I've always had a fascination with great stories. They are all around us and each unique in their own way. It doesn't take long to discover a brand, a person whose work or knack for style you admire. Over the years, I've had the pleasure to get to know a lot of small business owners, most of them operating online. Their stories inspire me! I've become close friends with some of them, we count on each other for the daily doze of inspiration (in whatever shape or form that comes). Today I wanted to share with you the story of Alyssa Burmeister behind Happy Little Fin who is also a loyal fan of our work.
Welcome Alyssa! So good to have you here! For those who aren't familiar, can you tell us about Happy Little Fin?
Sure! Happy Little Fin is my small handmade shop where I craft hair accessories for all ages… even mamas! In fact, my mamas love my leather hair ties so much I *think* they may actually be my larger customer demographic than moms buying for their daughters, nieces or friends. Way to treat yourselves, mamas! I am also the creator of the original vintage hankie bow. I am obsessed with all things vintage + historical, so the hankie bows are very near and dear to my heart! I also like to venture outside my comfort zone occasionally which is how I started with making my hand tied leather hair ties…I wanted something for myself that would be functional + fashionable at the same time! And apparently i wasn’t the only one! :)
How did the company start?
I started my company after the birth of my oldest daughter. I had a really horrific experience with a handmade shop when I tried to order her some accessories. I ended up making what I needed for her myself and when my friends saw it they said “You need to sell that - I’d buy!!!” I completely brushed them off at first and continued my crafting as a hobby since at that time I was a practicing licensed mental health therapist. However, my love for creating and my desire to stay home with my daughter eventually won out and I pursued my Happy Little Fin venture full time in the fall of 2015. It was a small and humble start, but I am so proud of my success! I’ve been asked to speak at a couple of events to other business owners about my shop, my marketing and my success. It sometimes feels crazy insane when I remember that I left my job as a therapist so that I could sell headbands on the internet, but I have to say, it also feels pretty darn amazing.
3. That's amazing! Congratulations on your success! Can you tell us what does your company stand for? Who are your customers?
I’ll start by saying my customers are simply the best! No, really. They’re the most supportive, encouraging and enthusiastic cheerleaders for me, my business and my success. When I started my business, I knew what I would want and expect when shopping from a small or handmade shop and I’ve always tried to strive to deliver absolutely nothing less than the most outstanding customer experience and exquisite product. I think too often businesses forget that their customers are PEOPLE. They are people who have wants, needs, feelings, desires… they are not just a number. They aren’t just a target market. They. Are. People. They are mothers…wives...daughters…sisters…aunties…cousins…granddaughters…business women…stay at home moms…work at home moms…single moms… Remembering that every single order than comes across my desk was placed by a real person who has chosen to support me really touches my heart. That has never been far from my mind and I will continue to always focus on making sure the customers are heard, know their value and importance to me - not just as a business owner, but as a fellow human being - and are nothing less than beyond thrilled with anything they get from me.
I love this so much, Alyssa! I couldn't agree more with everything you said. It is truly refreshing to read your perspective on your customers especially since you are one of our favorite customers:) Which brings me to my next question: What was like to work with Le Papier Studio? Can you tell us a bit about the process?
Vana was simply lovely right from the moment I had first messaged her with some questions about a custom order. I cannot even tell you how patient and gracious she was with my *many* questions. I had first messaged her before the birth of my second child as I was in love with the tiny silhouette charm necklace and knew I’d need one as soon as the little one arrived. As you can imagine, being the mom of a toddler and a newborn meant that my mom brain was in full swing, but I never felt like I was a bother to Vana with my questions and emails, even though I know I was “that customer” on more than one occasion. She made me feel so comfortable! The ordering process was insanely easy! I literally snapped the photo, emailed it in, approved the proof, and voila. My part was done! Vana took care of the rest and from the moment I first messaged her to the moment I received the exquisitely wrapped package which held the most perfect heirloom necklace, I knew I was in the hands of someone who cared immensely about not only their business and their product but their customer as well.
Aw, thanks for those words! It truly is an honor capturing such darling profiles and being able to create an heirloom piece you will treasure for a long time. Thank you for that, Alyssa! Curious to hear, what value does this particular necklace add to your life?
I’ve told Vana this before but I’ll say it again… this necklace means the world to me. I’ve only ever taken it off once… and it was not by choice! When I see the tiny perfect silhouettes of my two beautiful daughters, I can’t help but be reminded of the goodness and grace I’ve been shown by Jesus. It’s a daily reminder of the blessings of children - which, let’s be honest, I really need when I’m cleaning up the 20th mess someone’s made before it’s 10 am. Seeing the sweet outlines of them which have been so perfectly captured and preserved makes me oh so happy. This season of life and motherhood can seem so overwhelming and never-ending, but I do know it’s fleeting, and that these sweet little silhouettes are changing faster than I realize…having them frozen in time like this is so special to me.
I also know that because the necklace is so beautifully designed and is made with the best materials it will be a true heirloom that I’ll be able to pass on to my children…some day. Right now it’s all mine! :)
I'm a bit teary eyed reading this! It is such a sweet reminder of why I set out each day to do what I do. It's because of stories like yours, Alyssa! Thank you! And that necklace is our best selling one so it makes me super happy to know you appreciate yours so much!
Thanks again for choosing me to share my love with your blog readers! :)
It's been a blessing chatting with you, Alyssa!
(photo credit Alison Stumpf Photo and Alyssa Burmeister)
Alyssa's necklace : Tiny Silhouette Charm Necklace in Solid Gold.