Honest Talks About Small Shop Challenges with Modern Raised
Today we’re featuring Latinx-owed small business Modern Raised!
Modern Raised is a Latinx-owned small business that supplies globally sourced products for babies and children, with everything from Montessori toys, to practical quality clothing! Not only are you buying things your children will enjoy, but you’ll be investing in pieces that can be used for many years to come. Modern Raised also places an importance on sustainability and giving back. They are eco-conscious with 100% recyclable packaging and biodegradable materials. Even though they are a newly-launched small business, Modern Raised donates a portion of their proceeds to children’s charities and nonprofits monthly. Find them on IG @modernraised and online at modernraised.com!
What inspired you to start Modern Raised?
The start of Modern Raised was a very long journey. I initially had the idea for a baby specific shop in 2015 when I was having to buy a lot of baby shower gifts and just couldn’t find the perfect thing. When it comes to close friends and family, I was looking for a shop where I could find unique and special pieces that they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves and something they would treasure enough to keep for the long haul. I always kick myself in the butt for not starting it back then, but I think the next 5 years ultimately gave me the time to refine my vision. After I had my son in 2018, I again had the same thoughts and complaints about the baby/children’s market. I had so much trouble finding cute, quality, neutral clothes for boys (I still think this holds true!). I have a background in supply chain and corporate retail, so in 2019 I finally decided that I should just take a leap of faith and go for it!
Starting a small business is no small feat! What challenges have you had to overcome in your journey as a small business owner?
By far my biggest challenge was maneuvering the Covid environment. I had originally planned to launch in the beginning of March 2020, but I ended up having a lot of product delays and there was just so much uncertainty about everything that I decided to hold off. I then proceeded to go into labor with my twin girls two months early, so that threw me another curve ball. Ultimately, I had to get out of my own perfectionist way and just launch whether I was ready or not. I ended up launching in October so I consider that a win – at least it was in the same year! And then, just generally, I think being a new ecommerce business comes with the huge hurdle of getting people to find you. You can have the best store with the most amazing products, but if people don’t know you exist, it will end up failing, so brand exposure is one of the main things I’m working on right now.
What has been the biggest achievement so far in your business?
For me the biggest achievement is the simple fact that I am actually doing it! I had every single reason to quit along the way – Covid, twins in the NICU for two months, then premature twins at home with a two-year-old, daycare closing, and not to mention over the 1.5 years that it took me to take my shop from a business plan to launch, what seemed like 5 million other shops in the same market niche popped up (and they were damn good too). I wanted to quit SO many times and honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that we used our own savings to start the business and I already had all of this inventory sitting in my house, I probably would have quit. But I am so proud of myself that I didn’t. My shop could be a total failure and I would still consider it a huge achievement for myself for the simple fact that I persevered.
Everything in your shop is SO cute! How do you decide which products to include in your shop?
Thank you! I wish I had some super savvy answer to this, but honestly, I just pick out what I like! My initial goal was to bring as many incredible international brands to the U.S. market as I can, so I’m trying to stick to that as much as possible. It’s equally essential and difficult to maintain the right balance of products that are mainstream and in demand with brands/products that are unique from what other shops are carrying. In such a saturated market, it’s really important to be able to differentiate yourself and create your own brand identity, while still being able to give the customer what they want.
What motivates you as a small business owner and pursuing growth? Any advice for others who wish to start their own small business?
I always imagined being a business owner in some capacity, so I am really excited to finally be on this journey and I want to do everything in my power to ensure that it succeeds. I have so many big ideas for what I want the future of Modern Raised to look like, so I really hope that I get to a point where I can see those ideas come to fruition.
My advice to others who want to start their own small business is always: do it! One of my favorite quotes that I came across recently says something like, “there is someone less qualified than you, doing exactly what you want to do, simply because they believed they could.” We all have doubts and insecurities, but at the end of the day, there is no secret sauce or class that you should take – it’s just about believing in yourself, having confidence in the skills that you bring to the table, and most importantly, just getting your hands dirty.
Do you see anything in the small shop space that you hope to change or is there anything you wish to see more of?
I absolutely love the idea of shopping small and directly supporting a family rather than a big corporation, but I think the biggest problem with small shops is that they are praised as being a superior option, but it’s just not financially feasible for the majority of people. Being sustainable, organic, paying fair wages, doing things on a micro level, these things all come at (what I consider to be) astronomical costs. This is a huge problem because it becomes an almost classist divide, where the average person simply can’t afford to pay $55 for a pair of children’s sweats so they are excluded from the narrative. One of my future goals is to help solve this problem – I am continually brainstorming ideas, but it’s a very complicated issue without a perfect solution.