Women Who Own It
What inspired you to start your business?
Immigrating from Poland in 1988 with my two sisters and mom, we always knew we wanted to shoot for the stars. Retiring from teaching after a birth injury with my first child (postpartum bilateral femoral neuropathy), Birdy Boutique was founded as I was able to be a mom, foster my injury, and not lose my identity. My sister also was retiring from the army at the same time, and through our collaboration, Birdy Boutique was born. With her amazing sewing skills and our designs, we create unique affordable items for parents and kids.
What women inspire you?
My sister and business partner, Barbara Kent, who is the most dedicated and hard-working person I have ever encountered. Growing up, as our mom worked 24/7 to keep us afloat in a new country, I had the benefit of watching Barbara give 110% to everything she encountered, despite all our struggles. When she had a goal, she never stopped, she never gave up, she focused on the end goal. She proudly graduated from West Point and worked on numerous bases, giving years to our country. In her past, she has been presented with the First Award Medal in Global War On Terrorism, Korean Defense, and NATO among others. After becoming a disabled veteran, she moved her focus to supporting service spouses as her husband is Commander of the Army’s only Prime Power Engineer Battalion.
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
Reviews. They are so important. If moms and dads aren’t beyond happy with our products, about how our car seat ponchos keep their little ones safe and warm in their car seats or how our first birthday outfit sets created the most magnificent memorable cake smash photos, then we are failing in meeting their needs!
What are the biggest obstacles you see for young female entrepreneurs?
I think too often we fear competition. With creativity, we can create our own brand and stand out from other companies, regardless of them being similar. There isn’t just one brand of eggs, right? Because people love variety and having choices. Don’t fear competitors, you be you.
What do you love about being a business owner?
Some people say, “Wow, you are a business owner, you make your own hours, boss people around, don’t answer to anyone, and make millions of dollars.” Yes, I make my own hours, but with that also comes the reality that there is always something to do, and you actually have to limit yourself from working around the clock. Your business is running in your mind 24/7. Yes, I do answer to many people. I answer to every single mom and dad that has purchased our items. Despite these truths, I love owning a business. Having started something from scratch and watching it bloom has been absolutely amazing. Growing as much as we allow and push ourselves too is also very cool. The fact that I get to show my children that anything you put your mind to can be a reality also tops the list!
What’s the hardest part about being a business owner?
Never knowing when to stop. It’s impossible to keep a 9-5 mind frame, so organizing projects and tasks in a way to where I push myself to pause at times to fulfill other obligations and joys in life has by far been my biggest struggle as an entrepreneur and business owner. This is due to the fact that I know how far we can grow but there is only so much time in a day that has to be divided up.
What’s the best way to start your day?
Wake up with deep breathing and meditation, setting intentions for your day! I am a huge believer in positive thinking, and what you think will be, will in fact be.
What do you like about your workspace?
I LOVE our workspace. Our main office is in a renovated barn and completely decorated with bird figurines and paintings but in a classy modern way, hence our name from our passion of birds. (In fact, since we are such avid birders, initially our business consisted of items with just birds on them, but we sadly learned not everyone shares our passion!) It’s a super bright open space that’s full of color and amazing views.
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... research until I find the resource I need to solve it.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… that a 95% solution is better than no solution!
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… the relationship with my best friend, sister and business partner.
By this time next year, I will… have added Target to one of our selling platforms.
The best thing that happened to me last week was… I spotted my first Bald Eagle in the wild.
To get my creative juices flowing, I… take a walk in nature and look for birds to identify (seriously).