In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Jasmine Shah & Yana Kaszubska, the design girl and numbers girl for Crated. Crated sells premium party supplies & party boxes, is based in Atlanta, Georgia and has been in business for over five years. Shop party supplies here.
Abound: Why did you decide to start this business? Why this business and not a different one?
Jasmine & Yana: To encourage people to celebrate life more! To be readily available in many places, especially in non-traditional ones, to be able to reach even more people and remind them to celebrate. The important milestones, the silly things, the first 10k race, celebrate everything!
Having been in the event planning business since 2011, we have extensive experience with the world of parties, and we understand the heartbeat of this industry. Designing and manufacturing our own line of premium party supplies was the next natural step in our story!
Abound: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
Jasmine & Yana: Jasmine is the lead designer of our products, along with being the visionary for the brand. She used several Adobe programs to digitally design many variations and concepts for our first round of party boxes.
We printed the prototypes locally, had countless brainstorm meetings, gathered feedback from our friends, families, past event clients and social media followers. We even gold-foiled our samples by hand, so we could be sure the details were just as we envisioned them! When we felt satisfied with this crucial step, we reached out to our production partners, and the first physical sample was born!
Since then, we’ve added many other themed party supplies to our product range. Our customers can now build their own party boxes, or they can purchase our pre-curated boxes to save time, effort and money.
Abound: How do you make your product? Yourself? A manufacturer? What’s your process like?
Jasmine & Yana: Yana is in charge of this department, she works closely with our manufacturing partners to ensure product quality, negotiate the best pricing so we can pass that on to our customers, and carefully manage the shipping timelines.
We begin with sending the designs and specifications to our factories, and then get their expert knowledge on any changes required. This involves choosing the perfect colors, preparing the digital artwork for them to be able to print and cut correctly, designing the appropriate packaging materials, and finally, managing the shipments as they begin arriving to our warehouse.
Abound: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
Jasmine & Yana: Most of our work days start with a range of emotions! We’re pretty sure this is how it must go for most small business owners 🙂 We feel thankful for living our dream, for being able to run a business that benefits our families in more ways than just financially, and for being a part of many celebrations worldwide!
Our most favorite and exciting part is when we start to dream up a new range of party supplies. Jasmine spends a few days making a virtual pinboard of all her ideas, while Yana waits for the big reveal of the final product design!
The least favorite part? When our secret stash of office snacks runs out, ha!
Abound: What was your initial investment? How did you get the money?
Jasmine & Yana: We invested our own personal savings to start the company. Fortunately, we both have husbands and families that supported our vision, and understood the potential of taking this risk!
Abound: Where was the first place you started selling your product?
Jasmine & Yana: In our own online store.
Abound: Where do you sell your product now?
Jasmine & Yana: Besides our own store, we are available on QVC, Etsy, Walmart and via wholesale channels like Abound, Faire, etc.
Abound: Where would you love to sell your products in the future?
Jasmine & Yana: We would love to be easily available where our ideal customers are most likely to be! We want to make it easy for them to find us, to connect with us, and to be inspired to throw a party just because! To name just a few: CVS, Walgreens, FedEx, Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Publix, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s.
Abound: Do you have a favorite product? If so, which one?
Jasmine & Yana: Our current favorite is our Cactus Llama Fiesta party collection! It’s adorable and perfect for birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, bachelorettes, summer parties, just about any party!
Abound: What’s your marketing like? Is social media an important part of your business? If so, how?
Jasmine & Yana: Yes absolutely! We connect with the community via Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. This is how we learn best what our followers want more of, what they like, and also what they don’t like!
Abound: What are some of the most frustrating challenges and/or moments you’ve had with Crated?
Jasmine & Yana: With every big YES we’ve had (and fortunately we’ve had so many!), we have learned to be comfortable with the no’s as well. It’s the reality of any business, and it gives us an opportunity to question how we can do better, what we can improve, who else we can reach out to effectively.
Abound: What are some of your greatest achievements and victories you’ve had with Crated?
One of the things we absolutely treasure, and consider a daily victory, is our relationship with a non-profit organization that throws birthday parties for children experiencing homelessness. We love donating a percentage of our sales every month to support this incredible cause.
Our proudest moments include working with Sara Blakely, singer Monica, Atlanta Falcons player Deion Jones, Operation Shower, Beechnut Foods, the Be Human Foundation, Banana Republic, Pottery Barn and many more!
We were also featured on NBC New York Live as one of the latest “must have” products, on Fox News for being an easy solution for bridal showers with our bridal party boxes, and on Real Simple for being one of the top clever items to simplify your life!
Abound: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
Jasmine & Yana: Before anything else, figure out how you’re going to market your product! Who is your ideal customer? Where do they hang out? How are you going to reach them? How will they learn about your product? How will you convince them to buy it? What will it cost to convince them? Have you priced your product correctly?
Focus on 1 or 2 sales channels at first, whether retail or wholesale or both, don’t spread yourself too thin. And most of all, have patience and faith!
Abound: Is there any business advice or quotes you’ve heard that you think about often?
Jasmine & Yana: If it were truly easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?
Abound: What’s your favorite thing about owning Crated?
Jasmine & Yana: Being moms of young kids, we appreciate the work-life flexibility it provides. The fact that we can work through carpool lines (yes it happens!), rarely have to miss a school event, and can stay home with our kids on sick days means a lot to us!