This week, I’m featuring my interview with Jackie Walter, owner of Sprinkles & Confetti, a Minneapolis-based company that offers curated party supplies to save you time and stress. And, Jackie’s story is a master-class in learning how to hustle with heart.
Celebrations certainly look a little different these days. But, people are still pausing to celebrate important moments in creative ways. I’ve seen people in my neighborhood do drive-by birthday parades, share holiday wishes on signs in their windows, and even deliver surprise bundles of balloons to people’s front doors.
Amidst all the stress and frustration of the moment, there are little sparks of joy all around us. And, that’s why I wanted to talk to Jackie – because her party supply business, Sprinkles & Confetti, is all about bringing joy to stressed and busy people.
You can support Sprinkles & Confetti by ordering a custom party box, a balloon bundle, one of her new party-in-place kits, or – if you’re not ready to party right now – by signing up for her mailing list to get just-in-time-for-your-next-party discounts.
For more on why I’m doing these interviews, see my last article: How to Help in the Pandemic. And, stay tuned for more interviews in the coming weeks. You can also read my last interview: 4 Simple Reasons Why I Absolutely Love Cardigan Donuts.
Here are 3 important muscles you need to hustle with heart.
MUSCLE 1: COMBINE EMPATHY WITH CURIOSITY
A classic entrepreneurial skill is the ability to spot opportunities through observation. To hustle with heart, you have to learn to see “gold in the red.” Here’s what I mean:
As you talk to your consumer, you need to lead with empathetic questions, like:
- What challenges get in their way?
- What slows them down in trying to do what they need to do?
- How do they actually feel when they’re done? How do they want to feel?
- What doubts or frustrations creep in for them?
These questions help you understand the problem – the red – from their point of view. Once you’ve done that, the opportunity – the gold – becomes fairly obvious.
“I would see friends stress about planning parties, making everyone happy except themselves. Celebrations are meant to be fun, joyful, and, well, a time to celebrate. But, the reality is moms are busier than ever, many juggling work and family responsibilities. It’s not so fun to spend your after work hours running errands or scouring the web to create a memorable party only to be exhausted by the time the party arrives.”
There’s the red. And, here’s the gold:
“I wanted to put the joy back in parties. So, Sprinkles & Confetti is about saving people time & stress. No more endless hours of inspiration browsing. Save yourself the time of errands running. And, get excited when your party package is delivered right to your doorstep. Sprinkles & Confetti is more than just memorable parties, it’s helping others find joy in each celebration they host.”
For more on using empathy to drive business decisions, check out one of my previous articles: How Empathy Will Make You a Better Business Owner.
MUSCLE 2: MAKE ACTIVE CHOICES THAT REFLECT WHO YOU ARE
New business owners have so many decisions to make – about their products or services, the strategy and direction of their business, and much more. Sometimes, you’ll have to move quickly when the ground underneath you starts to shift. When that happens, you’ve got to make choices that are in alignment with what’s in your heart.
For example, I asked Jackie how the pandemic is impacting her business right now. Here’s what she shared:
“Well, as a business that thrives on social gatherings, parties, and celebrations the impacts of COVID-19 are extremely significant on my business and can be felt by my vendors, contractors, and creative network. I quickly realized that I would need to make a choice on how to react. I could feel sorry that all the positive momentum of the last few months and years had come tumbling down or I could believe in the mission of Sprinkles & Confetti as a brand and find a way to still spread joy one household at a time.”
Guess which one she chose?
“I choose joy. Ironically, ‘joy’ is the word I had picked to be “my word” for 2020. Little did I know how difficult it would be to live up to that standard. So, I’ve decided to let Sprinkles & Confetti be a resource, a reliable option, and an outlet for those families still looking to celebrate. Of course, the needs of my customers will be different – I’ve even had to create a whole new business category for local front porch balloon drop offs – but, at the end of the day, I want Sprinkles & Confetti to be remembered for staying relatable and optimistic. In all this uncertainty and chaos, we still need a moment to look forward to. In fact, now more than ever people are looking for a way to celebrate the ones they love from afar. It’s only natural that I help them create those new special moments now too.”
By the way, Sprinkles & Confetti also donates a portion of their proceeds to support The Birthday Party Project, which brings joy to children in homeless and transitional shelters through the magic of birthdays. Just one more way Jackie shows us how to hustle with heart.
MUSCLE 3: BE HONEST WITH WHERE YOU’RE AT
To have sustained progress when starting a business, you’ll need to regularly engage in ongoing self-reflection. If you feel paralyzed or uncertain, don’t bottle it up. It’ll spill over into your work. To hustle with heart, recognize where you’re at and what you need.
Here’s Jackie again:
“I’m not sure that many business owner’s plans come to fruition just the way they planned them, but there is something so gratifying in creating a business, a product, or a dream that you can call yours. My advice would be: ask for help. The amount of things to learn as a new entrepreneur is overwhelming and, at times, it can become paralyzing, but the amount of help and support I have received along the way is enlightening. Being vulnerable and asking for help when needed has led me to new mentors, big ideas, new friends, and a new perspective on what community really means.”
It’s also important to recognize that your business journey is unique to you. Don’t follow someone else’s definition of success. Make your own:
“I have a vision of success and a roadmap in place, but I’m realistic enough to understand that my version of a success story won’t be written overnight. In my business journey, I believe starting Sprinkles & Confetti as a side hustle before moving to a full time business has allowed me to take calculated risks, grow slowly and smartly, and balance the many responsibilities as a business owner with the lifestyle my family and I want and need. Finding this balance is a constant re-evaluation of our short and long term goals, but for now it has allowed me the opportunity to continue to grow the business, give back to the community, mentor, volunteer, and build a brand I’m proud of.”
Do you want to build these and other muscles and learn to hustle with heart? Do you want to start and grow your business with confidence? Head over to the Start Your Business page to learn more.
PLAN YOUR NEXT PARTY WITH SPRINKLES & CONFETTI TODAY
Sprinkles & Confetti is open for business, check out Jackie’s website for details on all of her products, including her Party-in-Place kits. You can also follow @sprinkles_and_confetti on Instagram for a little party inspiration. I want to thank Jackie for taking the time to talk with me, for sharing her story, and for continuing to be a source of joy.
Stay tuned for more, right here on the 321 Liftoff blog.
Next week, I’ll share my interview with another small business owner in the Twin Cities – Lauren Kirkbride and her business: Lauren Kirkbride Photography.
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ONE MORE THING
Starting and growing a business is not a straight line. It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok. It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself. And, that’s why it’s worth it.