I want to help you build a sustainable, profitable handmade business that makes you consistent income and sales. I only ever teach or recommend marketing, social media, pricing, production and branding tips that I’ve personally used successfully in my own 7-figure handmade businesses.
I'm Mei, from Los Angeles!
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Disclaimer: this blog post features quotes from my interview with Sheryl Nguyen, with certain parts edited for grammar. Head over to my YouTube video if you want to watch the entire interview.
“Never in a million years would I have ever thought that I would have landed that account. And I probably would have never had the nerve to just pick up the phone or email, which I did both. I emailed and I called and just shrouded in doubt. […]
It was the scariest thing and was also the most rebellious thing because then this little tiny voice was like, ‘You can do this.’ And it was your voice. And I was like, ‘I’m going to do this.’ So I picked up the phone. And I was like, ‘Uh, I’m a brand.’ ‘Do you want to work with me?’ And they’re like, ‘Sure!’”
Filled with grit, confidence, and a rebellious spirit, Sheryl Nguyen from Foxypot has consistently secured one wholesale account after another like it was no big deal, allowing her to sell her handmade botanical products on the shelves of her dream stores.
All it took was a spine-tingling pitch, and the rest is history.Read more: How to get your products in your DREAM STORES without wholesale sites or sales reps
Sheryl Nguyen is one of my students from A Sale A Day Business System. I recently hopped on a YouTube interview with her so we can share her story.
It’s a story about following her passion and being determined to succeed in it no matter what.
Sheryl was an illegal immigrant her whole life.
To her, this felt like she needed to work double time to open doors for herself.
She didn’t have the same opportunities that everybody else had.
From her hard work and innovative spirit, she was able to hone her creative skills.
Her creativity gave her an outlet, a source of inspiration and purpose.
So she turned to nature as her muse.
“Nature was my safe space. Nature was my therapy. Nature gave me a big hug on days where I really, really couldn’t stand being on the earth.”
Sheryl has a deep-seated love for nature.
She has a background in horticulture which allowed her to explore creating custom succulent arrangements for customers.
Working with amazing people and seeing her customers really happy with the arrangements she had made fueled her creativity and inspired her to seek for more things to do.
Her business was doing really well locally.
Now, she wanted to explore selling her products online, but it wasn’t plausible to sell and ship these fragile succulent arrangements.
And a succulent business wasn’t really scalable.
So she redirected herself into making handmade botanical accessories and products.
She still stayed within what she was comfortable with, what she’s passionate about, and what she’s an expert in.
Thus, Foxypot was born.
During the beginning stages of Foxypot, Sheryl was also working a full-time job.
Her side hustle was simply a source of happiness for her, until it came to a point when it didn’t feel right to just have it on the side.
For a lot of creatives, this passion we have for our craft will keep us coming back to it..
Sheryl felt this urge to explore and create something realer and bigger from it.
“I wanted to make good money and I wanted to leave a legacy for my daughter. […] I’m looking at it like she’s seen me struggle and she’s seen me do different things and sometimes it didn’t work out. But this thing has always been a constant inspiration for me. So it was kind of like I took the responsibility to look at it like, how do I show her that I can make this work? And that I can use this creative talent to bring it to life and give it to her one day, whatever it is. And so now it’s finally starting to take shape. And so I’m so excited about that.”
And so we create our own opportunities. We create our own futures and show people that we don’t have to rely on other people to get what we want out of life.
Being a creative person, especially a handmade business owner, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do – if you’re going to chase after your dreams or you’re going to put out the fire.
Most of the time, we should chase after them.
When our hearts are pulled toward our passions, we should listen to that.
“When you listen to it and you follow that path of what you’re passionate [about], only good things can come from there, for you. Not doing something that you just don’t have much happiness doing.”
Like a lot of handmade business owners, Sheryl hopped on to YouTube to binge-watch videos on how to start a handmade business.
The problem with relying on YouTube, she says, is everything you learn will be all over the place.
There’s a lack of structure when it comes to the knowledge you get.
Someone says one thing, and the next person recommends the opposite.
“Nothing is really structured and everything is kind of just a wild, wild west.”
When you go on to free YouTube videos, it’s not linear. You could do this first or that first and it gets confusing.
When Sheryl enrolled in A Sale A Day Business System, she discovered the magic of a structured course.
“You’re one person and there’s so many facets and puzzle pieces out there floating and you’re just like, ‘Oh my goodness, what comes first?’ You know, then where? And then. So it’s all these moving pieces that you have to kind of put together. And when you don’t have a structure, you can get really overwhelmed.
That’s the difference between free YouTube videos and curated experiences.
The latter shows you exactly what to do.
What you do and how you do it are important. Even more important is the timing of which you do things.
Some things come before other things and there is a strategy behind all of that.
Everyone’s experience is not linear, especially outside of a structured course.
And the course is just knowledge.
Ultimately, all of the credit goes to you and your hard work, and you going through the course and implementing, and you trusting and believing that you can do it.
“For years, a big problem for me was, am I doing this right? Am I doing not enough? Am I doing too much here? How do I balance this out?”
Most of the time, we’re bound to feel like we’re groping in the dark.
There’s no one giving you feedback saying things like, “You’re on the right track. Keep going.”
A lot of times, you’re going to second-guess yourself.
We don’t know a lot of things and, in business, this can be disheartening.
Sometimes, out of frustration, we just want someone to tell us what to do and how to do it.
And that’s why we hire mentors or we seek out people who have gone through the same thing we have, people who have the answers to our questions.
“As a creative, you tend to feel alone. Everyone around you is kind of doing their own thing and they have their lives set. But when it comes to being a creative person, you’re kind of just like the odd man out where you don’t have someone to lean on.”
Sheryl admitted in the interview that she didn’t get the support she needed from her family.
“I didn’t get that from my family. I still don’t get that from my family. So I’m like, in a way, this is just a solo thing. Maybe one day they’ll come around. You know, they’re stuck in one tunnel vision of thinking. That’s one way of thinking. And I, I don’t want to be a part of that. I want to create my own story.”
Her family has a certain expectation for Sheryl’s life and career. Her cousins, for example, are doctors and working professionals.
She didn’t want to follow that path for herself.
The community she joined in A Sale A Day has been life-changing for her.
“Just being able to plug in online and feeding into that energy and giving back and receiving and it flows all the time. I think that is such a big part of why you get up in the morning. Sometimes when I don’t feel like it or I’m tired or sometimes it is heavy that day or sometimes I had a really hard week, I can just plug in and be like, I’m just going to get up again and dust myself off and keep going. And every day is a new adventure.”
As cheesy as it may sound, you really need to find your tribe – people who will support you and whom you can support in return.
I asked Sheryl what the most helpful advice she got from the A Sale A Day modules, and her answer was niching down.
“I took a couple of weeks off to just get in my notebook, like, ‘Who am I? What is the core of this?’ So that, you know, jumping into the course that really confronted me with myself to be, like, ‘What is your brand?’ And so the business idea refinement aspect was huge for me because that transformed me. […] I wanted to be in the botanical field and make amazing botanical accessories and I’m just going to have a few items but make them in different colors. […]
It just really just made me look at who I was in the past, present, and then who I was going to be in the future. And I thought I might as well niche down. And it was scary doing that, that was really scary. Shaving everything off, and all the fluff and all the fat. But once I did that, it was so light.”
She also mentioned that the pricing sheet I shared with my students was so helpful to her.
“I had it printed out and I put it in so many areas like I have it in a folder, at the top of my desk, I have it in my desktop, I have it in my phone. So that was such a great tool. And I love having that to work with. And that’s really helped me because I, you know, looked at things like you said on YouTube and they’re not as cohesive. And so just putting in a Google sheet like you did and being able to just plug things in, it was and it made everything so fast, it was so helpful.”
All these catapulted Sheryl into being more confident with her abilities in running her handmade business.
To her, it pushed her forward to tackle the mountains that used to seem so big and conquer them one by one.
A big part of Sheryl’s success is a shift in mindset.
When doing anything, she used to think to herself, “What’s the worst that can happen?”
Now, she twisted it and changed it into “What’s the best that can happen?”
“It’s reframed my thinking to be like ‘stop thinking of the worst thing,’ you know, just go in, be happy, be genuine, be yourself. And people are going to find that to be refreshing and be like, ‘Oh, well, what is that? Let’s try it out and see what happens.’”
As human beings, we live with so much fear because we just want to survive for another day.
We still have this lizard brain in our heads that tells us to do anything to protect ourselves from failure, from falling.
But we don’t live in the caveman era anymore and a dinosaur is not going to eat us.
So we can turn that part of ourselves off even though it’s such a big part of us, to shift from thinking with a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset.
“So my first big dream when I started doing Foxypot was to get my stuff in botanical gardens, places where I love to go on the weekends. These are places that I personally take my daughter to. And this is where we have fun. And she gets to learn about nature and biology. And so it’s not only a place where we hang out, but I’m like, I can see myself in the gift shops. Like I will ruminate in the gift store and be like, poke around and buy all these fun things. And I’m like, ‘Why don’t they have my brand?’ just jokingly.”
Now, she’s wholesaling her products to all those gift shops she once only dreamed of selling to.
Sheryl says that she would have never even thought about being able to do it. She never thought she would have landed those accounts.
“When I was walking up to the gift shop because I was inside freaking out. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t do this.’ And there were ponds and koi fish. And I’m like, so zen, like, I’m doing this. So, you know, I feel like it’s a symbolic full circle moment for me.”
The Fort Worth Botanic Gardens in Texas has this Japanese garden that tourists flock to, especially in the fall, and about 7,000 people go into the gift shop. She has also gotten her products into the Heard Museum, a wildlife sanctuary.
She simply picked up the phone, not knowing what was going to happen, but took control of the conversation.
Then she was invited to come in to show her samples and everyone loved it.
Good things really come to those to take the leap – and do it confidently.
A lot of Sheryl’s confidence comes from seeing fellow handmade business owners succeed.
“So being in the community, being in a group, seeing how everybody else was having success, I was like, I want to taste that. I want to know what that feels like. And so taking that leap of faith really just helped. […] But really if I didn’t have that confidence to be like somebody else, […] I wouldn’t have been able to conjure up the energy or the courage to be like, I’m going to follow in their footsteps and see what I can do in that arena.”
As creative business owners, we will always persist and we will figure things out.
And taking the leap is very scary. I personally feel like I need to know exactly what’s going to happen in all different circumstances.
I need to see it all before I have confidence in doing something. That can really hold someone back.
But if you shift your mindset and take the leap, that’s going to drive you forward so much more.
This is such good advice to her daughter too.
“And I always tell my daughter, you know, because as children, you tend to be scared. And I see that in her in the dark or something. So I would just tell her, like, find comfort in your faith. Have faith in your faith and doubt your doubts. So, now, she says all the time when she’s scared, I’ll hear her whispering it into herself in her room. When something scares her she’d be like ‘Doubt your doubts, have faith in your faith.’”
As I said, doubting yourself is going to hold you back.
There’s no reason you shouldn’t pitch yourself to your dream stores, pitch yourself to your dream publications and magazines. Because why not?
As artists, or maybe it’s a female thing, we think we play it small.
And we think, “Oh, I’m not big enough yet.” or “I’m not making enough sales yet.” or even “I’m not famous yet to do this thing.”
No, you’re already there. You don’t need any of that stuff.
You just need to start with the smaller stores that you feel are less consequential.
Then, if you get a no from them, no big deal.
You move on to the next one just to build up that confidence. But that really is all it is, it’s just a confidence exercise.
If you have all of the foundation set up strong, there’s no reason you shouldn’t just start reaching out and start mingling with the top people.
The reality in life is that success doesn’t follow you around all the time, every single day.
But it is important that we do remember that you’ve come this far and you did all of these things with your own two hands.
And you can keep making that magic happen, because if you’ve done it once you can do it again.
Sheryl is working on a podcast called “Create Your Paradise”, and she wants it to be about using the garden as a mentor, healer, and inspiration in everything you do.
It’s going to be her way of encouraging people to be like, “Hey, if you had really hard times in your life and you didn’t know who to talk to or it was too hard to talk about it or say it out loud, sometimes it was really hard for me to say things out loud because it would hurt. But if I would just go to the garden, something would happen, something would transform and all those dark feelings would just be replaced with sunshine and fresh air and birds chirping.”
This way, she would also feel like her purpose is fulfilled, finally, outside her creative business.
“Yes, it’s great being in stores. Yes, it’s great meeting amazing people and creating beautiful things, but there’s something missing. And I think that what is missing is just leaving that legacy to others you like. I went through dark things in my life, I wasn’t always happy, but you can create your happiness and this is how I did it.”
This is so inspiring and I can’t wait for her podcast to come out.
I asked Sheryl with whom she would recommend A Sale A Day:
“All my friends. All my friends are creatives. I feel like everyone is so creative, especially now on social media. Everyone kind of has a side hustle. So anybody who’s doing any sort of side hustle in the creative space, I would definitely be like, just try it. Just try it out. See how you feel about it, if you don’t like it, you know you have a policy, right? (She’s talking about my two-times money back guarantee policy.)
But I didn’t. I didn’t take that offer. I told you really great things happened. So I think that can happen to anybody. They just apply themselves. It’s not like you said, it’s not just going to pop up out of nowhere and happen for you. You have to put in the work. You have to think about things and make things happen.”
I hope Sheryl’s story can encourage other business owners who might feel uncertain about making these big moves for their businesses.
It inspired me to see her confidence shine through and how her business grew so much because of it.
And I also admire how dedicated she is to leaving a meaningful legacy for her daughter through her business.
PS: If you’re curious about this A Sale A Day program that Sheryl talks about, DM me on Instagram at @creativehiveco with the message “A Sale A Day”, and I can tell you more about it.
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This workshop is for anyone who makes and sells a handmade or physical product, including jewelry designers, artists, paper designers, bath & body product makers and more!
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