Owner-maker Lindsey Phillips has spent the past three years slowly growing her artisanal hobby into the successful business it is today. Like many entrepreneurs, Phillips was starting down a professional career path when she felt called to do something else — something more.
“I never considered myself to be ‘creative,’ even though I was always creating. I would see a fancy handbag that cost $100, and instead of buying it I would try to make it myself. Then I started to sell them. At first, I was trying to think of something bigger, but at
the same time I was making and selling bags without a lot of effort. Eventually, I realized it was ‘Meant’ to be,” Phillips said.
Meant Manufacturing had more sales in the final quarter of 2017 than in all of 2016. Phillips has also learned through growing pains of selling more product, such as dealing with her first incensed customer and the misleading, 1-star review they left for Phillips on Amazon.
Experience in the RAIN Coastal Pre-Accelerator
Prior to going through the RAIN Pre-Accelerator, Phillips made each product step-by-step and only listed it for sale once it was finished. However, during the program, she made two profitable changes to her process. First, she increased the inventory on her website by listing products that were not yet made. And second, she began to pre-make some elements of those products, which significantly reduced her overall production time.
“The Pre-Accelerator was awesome. At times it was overwhelming, but I knew it would be worth it. The connections I made have been so helpful. Everyone was genuinely invested in helping you succeed, and that has continued even after graduation,” Phillips said.
With the holiday season now in her rearview, Phillips can concentrate on implementing some long-term improvements. She wants to increase her capacity by adding more machines and training more employees. She also wants to enhance the buyer’s experience with a few polishing touches, such as including care instructions with each product.
Oregon RAIN serves entrepreneurs in Oregon's South Willamette Valley and Mid-Coast by connecting them to resources and partners that can help them turn ideas into thriving, local traded-sector companies.