Linda Adams has been building her small business, Tie-Dye and More, on a part-time basis for nearly seven years. The Laporte, Colo.-based craftswoman offers tie-dye, embroidery, and silk-screening services and sells hand-made items from regional artisans.
This summer, Adams quit her job as an administrative assistant at a university and her husband, John, left behind his career as a gas and hydro turbine engineer so they could run the company full-time. The GoPayment Blog recently caught up with Linda to talk about their transition into full-time entrepreneurship.
GoPayment: You both quit your jobs despite the tough economy. Why now?
Adams: John and I discussed our goals. We want to be self-sufficient, not relying on those “good jobs.” We want to be more in control of our own destiny and not subject to the whims of the economy or an employer. If we make it or don’t, we want it to be based on our efforts.
We are now totally dependent on the business for income. I know I could go back to the university if I wanted to, but I don’t want to.
What’s your strategy for growing the business?
Everything we do is done by hand, custom-made. My husband embroiders on anything — vinyl on a car, bookmarks, anything. I tie-dye T-shirts, linens, socks, long johns, hoodies, for everybody from birth to death, from size small to 5X. I’m working on a special package for the holidays that includes a receiving blanket, onesy, socks, and a teddy bear that matches. Hopefully, new grandparents won’t be able to resist them.
You will find us at music festivals, holiday shows, harvest festivals — we like to travel. We are slowly rolling out products on Etsy.com. We spent the last year trying to develop a website, but we’re more creative than technical, so we don’t have a real website yet. We get a lot of word-of-mouth business. Some people just show up at our home.
How is the transition going from part-time to full-time entrepreneur?
The issue is time. There’s not enough time. I struggle to balance trying to do the books, the paperwork, and the creative. It’s just my husband and daughter (who works part-time) in the business. I put in 10 hours a day and work every day. Five days a week, I twist and design; on weekends, we are selling at events.
Where did the inspiration to start your business come from?
It happened by accident. I had a small internet cafe, and a friend of mine did tie-dye and asked if I would sell her stuff in the store. After we closed our cafe, my friend got carpal tunnel syndrome, and she could no longer do the tie-dye. I was already booked to sell her things at festivals, so I learned how to tie-dye and went on. I still keep that first shirt I tie-dyed hanging up to remind myself how far I’ve come.
What sets you a part from competitors?
What distinguishes us is quality. We use good products, and we’re steering toward U.S.-made materials — shirts and hoodies — to keep costs down. People tell us that our colors are unique. They can tell the quality: That’s what keeps them coming back.
How has using GoPayment affected your business?
It’s been a godsend. I had a merchant services account with my bank, but I was charged a monthly fee of $45 whether I used the services or not. With GoPayment, I pay about half what I did at my bank, and if I don’t have any transactions, I don’t pay anything.
GoPayment is perfect for us to use at festivals. It gives us flexibility while we decide what we want to be when we grow up.