For years one of our go-to gifts for new mamas and their babes are a pair of Freshly Picked moccassins. Nothing is cuter than a pair if itty bitty booties in a variety of patterns. Rainbows? Check. Cacti? Check. And the most recent pattern selection from fellow HEYMAMA member, Joy Cho in the new Freshly Picked x Oh Joy collaboration are sure to be gifted to all our mamas-to-be this year. With the launch of this new super cute collection, we wanted to chat with the mastermind behind this baby shoe empire, Susan Petersen. Susan shares where she draws her inspiration, what she loves most about her business (and least) and her recommendations for building a company of your own. Read on…
Susan, we are obsessed with Freshly Picked! Congrats on your huge success. Tell us, what was your background and how did you first start your business?
I started Freshly Picked in 2009 when I was a stay-at-home-mom of two. I had a baby boy who’s chubby feet didn’t fit into any baby shoes, nor did I like anything that was in the market at that time. I earned some money, bought some scrap leather at a garage sale, and started to sew, right at my kitchen table. I don’t have a college or business background, so this was such new territory for me!
That is such a great story! Who was your first hire when you realized your demand was exceeding what you could manage yourself? Do you have any tips for making hires?
My first hire was my husband. He was also my first fire, haha! My next hire was someone to ship packages and do customer service. My tip for hiring when you first start out is, do what you do best and hire out the rest. When you’re more established, hire for specific skills – and don’t hire friends and family.
In the beginning you were all about building your buzz with grass roots initiatives. What would you suggest mamas with limited marketing budgets do to build their brand and increase visibility?
Hustle, hustle, hustle. You for sure have everything you need to make it work within your network, you just need to get creative. Gift product, set up tables at festivals, have excellent customer service and be transparent and communicate with your community.
One way you’ve raised visibility has been through your amazing partnerships. You just launched a collaboration with fellow HEYMAMA member, Joy Cho, founder of OhJoy! What is the experience like for you working with other artists and entrepreneurs? Do you have advice for making the collab a success?
Oh Joy is a dream to work with! And yes, collaboration is such a great way to get the word out! You get access to a new audience and especially when the companies gel, the collabs can generate a lot of buzz. I think one way to ensure success is to make sure that both parties are aligned on the goal and expectations are set and clear.
How did you take your business from a start up to today? Can you tell us 3 things that were integral to scaling your business?
Honestly it’s never one thing or even three things. It’s consistently working towards a combined goal. Scale comes from velocity and for us, owning our own US manufacturing facility for our soft sole production has been key.
You have over 840k followers on Instagram (wow!). How have you utilized social media to make an impact for your brand? Any out of the box things you’ve done? Do you have any tips for mamas wanting to grow their following?
The biggest thing that we’ve done across all social media is make our community part of our success story. We celebrate and feature our customers and we are very active. If you’re talking to our brand on social, we’re talking back!
What would our readers be surprised to learn about you? Any hidden talents?
I love organizing and I can beautifully fold fitted sheets with my eyes closed.
Ha! Can you do mine? How has community played a part in your life and business?
What a good question! My personal community is so supportive of what FP as a brand and as a business is doing. Freshly Picked’s online community is so supportive and our customers truly keep our brand booming. We look to them for inspiration on new product and direction for our company.
What is your favorite part about running your own business? The least?
My favorite and my least favorite thing are the same thing. I love being my own boss, I love the flexibility and freedom. I also hate being my own boss! I’m the one who has to make all the big decisions, haha.
Do you have plans to expand your line? What can we look forward to this Fall?
Yes! We’re super excited about what’s coming out later this year. We’re doing a lot of additions to our line of bags which will give moms more options to choose how they style their days out with their babies, and their days out with their friends or on dates with their partners. We’re also getting into some fun new styles of shoes for big kids and moms, and even some new back to school fashion! 2018 is gonna be a big year for us, to say the least!
Freshly Picked x Oh Joy Photos by Lily Glass.
Kids grow out of almost any annoying phase they are going through.
Get help! You don’t have to do everything, and not everything needs to be done perfectly.
Be nice to yourself.