Start Small: Pretty Pallets, Part 1[ Edited ]
September 2016 - last edited September 2016 by Brielle B
Introducing "Start Small", a new content series spotlighting a small business that is just starting out. We're following P from Day 1 and exploring all the highs and lows that come with starting a new small biz from scratch.
In this interview series, we’re checking in periodically with a fledgling business as they go from start to success. Pretty Pallets, a Santa Clara pallet painting party company, is just over a month old. We’re following along from day one with owner Jesse Jones-Patrick as she learns and launches her small business.
Where did this idea come from?
I first heard of pallet painting parties from a friend who attended one in Detroit. It’s a simple idea — you attend a party with friends, choose a template and paint your own customized art on a rustic pallet (wooden sign). At the end of the day you go home with a unique piece of art that YOU made. When I did a Google search for it in the SF Bay Area, I couldn’t find anything like it. I thought, “I’m crafty enough to figure this out.” So my sisters and I gave it a shot and launched the business.
What kind of planning have you done?
I started researching what I’d need to do to make this successful: where I would get the supplies, what I would need to host a party, how much would a party cost, how much would I charge, what are my potential profits, where the heck am I going to host the parties? Then, I created a business plan using the SBA’s basic wizard so I’d have some sort of a roadmap.
Tell us about the paperwork. I’m sure there was a lot of it.
I researched trademarking my business name, filing the fictitious business name, and extending it to other states & cities. At one point, I had to get authorization from city planning and was immediately told "no.” I thought about giving up (and crying) but then I met with another small business owner and we brainstormed ways to run the business while staying within the guidelines. When I went back to the city, I was clear and concise. This time, I got a “congratulations” and an approval.
What mistakes have you made and what were the repercussions?
I get a little excited and cut corners sometimes, and I pay the consequences. Recently, it’s been botched products or designs that take me twice as long to make and costs me more in materials. You know what people say — “measure twice, cut once” or “the devil is in the details.” I know now that those people had to have been business owners.
Progress report questions
What’s the biggest challenge keeping you up at night?
Getting people to find me, particularly on Google Search and Maps. If my customers don’t know I exist, I can’t expect to be successful.
What’s your biggest accomplishment so far?
Honestly, all of it! Launching the website, creating the templates and designs for the pallets, creating the website content... it’s all been a super awesome experience. We’re still in the infancy and we have big plans for the future.
What surprised you the most about the process so far?
How quickly we went from an idea pitched over Google Chat to “Boom! Now we have a business!”
What’s your next step?
We're currently planning our official launch party and are looking to launch in more states soon. Stay tuned!
Originally published March, 2016