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In Conversation with Nicole Kraft of Bellamare Designs

Describe your business in a few words?

Personalized handmade sentiments.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I have wanted to start my own business for many years, but making the first stride felt inconceivable. It was only when I stopped making excuses as to why not or when to that I found myself saying “just do it.” I had been a stay at home mom for 20 years and loved it. I knew I wanted to continue to be home with my children, but I also wanted to explore my creative side and start a business. That is when I decided to start Bellamare Designs.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I have always enjoyed home decor & DIY projects as a hobby while also helping friends with making style decisions in their homes. My business is basically home-grown and home-made.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I have always enjoyed home decor & DIY projects as a hobby while also helping friends with making style decisions in their homes. My business is basically home-grown and home-made.

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?

When I first launched my business, I created my Instagram account and advertised there by posting stories, posts and hosting giveaways! I do think my marketing worked well, especially after I was able to grow my following and get the word out.

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?

I used to do things over and over, thinking it was never going to be perfect. Once I started getting good feedback from my customers, I realized I was being too hard on myself and gained more and more confidence. I learned that it is so important to connect with your customers in business. It is the little personal things that make a big difference, such as a handwritten thank you note, and a beautiful packaged item.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

I am most proud of my perseverance and belief in what my small business is capable of. As a beginner without the financial back up that most businesses start with, I am proud of the problem solving and innovative tactics I have coined in the process of marketing my own business.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

I am very fortunate to have a business where I am able to work from home. Most things I create are made to order and I can do them all while helping my kids with homeschooling.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

Over the next few years, I hope to expand my inventory and create new styles as well as grow my social media account.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

The biggest lesson I have learned is that I can do anything I set my mind to do. There is never a perfect time to do anything, so if you want to grow and succeed you just need to take that first step and trust the process along the way. Learn and grow from any mistakes or setbacks and begin again the next day!

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

I wish I would have known the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment my business would give me so I would have started it sooner.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

I have continued to stay grounded through constant prayer and a meditation practice. I also find it helpful and important to focus on gratitude.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Absolutely, you have to separate the two. It is easy to get caught up in the work we have to do, but must set boundaries to create a balance. My best tips are to create a list of some tasks you would like to accomplish in your day. Only put what you know is achievable and focus on getting that done. Anything extra you get done after that list is complete is a bonus. Try to make self care a priority in your life. Whatever self care means to you, it is important to tend to yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself for others.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I love to bake and cook and I had a cooking blog called Bliss N Tell.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

1. Planning for the next day and making a list of what I would like to get done.

2. Setting time frames to get things accomplished.

3. Putting your phone away so you can focus on what you need to accomplish.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

It means a lot to me to be considered amongst other business women and taken seriously as a small, local business. Everyone who takes the leap to do something is considered an Entreprenista, not just the successful, well-known names, but the everyday mother like myself.

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