Detroit Mom’s Local Love series highlights local women and the businesses they have built. We love supporting small business! Today’s Local Love Spotlight belongs to Julie McInerney, owner of Sweet Mitten Dreams!
We asked Julie to share a few fun facts about herself with us so we could get to know her a little bit better.
- She learned how to sew, which led her to the creation of her teepee business!
- She’s a Coca-Cola lover!
- She could live in her robe.
We also asked Julie to share a little bit more about her business with us. Get to know her and her business, Sweet Mitten Dreams, below!
How did you come up with the idea of your business, and how did you start?
“After my my husband lost his job in 2019, we both found ourselves looking at what our next chapter was going to be. I was a stay-at-home mom, and we didn’t really know what he wanted to do next, so we looked at each other one day and said, ‘Let’s start a business.’ After learning how to sew in late 2019, I quickly realized my enjoyment out of creating things and doing DIY. When the pandemic started in March 2020 I sewed teepee tents for my three kids, shared it on social media, and everyone loved it. I decided after browsing Pinterest that I could make this newfound hobby into a business, so I did!
“Our business started after four months of research, website design, and many hours spent on my sewing machine. I first got feedback from family and friends who tested my teepees and once I made a few tweaks, I announced the business on social media. My first sleepover was from a second cousin of mine in Beverly Hills. I’ll never forget it.”
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?
“Yes! Of course, there is always room for growth. I’d suggest new business owners to spend time getting organized and your systems up and running before launching. Make sure your marketing strategy is figured out, you’ve built automations, an e-mail campaign, etc. It’s important because if your business takes off, you don’t want to have to back track. I actually have a course I’m taking currently and promoting to help businesses with this before they get started. I’m here for info if you’re ready to learn!”
What is the best business advice you’ve ever been given?
“That it’s a marathon and not a race. When you are excited about your business you assume everyone else is going to love it and want to be a part of it. You need to nurture relationships and share your concept with others after those relationships have been formed. People buy from people they trust. Things don’t just happen overnight, so you need to be patient with the process.”
“I haven’t felt that in this industry actually. If anything, I’ve felt it from my ‘competition.’ Unfortunately, I’ve faced more adversity from other women which makes me sad. When people feel threatened they [choose] to direct that emotion towards the wrong things and people. I handled that by just staying in my lane and [being] focused on what I knew I could bring to my community to bring joy. That’s all that matters. It’s worked so far, I think it’s a great strategy.”
How do you persevere in challenging times?
“Remembering my ‘why.’ Remembering the feeling I get when I do a setup for a family and I hear giggles and see smiles and watch kids hug their moms because they are so happy their vision came to life. That’s everything to me. It’s a rewarding job.”
What impact do you want your business to have?
“I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of so many special memories. Some really fun, some sad believe it or not. But I want people to walk away after they experience our product and service and want to do it again! I want them to talk about it for years to come!”
“I feel like there are more pros than cons. Pros: Diversity perspective, strong networking opportunities, potential for empowerment and impact, ability to inspire and mentor other women, [and] opportunity to contribute to gender equality in entrepreneurship.
“Cons: Gender bias and discrimination, work-life balance challenges, [and] limited access to funding and resources.”
What knowledge would you share with someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?
“My biggest piece of advice is to remember you’ll always be learning and growing. That’s why I invested in a marketing course and I’m now looking to scale my current business to make multiple streams of income. I’m always learning. It’s a journey.”
What do you do for personal and professional development?
“For personal and professional growth I have been doing business coaching calls, taking digital courses, and am in the process of speaking with another female biz owner about a podcast opportunity! I love how much this business has opened up doors for me for new things.”
“Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.”
What’s your favorite place in Detroit or Michigan?