Some entrepreneurs find their niche by helping others release the creativity they have inside. Anne-Marie Faiola understands the importance of creativity more than most. A former corrections officer, Faiola turned to her hobby of soap making to deal with the stress of her day job. And now she helps other people leverage their own creativity in a similar way through her company Bramble Berry Handcraft Provisions.
Faiola recently spoke with Small Business Trends’ Ramon Ray in the latest installment of our exclusive Smart Hustle Report series. In the interview, she spoke about her favorite creative outlet and how she helps others through her work with Bramble Berry.
“Our big goal is to be a partner with you on your creative journey,” Faiola says. “I really think that creativity is essential and I think that everybody has a little do it yourself kitchen chemist inside of them whether they know it or not, because there’s something so deeply rewarding about making useful things.”
Creative Business Success Story
Currently, Bramble Berry has about 80,000 annual customers and 95 employees. But when Faiola was starting out, making soap was just a hobby that she did on the nights and weekends to relieve some of the stress of her job as a corrections officer.
She explained, “Everybody’s story was so deeply sad and pained me so much that I was going home every night and finding this solace in this creative outlet of making, again, deeply useful things.”
During the interview, Faiola shared some tips and insights about her own journey that could help other entrepreneurs leverage their creativity and build successful businesses. LISTEN TO THE FULL SHOW HERE
Here are a few of Faiola’s insights:
Look for the Lightbulb Moment
Because Faiola enjoyed making soap so much, she soon realized she had more than she could ever use on her own. So she went to a craft show and ended up selling $1,500 worth of soaps and toiletries.
She said, “That’s when the kind of light went off in my head and I thought to myself, ‘Hey, wait. I could do this for a living and more importantly, I could teach other people to do this for a living.’”
Don’t Romanticize Business Ownership
While Faiola is thankful for her journey, she does caution other entrepreneurs against discounting all the hard work and struggle that happens behind the scenes of every successful business.
Faiola said, “One really big piece of advice I always have for entrepreneurs is that quitting your day job is not always the answer. It’s so romantic to be like, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m going to quit my job, and I’m going to be an entrepreneur and it’s going to be wonderful and the birds are gonna sing and no more yucky bosses for me.’ The reality … is that being an entrepreneur is harder than it sounds and that customers don’t always come right away.”
Build a Business on the Nights and Weekends
Though Faiola did quit her own job to build her creative business, she says that holding onto a day job while building a business is actually a very viable option for most entrepreneurs.
She said, “Doing your job, your hustle, your passion project in the nights, in the evenings and the weekends is a great way to build up your company while you still have the security of a job job during the day. The average American watches four or five hours of TV a day. That is enough time to start a part-time business.”