In Conversation with Amy Upchurch of Pink Stork
Describe your business in a few words?
Pink Stork is the trusted Wellness Brand for Women. Pink Stork offers a variety of products to provide hope and to positively impact women to feel their best inside and out. We are a brand that believes in providing hope, faith, and a community.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I started Pink Stork in 2015 after overcoming my own personal health issues. During my first pregnancy, while my husband was away on Marine deployment, I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, putting me in and out of the hospital throughout my entire pregnancy. The next 3 pregnancies were spent similarly, so when I found out I was pregnant with a 4th child I was determined to have a different experience. I was able to overcome my health issues after researching and discovering the power of natural remedies. I felt called by God to start a company that would allow me to help other women and inspire hope for them to overcome their own personal challenges.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I attended Flagler College and received a degree in Strategic Communications. I had absolutely no business experience.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
No, I don’t know if I even knew what the word even meant growing up. But I have always viewed the world differently. I feel like entrepreneurship comes naturally to me because of who I am and the way that I think. I have never been afraid to take risks and feel confident in my decisions. I went to a traditional school all the way up to high school when I decided to be homeschooled. This allowed me to take more initiative in my own education and figure out how to do things my own way. I thrived in that kind of environment.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I have learned that nothing goes as planned! I didn’t even know what marketing was when I first started the business. I was living on a military base with women who thought that I was crazy because I had semi trucks that were delivering all kinds of ingredients to my garage. They probably thought that I was selling drugs! A big marketing mistake that I made was dumping a ton of money into Facebook and Google ads and I lost it all! There have been a lot of lessons that I have had to learn the hard way while developing my business.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
Owning a business is a lot about having grit and knowing some things are outside of your control. An example is when Target called and decided to double our inventory size with us. We did not have enough products at the time but instead of giving up I gathered a group of Marines and we spent 48 hours straight busting our butts to create enough products and to get everything sent out on a semi in time.
I now know to expect challenges to arise and to just figure it out as you go. I have built that mentality within my team, to not be afraid to make mistakes and to do whatever it takes to make things happen. This is a part of our culture.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I would have to say being a mom and a wife, it is hard work but it is also the most rewarding. My relationship with my husband Thomas has not always been easy due to our circumstances but we have always worked very hard at our relationship and have done whatever it takes to make it work.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
I really like to ask people “What are you passionate about?”. This company was created to help women and at the end of my day I want people on my team who are passionate about our mission. I believe passion drives everything that we do. I try to conduct the interview process as a relaxed conversation so I can gage how passionate they feel about our company.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
We have gained a lot of attention being a company that is within the wellness space. People are paying more attention to their health and what they are putting into their body. Because of this we have seen a lot of growth.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We want to be the #1 brand within the women’s wellness space. We are really narrowing our focus to create the most innovative and quality products for our consumers. We are customer OBSESSED and we want to create a community that supports women throughout every stage of their life.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
How important it is to have a singular focus to become #1. We have tried a lot of different avenues with the company this year and have found that it is really important for everyone on our team to be moving in the same direction. This can be extremely challenging when people are working remote, so we have had to learn how to establish excellent communication skills.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
There are so many things I wish I would have known then, that I know now but I think you have to learn from experience. Something I wish I knew is how important it is for a brand to be intentional… knowing the exact logo, color, and design would have saved us a lot of money. Also, finding the right team is so crucial to success. People are very important to the culture you create and I’m learning that as we’re continuing to grow and build the team. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what skills someone has, if they aren’t the right fit for the team and environment it just isn’t going to work. One bad hire can sour the entire team, and you need to acknowledge it right away.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
My kids are always keeping me grounded and humble. I also think that it is important to not be afraid to laugh at yourself and make mistakes.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
As a business owner and the mother of five kids, I HAVE to prioritize my day. This requires keeping perspective on what I think is important in life and finding a way to balance it all. There is always more work to be done for the business, but my kids will only be kids for so long. I have to look at what I want to accomplish every day and prioritize when and where I will give my attention. You have to know if you are saying yes to something you are going to say no to something else.
You also have to figure out what works best for you even if it goes against the mainstream. I chose to homeschool my kids so that we could all travel together and go and see different things. I am a big believer in doing what is best for you and adapting as it changes.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I am not the best driver! I failed my drivers test 5 times and I only passed when the driver instructor said that he would pass me if I gave him my mother’s phone number. So sure enough, I did!
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Get enough sleep.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means embracing your feminine qualities in business and using them as a strength! When people think of entrepreneurship there are stereotypical ways that you are expected to act, but using your feminine qualities such as intuition and vulnerability can be a strength in creating your business.