Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guest Post: Cassie from Primitive & Proper

I am so excited to have Cassie from Primitive & Proper here today.  Cassie is sharing some of her best tips about starting & owning your own business.  She has an amazingly successful and awesome business, so it is a real treat to hear her perspective on this.  Thanks again, Cassie!!
Hello, Eclectic Traditionalisters!  I am so excited to be here today at Katelyn's awesome blog!  A couple weeks ago, she mentioned how we met through a craigslist purchase she made.  She mentioned you can meet fun and normal people via craigslist.  Katelyn, get to know me a little better.... or maybe normal is relative. ;)  Anyhow, so who am I?  I am Cassie from Primitive & Proper, a blog that started based on my furniture business, but has since grown into more of a creative outlet for me, where I blog about DIY projects, crafty projects, and whatever else I feel like because, hey, it's my blog.  Speaking of my business, I thought it would be fun today to shed some light in creating your own at home business.  Many of us bloggers are stay at home moms, and having a business is not only an independent income, but also it's nice to have people that know you other than just as "mom", "mommy", "mama", "waaaaah!"  I am not going to give you the actual steps that you need to take, but let you know what worked on my own journey, as I began the journey with no idea where it would lead me.  Also, since this will be word heavy, I am just going to throw in some random pictures of furniture I have refinished so that you have some fluff and eye candy!  Here's one now!

A little over 4 years ago, my family of 4 moved here from Louisiana with our two dogs.  There's me, my husband Chris, Sawyer who was 18 months at the time, and Emerson, who was 6 weeks.  We bought our home and discovered that much of our stuff from Louisiana (where we had a much bigger house, huge master bedroom, and even a 2 car garage!!!!!) didn't fit into our tiny new home.  I began thrifting via craigslist, Goodwill, yardsales and more to find items that I could make over for our home.
In doing so, I discovered that I really love revamping furniture!  With two children under the age of two, it brought me peace and serenity.... After the kids went to bed or during naptime I would pick up my paint brush and get to work!  I loved it then and I love it still.  So that leads me to tell you what the first thing you need to run a successful home business is...
You really need to love what you are doing! I loved it so much that started amassing huge quantities of furniture, and I would paint it, so then I had huge quantities of pretty painted furniture.  My husband looked at me and said "What are we going to do with all this furniture?"  I replied, "Maybe I could sell it."  And so it began.  I posted the first couple items I painted for sale on Craigslist, and they sold right away!  I was amazed.  And I never would have had that reaction without the willingness to...
Put Yourself Out There
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and test the waters.  Do YOU love your product?  Then certainly others will love it, too!
While you are putting yourself out there, check out local markets and see if there are any that you might fit into as a vendor.... flea markets, craft shows, etc.  They can be great places for getting your name out there, and building clientelle.  And once you begin making sells, the best advice I can give you today is this" Always provide...
Excellent Customer Service
I promise you that no matter how big or small your business is, the one thing that will really set you apart and keep people coming back to you and referring people to you is awesome customer service.  Be friendly, flexible but firm, just be you, but better! :)  I for one have gone into one of my favorite retail stores, have walked around the store with an item in my hand to purchase, and have had not one person say hi, and instead a sales rep was chatting on the phone, looked at me, and went right back to the conversation.  I put the item down, not even in the right place since I figured they could get off the phone and actually do some work, and walked out of the store.  I refuse to buy from people who provide horrible service, and I personally strive to do the best I can within my abilities.  I don't want people walking away from me because I was rude, ignored them, or just didn't make them feel welcome.

So these are the real basic starter tips... Once you feel you have a legitimate business, it will be time to started getting all official and stuff.  By that I mean following government rules, which I do.  Each state is a little different, so I highly recommend looking into what it takes.  Here in Maryland, I formed an LLC, got myself a Tax ID so I can pay sales taxes, and had my house zoned for business use within my county.  So make sure you are aware of the law, and follow it, or your business could be shut down.  I hope you all have found this somewhat helpful, and I hope at some point the government makes it a little easier on us small business. ;)

Katelyn, thank you so much for letting me hijack your blog today!!!  Please come visit me over at...


  1. Great advice Cassie! And I agree, customer service is so important!

  2. I always love to hear new advice from business savvy moms. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great advice, Cassie! I couldn't agree with you more about excellent customer service!

  4. Great advice! Customer service is so important, especially in a new venture. I also love your advice to "put yourself out there." No one will know who you are if you don't!

  5. Great tips Cassie! YOu really know your stuff girl!! xo

  6. thank you so much for having me today, katelyn!!! and thanks ladies for the great comments!

  7. Cassie is such a smart girl and boy can she move. I think she needs to write a blog post on how she gets everything done in a day.


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