12823086_10153864356380726_688764507_oMEET CAYTEE
Hello everyone. My name is Caytee and I am the creator of Caytee’s Crafts (www.cayteelynn.etsy.com). I specialize in personalized pillows and most recently the novel and unique TinyTalk pillow.

I have always been ‘the crazy girl’ with some new idea brewing in my mind with creativity working its way through my fingertips. I have done so many side jobs, it’s almost ridiculous. I worked at a credit union a decade ago and still design their newsletter.  I started a business once making and selling camping pads. Along with a myriad of other crazy startups. But I didn’t necessarily have to.

I always did well in school and actually graduated with honors with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Right out of nursing school, I worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I absolutely loved my job and I still swear to this day that the NICU is the best kept secret of nursing. I keep in touch with lots of ‘my babies’ as I’ve watched them grow into toddlerhood, start school and become wonderful human beings.

But working night shifts with young kids is hard. Let me rephrase that. Working night shifts with young kids, with a husband working endless hours, running a pillow business from home, voluntarily leading a youth group through church and being pregnant… Is hard. I was spreading myself unbearably thin and felt like I was going to crumble. So I had to say goodbye to something. It was such a hard decision. My family is my most valuable treasure and I knew that whatever my choice was, they would always come first. So last February, I decided to leave nursing, and ‘my babies’…for a season.

12192739_10153864358185726_1204615247_oRUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS
Caytee’s Crafts offered me a unique opportunity to be home with my littles while still being able to bring in some income. Not to mention it allowed an outlet for my creative mind. At the time, we lived right outside of Washington DC where the cost of living was extremely high. The small pillows were truly a blessing to me.

Now, there are definite pros and cons to owning a business and running it out of your home.  Yes, it provides me with a unique opportunity.  It offers me flexibility to be with my children and be a constant in their lives. For me, that alone is worth it. Though it’s not easy. The part that many people don’t see is all the behind-the-scenes work. You can’t own a business without becoming an expert in accounting, marketing, taxes, photographing, designing. Let alone the time it takes to keep your supplies stocked, communicating with customers and other odds and ends. All while trying to take care of three young children who have so many needs of their own. My children are trained in carrying packages into the Post Office. Often times, when I am answering messages from customers, I have a little one in my arms. There is so much more than a “cha ching” from your phone every time a sale comes in for me. But, it’s through the sweat, the sleepless nights, and the frustration that makes the success and joy of owning my own business sweeter. Just as the sacrifices you make for your children makes your love for them grow exponentially.

CAYTEE’S CRAFTS
Caytee’s Crafts has always specialized in small decorative, personalized pillows. We have had nearly 4,000 sales and have shipped them to countries all over the world. It’s also offered me an opportunity to be a part of people’s lives and sharing a bit of my ‘crazy’ creative endeavor with them.  Every pillow I send, is sent with love and a piece of me.

12822648_10153864355720726_1880433235_oMost recently, I introduced the TinyTalk pillow which is a 3”x3” pillow that has a special message written on it and sent directly to its recipient in a beautiful package. You could say that the memory of my “tiny babies” in the NICU were my inspiration of the TinyTalk pillows. They have become an instant hit and we’ve been asked to start doing large custom orders for large event favors as well.

Well, you’ve learned a little bit about me and my pillow business.  Would I do it all over again? Heck yes. If you are thinking of doing a business yourself, a few words of advice. Are you ‘crazy’? If so, go for it!

You can find Caytee’s Crafts on:

Etsy

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

This post is part of our Parenting and Running a Small Business Series. Check out other posts in this series:

Balancing running a small business and running a family

The secret to integrating your family and your business