Small businesses are a vital part of our economy, they’re responsible for over 40% of the GDP and employ almost half of the American workforce. However, small businesses aren’t just an economic force, they also have a deeply personal effect on the lives of the person who created them and their family.
Behind every small business is someone with the courage to pursue their dream and improve their lives. This holiday season, we checked in with our makers and asked them how starting a small business has helped them and their families.
1) Tatiana & Nate Alder, Owners of Fuze Body
Our company has provided a source of income for our family and the families of others that struggled to find flexible work. We get to spend all the time in the world together as husband and wife and our little girls get to learn early on about entrepreneurship and creating meaningful new products.
We hope to one day create entrepreneur training and funding programs in low income areas of the US and other developing countries. We’d start with my home country of Brazil, with a special focus on helping women and single moms.
2) Bobby & Jenni Mills, founders of Studio 29 Eleven
We are able to work and spend time together.
3) Erik Howe, co-founder of SIC Cups
Owning my own business allows me to work remotely which means I rarely miss any events with my kids, from meeting them at school for lunch, to all extracurricular activities. It also has afforded us the opportunity to spend the summer in the mountains of North Carolina, being outdoors, hiking, exploring, and spending quality family time.
4) Brian & Megan Dalrymple, founders of Anchored NW Candle Co.
For us, owning our own business has helped us to have a common goal that we can work toward and be proud of. We communicate more and take pride in creating something that people can enjoy, and that brings a smile to our faces. In addition, our kiddos have joined in certain aspects of our business, contributing in small but helpful ways.
5) Jamah Dacus, founder of ModestMix Teas
It has given me the freedom to create my ideal schedule so I’m able to spend quality time with the ones I love.
6) Cathleen Miller, founder of Catalina’s Cottage
Our success this year was solely dependent on the support from our family in meeting production and handling needs for our customers. Our families are so supportive of what we do, it’s all hands on deck when big things occur and deadlines need to be met. It has brought us together and everyone is so proud of the success of Catalina’s Cottage.
Many of our product lines are named after Catalina’s grandchildren! They are young, but very proud of that! Together we did a few local markets so we could do meet and greets with many of our local customers. It was highly successful and the whole family got involved. Everyone loved meeting the grandchildren and have them talk about “their” product lines. We are truly a family company.
7) John Bronson and Femke Veelenturf, founders of Finger Licking Dutch Caramel Stroopwafels
Owning a business has allowed us to work together and set our own schedule. The flexibility to run business in the manner we do has allowed us to travel and spend more time with our family, friends, and meet some amazing people along the way both professionally and personally.
We definitely work a lot more than a traditional work day but, we do so in the comfort of our own environment, which makes it feel less like work.
8) Nikki Smith, founder of Nikki Smith Designs
I have a baby, so 2019 was really the year of becoming a parent! My business gave me the flexibility to spend more time home with him when needed and it also helped me get away to focus on something else and stay sane! Owning a business and being a mom has taken a lot of personal growth and time management, I really admire everyone doing it – it’s a huge accomplishment!
9) Erika Henik, founder of Sweet on Vermont
Sweet on Vermont has enabled me to expose my children to entrepreneurship and the joys and responsibilities of owning a business. They are proud whenever we add a new customer or make a yummy special product for a holiday or other occasion.
My family loves to come to fairs and expos with me and give out samples of our products. People who come to our table tell me what passionate and well-spoken salespeople my kids are.
I think watching me run SoV and participating in some of our activities imparts skills, insights, and lessons that will serve my children as they grow up. And who knows? Maybe one of them will take over the family business someday!
10) Erin Rose Myers, co-founder of Lush Wine Mix
As an army spouse, it can be tough to have a regular 9-5 job with kids because your spouse’s day to day hours are so unpredictable, not to mention field trainings and deployments. Lush has allowed me to have a creative outlet, as well as help provide financially for our family.
Owning our own business allows me to work from home most of the time so I can still be present to meet the needs of our family throughout the day. I also love that our son is seeing firsthand what it means to work hard at something and to see the fruits of your labor.
11) Alexis Trembone, founder of The Bedford Life
My business has helped me and my family tremendously. Almost 20 years ago, my father had a stroke which left him with severely impaired mobility and speech. I moved home to take care of him, but quickly realized I also had to make money, so I taught myself how to sew and started selling my products. I was a handbag designer prior to The Bedford Life.
Although I launched The Bedford Life almost a decade after my Dad got sick, it has given me the flexibility to help with his care over the years. We always cooked together, so two years ago I got a crazy idea to make a few cooking videos starring my dad for The Bedford Life’s YouTube Channel.
As soon as he knows that the camera is on, he just lights up and it couldn’t make me happier. Icing on the cake? My mom also stars in a few videos, sharing her awesome gardening tips and tricks. It was the perfect way to include my parents in my business.
Do we have a million followers? No, we don’t even have a thousand, but we have so much fun working together while making memories and that’s what is most important.