I’m shining the spotlight on some of the many amazing women entrepreneurs that I’ve had he pleasure of meeting. Today’s Spotlight interview is on the fabulous Liz Ulmer, founder of Eye Candy Design Studio.
What kind of business do you have?
My business is called Eye Candy Design Studio. I started it with my three daughters and it was born out of a love of creating jewelry and also teaching others to not only make jewelry, but to tap into their inner artist. We do mobile make-it-yourself jewelry parties for kids, tweens, teens & adults and also provide party kits for customers who are not local. I love that we provide creative and unique parties for kids, but also that we help adults take time out of their crazy-busy, fast-paced lives to gather, connect & create, kind of like an old-fashioned quilting bee except that you leave with bling instead of a blanket!
What was your dream and how long have you had that dream?
For as long as I can remember I have dreamed of having my own business. I was the kid selling lemonade and ribbon hair barrettes in elementary school. What that business looked like changed many times throughout the years – anything that I became interested in or, usually in my case, obsessed with, became the basis for a new business idea. I would say I had enormous desire but for a long time no solid direction. Of all the “shiny objects” I chased, however, I kept coming back to my love of creating things, so eventually I realized that was the right path for me to follow.
What held you back from pursuing your dream?
Two words…Limiting Beliefs. I was full of them! I was not raised to go off and “live my dreams.” It was expected of me to grow up to be responsible and get a “real job.” Although I was never truly happy having these real jobs – quite miserable most of the time, actually – even on the rare occasion that I did enjoy what I was doing (accounting, if you can believe it), as a single mom I truly embraced the “responsible” lifestyle of a regular paycheck and tried to stifle my dreams of self-employment and freedom.
What was the turning point? What made you take that leap?
Ironically, the same thing that kept me locked into my soul-sucking job (feeling obligated to my kids) is ultimately what became the straw that broke the camel’s back. Yes, I wanted to provide for my daughters and show them how to be responsible, but I also desperately wanted be home when they got home from school and be there when they needed me. I wanted them to learn how important it is to follow your dreams and do something that makes you HAPPY, even if it means sacrificing in other areas or not “keeping up with the Joneses.” I had become increasingly miserable in the job I had and with the ownership of the small company I worked for, but quitting outright wasn’t an option and I could never quite bring myself to look for another JOB because I knew in my heart what I really wanted was to give my dream wings.
My “leap” was getting laid off (maybe more of a push!), and it was the biggest blessing ever. Looking back, given the financial position of the company, I think getting laid off had been my exit strategy for some time; however unorthodox, I needed the safety net of unemployment while I gave myself the chance to follow my dream and build a business.
You received coaching. Did you find it helpful in any way?
I cannot overstate the value of coaching. I can honestly say that it was a game-changer. When you have these big dreams and they are all you can think about or talk about – they dominate your waking and sleeping hours and you literally vibrate with excitement – you want and expect your friends and family to shower your with support and encouragement. When that doesn’t happen – when they are indifferent or worse, critical – it can be like hitting a brick wall at top speed…face first. Suddenly, their doubts become yours, and the dream begins to tarnish. Enter the coach. A coach is all about YOU! She is your cheerleader, sounding board, guidance system, and mentor all in one. Lauren was instrumental in helping me overcome my limiting beliefs and start believing in myself and my ability to make my dreams come true. Working with her
Any advice for other women who haven’t taken the leap?
My advice first and foremost is to find a support system outside of your friends and family. Obviously, I recommend a coach or a coaching group – the feedback and energy will put you light years ahead of trying to do it on your own. My next piece of advice is to make a plan and take small, consistent steps toward your goals Every.Single.Day. It may not seem like much in the beginning, but one day you will look back and realize you have climbed a long way up that mountain you may have once thought unsurmountable, and girl, the view is FANTASTIC!!! Finally, my last piece of advice is to START TODAY, from wherever you are. You will never regret it!
What’s your contact info?