Go behind the scenes with some of our favorite makers! We sat down with these entrepreneurs for a deep dive on their businesses, what makes them tick and what they’ve got in store for the future! Join us as we Meet the Maker!
This time, we sat down with Colleen Flinn of Nothing Fancy Supply Co! Let’s dive in.
Q: Give us your back story! What made you want to start your business?
A: Two years ago, I started a Facebook page telling the story of our family’s quest to lower our waste output. With three small children (Cashin, Robyn & Leo) and a husband with a one time use and toss plastic baggie habit, we had tons of room to improve.
I loved the challenge of seeing what I could reuse and do without. Beeswax food wraps fell right in line with my values: old fashioned, natural and reusable. Inspired by the fabrics I saw my mom use to make quilts, I wanted to make wraps not only functional but also beautiful.
With encouragement, I began to sell my wraps. My goal was to make enough money to cover the cost of my monthly yoga studio membership and essential oils. As a stay at home mom, these were considered indulgences that didn’t fit into our one income lifestyle. With a large learning curve ahead of me, I started a business.
Q: Did you come in with experience or did you learn as you went?
A: Very little experience! I was a social worker turned stay at home mom. I grew up on a farm where I was accustomed to earning my own money from a young age. If I wanted a special toy or expensive clothes, I’d pull weeds from fields or clean out a tractor for my dad. Other than creativity and determination, I had zero clue about business, and I’m still learning!
Q: What makes Nothing Fancy Supply unique compared to other companies?
A: Coming from a farm, I saw the difference first hand of buying supplies from other small or family owned businesses versus saving a few bucks from a major manufacturer. All my ingredients (beeswax, pine rosin and jojoba oil) are sourced in the US from small businesses. I’m passionate about sharing what I’ve learned along the way and supporting other entrepreneurs. Without the generosity of others, I wouldn’t have been able to learn and grow my business at the rate I have.
Along with wanting to give back, I also want my customer to be satisfied with their purchase. I only sell what I would be satisfied buying. Lots of wraps are “gifted” to family and friends that don’t make the cut.
Protecting the environment was my primary goal from the beginning, so I’m mindful of the packaging I use, shipping materials and fabric patterns that are year round appropriate. No seasonal patterns here.
Q: What kinds of challenges have you had to overcome as a small business owner and entrepreneur? How do you juggle it all?
A: The curveballs of 2020 have forced most of my business online. I’ve had to overcome a lifetime of low self-esteem and depression to open my life up to my followers online. Taking a selfie or sharing a personal story do not come naturally to me so I’m working through that awkward stage of becoming comfortable online.
As a stay at home mom, I really had to overcome the mom guilt of getting a part time sitter. I’m sure most working moms can relate. I had to acknowledge that I was running a business and not a hobby. Once I got over that, the business and family life began to work together better.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: My husband is my biggest ally. He wakes up early to help me get the kids ready for the day. Then we’re off to school and the babysitter. I come back to my renovated shed turned studio and start answering emails and filling orders while the wax mixture melts. After lunch I begin making wraps then pick up the kids!
Q: Is this your full time job?
A: It becomes more of a full time job every day but I love it!
Q: What are your goals for the future of Nothing Fancy Supply?
A: Our family goal is to grow the business so that my husband and I can run it together. I love that our kids are seeing a business run from the beginning and how we work through the “bumps in the road.”
We hope to be a wholesale only business and offer private label products in the future.
Q: What do you like most about what you do? What keeps you going?
A: I love the freedom I grew up with on a farm. There was always work to do but my parents were able to work their schedules around what was important. My mom stayed at home and is what inspired me to do the same.
With the generational family farm mindset, I hope to build something that I have the opportunity to pass on to my children.
Q: What are you looking forward to most, post-COVID?
A: I can’t wait to get back to in person markets! Talking with customers fills me up and I can’t wait to travel to more markets.
Q: We’re suckers for fun facts! Tell us more about you; share some deep dark secrets!
A: Blame it on my parents’ love for the 1970s, but I love putting on a vinyl, my favorite oil in the diffuser and giving my mind time to wander. Moving my body on a yoga mat or writing my feelings in poetry form, that’s my spiritual experience.
Be sure you check out our virtual market and see if they’re participating; our virtual market vendors often offer up exclusive discounts to our virtual market attendees. Shop small and save! Drop us a comment if you’ve shopped this maker and tag us in your photos when you’re using their goods! Put your money where your heart is and join us as we continue to support small. We believe this artisan is the next big thing, and we’re happy you met them here first!