Can you believe it is only 62 days until Christmas? As the UK does not celebrate Halloween or Thanksgiving they are already in full Christmas spirit with holiday lights going up in many places starting next week, nuts! Speaking of Christmas, one of my friends from university has added another title to her resume, Entrepreneur. You may recall my friend Dana from this post about her black tie wedding in 2015 or two years later, her adorable baby shower in New York City.
Well, with her new title of entrepreneur I thought it would be the perfect resurgence of my Sparkle Session interview series with female entrepreneurs. Dana is not only a registered nurse, dotting mother or two, former Division I athlete, and now, published children’s book author of The Christmas Angels’ Mission.
For the last year she has been working on this project with her husband and they are now up and running, taking pre-orders of The Christmas Angels’ Mission, which will Be shopping in November, in time for Christmas! But I’ll let her tell you the rest:
What are five words you would use to describe yourself?
Detail-oriented, Thoughtful, Passionate, Energetic, Adventurous
How do those personal characteristics relate to your brand?
When you pick up the book, I think you will be able to see how much time, effort and detail went into it. I spent countless hours working on what kind of paper I wanted, how thick the cover should be, what the angel ornament would be made out of, how far or close the eyes on it should be, etc. The amount of detail, thought and energy I put into this is something I am so proud of, and I think it shines through in the product.
Speaking more broadly, for Bayshore Publishing, I hope to add titles that have characters that embody a lot of these characteristics and have strong moral fiber. I want to have stories that will make someone better for having read it, particularly children.
What inspired you to write this particular book?
After the brith of my son, Braxton, in 2017, I thought a lot about wanting to instill certain values in him. Combine that with my dream of being a published author and I had my motivation. Christmas is by far my favorite holiday, but I felt it had become so commercialized. To instill values of gratitude and being kind toward others, we came up with the tradition that is laid out in the book. The book is unique in this genre in that there is no mention of Santa or gifts.
Brad and Dana with their son, Braxton
As more than half of my readers don’t have children, if they were to buy your book as a gift, what age children is it most suited for?
Our son is 2.5yrs old and we plan on starting the tradition with him this year. At the very least, we know he will understand what is going on. That said, our target audience is families that are looking to increase family dialogue and put a little more emphasis on the true spirit of Christmas. In less words, ages 2 to 12.
As you know, I now live in England, is your book available internationally or only in the US?
Our first run will only be available in the US, but we hope to expand our reach next Christmas.
How are you spreading the word about the book?
We’re spreading the word through several channels. Social media has been our broadest outreach. We have focused locally on small book shops, novelty and Christmas stores, and have gone door to door in addition to calling and emailing directly. We’re leveraging our Georgetown alumni network, local newspapers from our hometowns, and getting booths at local Christmas markets and fairs.
What is one lesson you have had to learn the hard way?
Customer service is everything. It is not about price or anything like that. It is about being your authentic self and putting that self in front of people. At first we thought sales was going to be a numbers game. We built an email list of 3,000 stores, but we were shocked at how few people responded or really even checked their email. We finally saw results and stores wanted to carry our product when we were able to get them on the phone and even more likely to buy it when we met with them in person. As digital as this world has become, you still can’t beat the power of a face to face connection.
If you had to give advice to other female entrepreneurs what would you tell them?
You don’t have to have experience to start a business. Do what you are passionate about, and learn what you need to along the way. The amount of information out there is endless and resources are boundless. No obstacle is too big. So if you have an idea, don’t overthink it or let doubt creep into your mind. Take one step at a time and learn as you go. Just make sure you’re a doer.
Where do you see your new company, BayshorePublishingLLC, in five years?
We’d like to have this book make it big. That is our top priority for the next year or two or three. We foresee being able to launch some ancillary products from this one book and we’d like to be in all the big box stores. In 5 years we would also like to have a 2nd book published.
Brad and Dana welcomed their second child, a baby girl named Haven, in August
Lastly, is there anything you would want to tell my readers?
BUY OUR BOOK! Make our dream come true! And one other piece of advice would be to use FaceBook groups. I have found many groups to be incredibly helpful and supportive. There are so many great people out there that are willing to help. I was surprised how easy it was to connect with like-minded women, and even more surprised at how welcoming they were. I even surprised myself and grabbed coffee with a few, and we added to each other’s knowledge base.
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Hopefully from these 10 questions you have learned a ton more about Dana, the new book, and her ambitious goals! If you have any questions drop them in the comments and she will be sure to answer them!
Happy early Christmas with The Christmas Angels’ Mission!