Sunday, September 7, 2008

How It All Got Started

Many of my customers and friends ask me how I started Stacie Dale Designs Inc. so I thought I would give everyone a summary of how it all came to be. In 1992 ( wow, that long ago!) I graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia with a degree in fashion design. I went to work right away as an assistant designer for Alfred Angelo/Christian Dior bridals. I had always wanted to do childrenswear and so I left and started working at Flapdoodles, then SO Fun Inc. and then I started my own line of children's clothing called Seasons In The Sun. What a disaster that turned out to be but I learned so much about running a business that I would never ever want to give up that experience.

I married my husband, Doug in 1995 and went back to work at the only job I could find at the time making prison apparel and hospital gowns ( yes, I said prison apparel) was a low point in my career. Finally a job opened up at The Eagle's Eye where I went to work as a technical designer and I loved the people I worked with....but wasn't all that passionate about the job. While there, my friend Judy had a baby and I needed a gift for her. We didn't have much money back then so I got an unpainted toy chest and painted a Beatrix Potter design on it to match her nursery. After the baby shower, I started getting calls from people who had seen it or seen photos I had of the chest, and they wanted one too. I started selling smaller pieces of hand painted furniture to a kids store in Bryn Mawr, PA and also started painting murals in homes all while still working at the Eagle's Eye.

In 1998 I became preganant but sadly, had a miscarriage 5 months in to the pregnancy and decided not to return to work full-time. It was a time for taking a deep breath and making alot of tough decisions about what I wanted to do. A month later, Doug and I purchased our home and I continued to work a very part-time schedule at Eagle's Eye. A few months later, I became preganant again and in November of 1999 my son, Pierce was born. At my baby shower, a friend of mine gave me a cardboard keepsake box that had 2 tin containers for his first tooth and lock of hair. Ah-ha! It immediately gave me the idea to do hand-painted keepsake chests. This idea rolled around in my head until 2002. I was busy having my daughter, Katie, and raising 2 little children, going to pre-school and all that fun stuff new Moms get to do. In 2002, my friend Judy told me about her interior design website she had started and so, I decided to give the website idea a try as well (eventhough I'm not good with a computer at all!).

Three months after I opened my online store, I got my first order! The first year was slow and I wondered if this was the right avenue to go. But then, I found google adwords! My second year sales were double the first and the business has continued to grow ever since. I've made alot of changes along the way by adding a wholesale line, importing from China, getting the chests pre-painted white or ivory, etc. I love to paint. When I paint, I am able to block out everything that is going on around me and that is a wonderful place to be. I'm still learning every day but I love the challenge of creating something unique for my customers and being able to give them a special place to hold their keepsakes and memories.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back To School

Well my 2 children went back to school today which leaves me with a little more quiet time. I miss them. My new shipment of chests is sitting in customs inspection (ugh!) so I won't be getting my new products for a few more days. I have a few orders that I need to get working on so I'm off to paint! I am looking forward to finding some time to create some new designs...I have a bunch of ideas rolling around in my head...just need the time to create them! Hope everyone had a great Summer vacation!