Small Business Advice from Love What’s Missing
Bianca Beck is the one woman show behind Love What’s Missing, an accessories line all done in honor of her son, Skylar. Her passion for crafts and making led her to start her own small business to provide for her family. Bianca shares her story and small business advice.
Name: Bianca Beck
City: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Store Owner Since: 2010
Opened on Storenvy: 2011
What is your favorite activity? It would have to be a draw between bathing in the sun by the ocean, and cuddling with Skylar, watching Adventure Time for hours on end.
What was the process of starting your store?
The founding of Love What’s Missing and drive behind my store is entirely from my son Skylar. A few months after his birth he was diagnosed with a rare birth defect Schizencephaly, and a calamitous form of epilepsy called infantile spasms. Through my experience of being a stay at home parent of a child with special needs, I began blogging our journey to spread awareness, but I quickly realized how costly his medical bills were. I’ve always had a passion for creating and the arts, so I made the decision to contribute whatever free time I had aside from his care to work on projects using my natural talents.
I started with various projects including hand painted sugar skull masks and then ventured back into sewing, making tote bags. I used my blog, social networks, and Etsy as platforms to sell my handmade goods. After several projects that were more time consuming than profitable, I finally found balance between providing quality goods that were also lucrative. From every failed project, I learned what grounded me as a business owner. In time I discovered Storenvy, which became the outstanding new storefront I use to produce all handcrafted goods and to share my son’s story.
What is the hardest part of running Love What’s Missing?
The most challenging aspect of owning my business is finding balance between my work and being a single mother. Raising a child with exceptionalities who is entirely dependent on you is a whole world of its own, and on top of this I run the whole storefront by myself. From pattern designs, advertising, supply runs, creation of products, and packaging, all of Love What’s Missing is done by yours truly. And between the therapies, school, my shop, and time with my son, at some points my work and profits have been sacrificed in order to benefit his well being. It’s been a difficult journey to keep that constant state of assurance with my store because I tend to undermine myself and its a plague on my confidence. But through every uncertainty over the years Skylar is always my reminder to push past all my apprehension and emerge through any adversity when it comes to my store. All of this is for him, and it’s worth every sleepless night and moment I’ve dedicated to it.
In hindsight is there anything you wish you had known about running a business when you first started?
I didn’t realize how laborious running a small business could be. When you’re overwhelmed, sometimes it’s best to leave certain worries for tomorrow. If I could go back I would tell myself that success is not always measured by numbers, and failures are inevitable but are never your only option. At times, regardless of how hard you work there will be unfortunate inconveniences; whether it’s a drop in sales or appliances breaking. It’s vital to financially prepare and save for these setbacks, and remember to make note of them. Analyze every setback and use them as a learning experience and fuel to drive you. I’ve found that most successful people endure hardships: the great choose to persevere instead of leaving them behind.
What advice would you offer other full time independent business owners?
Your customers are the foundation and the power to make your company flourish. Always remember there is a person behind the invoice and profits in your account. Take pride in your products and only provide exceptional quality to each one for they are a reflection of how you are as an store owner. Make time to be sincere and kind to them regardless of the quantity they purchase. Be grateful and show your appreciation of their support. A simple handwritten thank you can create a happy customer, and maybe even open the possibility of a returning one. Take compliments graciously, and criticism from them to heart. For one, you will be reminded of where you are thriving, but also where you can improve. Delighted customers are the fundamental element for a self made company to prosper; don’t forget them.
What is the most rewarding part of running your own business?
Aside from so many admirable and supportive customers, the most gratifying experience since starting my shop has been the absolute bliss of independence for my family. Even though at times it can be strenuous, having this opportunity to create all my products entirely by hand that customers wear and love, and reward my son simultaneously is just remarkable on its own. I still remember how proud I was when I received my first check from Paypal. Going out and having that ability to purchase toys and items for his therapies and clothes from something I made with my own hands, still to this day brings me great joy. Very few have the luxury of doing what they love and are passionate about every single day, and I’m so humbled and grateful for it.
Read more about Love What’s Missing and shop the store here.