to give that up, so I've been working on ways to make multiples of my pillows that still showcase my craftsmanship but also can be reproduced more efficiently. I'm using some new technology and I'm hoping to launch all my new things by the holiday season.
3 - Before you had a business, you had another career. Was there anything from that experience that has helped you be an entrepreneur?
For 15 years I worked in the corporate world, primarily in the Human Resources and Recruiting departments for small and large companies. I loved my career and I was good at it! One of my favorite things was learning from the CEOs of the companies I worked for. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to be mentored by some amazing business leaders. I learned a lot about time management, business planning, project planning, resource management and working in a team environment. Even though I am an entrepreneur, I know the value of community and making connections. It's very important to have people around you that can help you navigate the world of small business and help you make connections to grow your business.
4 - What do you do on a regular basis to maintain your sanity?
I've recently been taking some online Urban Sketching classes and I've really enjoyed exploring the city and then sketching some favorite spots. I love making clothes and spending time with my husband and my two Mainecoon cats, MaximusMilkshake and Matilda.
5 - What is your favorite thing about running your own business?
Making all the decisions. As much as I loved working in the corporate world, I always wanted to break out and execute my own ideas. I love figuring out all the things that go with running a small business and I love making the decisions, even the bad ones :)