Full Name: LaTersa Blakely
Name of your Company: Baby Diaper Cakes and Beyond by LaTersa
Position: Creative Designer / Owner
Website Address: http://www.diapercakesbylatersa.com
Year Founded: 2010
Tell us about yourself and your business: I am a proud wife and mother of two beautiful children. I have always had a passion for crafts, making gift baskets, and putting smiles on other people faces. As a little girl, I use to make baby doll clothes with my late grandma and design quilts. As years went by, I found myself always wanting to make a wedding gift, birthday gift, and anything to make someone smile. My business offers baby shower diaper cakes, baby shower favors, bridal shower towel cakes, and gift baskets. I also offer consultation for women who are planning a memorable baby shower. My ultimate goal is to deliver the best diaper cakes and other baby shower gifts on the market.
What inspired you to start a business? My passion for designing gift baskets, and my desire to be home with my children was one of my biggest inspirations. Also, with the expenses of childcare, I really had to step out on faith and leave the corporate world and do what I truly love to do.
Share one business goal: One of my goals is to publish my first e-book and to deliver the best information about the latest news in the baby industry to my customers and potential customers.
What would you say contributes to your success? My faith and my family play an important part of my success. My husband is my biggest fan and he always encourages me when I’m down and out. Also, just being able to watch my children grow up and be able to be involved in their school activities is my greatest joy!!!!
What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur? I would say to always follow your heart. Listen to that inner voice and peace that you have when you are doing what you love to do. Don’t listen to the Nay Sayers with all that negativity; let it go in one ear and out the other. Don’t be afraid to believe in your dreams and that they will come to past. “All things are possible when you have God as your partner and when you believe.”
What motivated you to start a business like this? I would have to say it was a few things: I always had a passion for making and designing gift baskets, making cakes and gifts for others growing up, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered the diaper cakes on youtube. I have been in love with them ever since. Secondly, childcare was killing us every month for two kids.
Is there anyone whom you look up to? Who/what is your inspiration? Well, I would have to say my mother because she has always been the type of woman who go after what she wants and never take no for an answer. My inspiration is the lord, and unconditional love he has for me!
What is the affiliate program that you run on your website? My affiliate program allows other stay at home moms, or anyone who is looking to make some extra income. When my affiliates refer a sale to me, they earn 10% commission off the total purchase. The affiliate program is through e-junkie.com.
What are the challenges that you faced when you started your business? I too, like so many other small business owners, struggle with finding the funds to incorporate my business, building inventory, and also finding the right mentor to guide you along the way. But, just recently, I found a mentor who was in the same profession as I am. I am truly blessed for her to have found me online. I took money that I had been saving while working to start my business. I did not take out any loans.
Tell us about the experience of being transitioned to an entrepreneur. It has been a journey! When I was working a 9-5 job, I would always be day dreaming about what’s the next designer cake I would create, or when am I really going to put my two weeks in. I finally made up my mind that it was a lot more out there for me to do, and I chose my passion of designing gift baskets and diaper cakes to start my business. Since, September 2010, I have been a WAHM and it is a lot harder to have my home based business because, your other house duties still have to be completed, along with taking care of the kids, and the husband. Your job is never done when you decide to run your business from your home, because you are always there and you have distractions daily. “wash clothes, cook dinner, make a snack for the little ones, play tea party with my 3 year old daughter, and keep the house clean all at the same time. I think personally, it’s more of a challenge when you are a WAHM.
What’s your take on E-commerce? How does it help an entrepreneur to grow? I must say that an e-commerce site is fairly new to me! I’m learning as I go, but I must say that it is a much needed entity for my business. I previously had a none e-commerce site and it was a struggle for me to discount my items. I had to do everything manually. To me, an e-commerce site helps me to run my business smoother.
What do you think about social media as a promotional tool. I really love social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. I think that I can reach more people using social media than I can just placing a regular add in the newspaper or craigslist.
How many hours do you work a week? I work 25-30 hours. It all depends on how many orders I have and what other things I have to accomplish in that given week.
How did you fund your business startup? I was working at the time, so I would save as much as I could and just bought a lot of my inventory on sale and in bulks.
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities? I have a daily to-do-list that I have to follow, because if I don’t I would literally go insane. But I also leave room for the emergencies. I talk more about how I juggle being a mom and mom entrepreneur in my latest e-book “The Ultimate Guide to Motherhood and Mom Entrepreneur”
Anything else you want to mention about your business? I would love for you to stop by my website and browse through all of my creative and unique designs. I look forward to networking with you.