Today we meet Kirstie Wang, owner of A Jar of Pickles. A Jar of Pickles is Kirstie’s side project, which started as an Etsy store she created during college. A place to channel her passion for design, Kirstie’s punny and playful cards and accessories has now grown into a 6-figure business! How does Kirstie balance the demands of her day job with this burgeoning side project? How does she plan to scale up while staying within her means? Scroll down to find out!
A Jar of Pickles is my side business, which I started in college and has grown into a 6 figure business while I’ve been working full time as a designer turned marketer in my career.
I created a lot of graphics such as logos and flyers for student groups in college, and my roommates convinced me to start an Etsy (which was pretty new at the time!) I opened a shop for fun, thinking I’d sell maybe 1 or 2 cards. When I got my first couple orders, I’d print them on cardstock at Kinko’s! My true AHA moment was when I was getting a consistent number of orders per week— the number wasn’t huge, but it made me realize people might actually like and want to buy my stuff! Since then, it’s been my side hustle while working full time out of college.
I love having a creative outlet that’s fully and completely mine. While I have gotten to work on extensive creative projects at work, it’s truly awesome to own something 100% and get to see the fruits of the effort and labor I put in. It’s really fun to explore different growth opportunities and products and I can’t tell you how many invaluable lessons I’ve learned about myself and running a small business by working a full-time job.
I’m running into scaling issues; my YoY numbers look amazing but I have the same amount of hours as I did a year ago. I’m trying to balance what I believe is sustainable for my lifestyle as well as grow the business as much as I can!
One of the more difficult parts about running Pickles is that I have always worked full time while doing so. It’s sometimes hard to find the motivation after a long day of work to develop new products or package orders. I currently have an intern that comes each week to fulfill my orders, but it’s undeniable that I’ll have to hire more this year to scale!
Show up on social media! I show up very consistently on Instagram and it drives more than 80% of my sales. Since I’ve found my cadence on IG, I’m working on deepening my other marketing channels this year (such as email and paid marketing).
I use Trello to manage all my ideas, to-dos, even social media calendar. With plugins, it’s a very valuable tool.
The biggest piece of advice I give anyone starting a small business: keep going! It is easy to have ideas and dreams and plans but it is extremely hard to execute when the sales aren’t coming in, when you’re not feeling motivated, when you’re feeling meh from your day job— but implementation is what will make your business grow steadily and surely.
As you dream and brainstorm, write down every single one of your ideas and, most importantly, set time to execute. You may lose passion to see through some of those ideas, some ideas may not get great results, but then move onto the next one and double down on the ones that are working.
For creative product-based businesses, I can’t recommend Proof to Product or the Product Boss enough. Their (women-owned!) business resources are invaluable!
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Meet the people behind ecommerce businesses. Inspiring interviews, actionable advice, valuable viewpoints.