Monday, March 11, 2013

Couple's decal venture becomes successful business

Today's featured shop is DaliDecals, which also owns ChristianWallDecals on Etsy. David and Alicia, a husband and wife team, own and operate this business.

How did you find Etsy?

I initially found Etsy through my Mom, who began selling jewelry on here in the early 2000s. This sparked my home-based business mindset, and I started making soap and beaded lanyards (I was a teacher) and selling them on here, as well! Both shops I had a lot of fun with, and I still maintain my soap making as well as some beading here and there.


Later on, when my husband, Dave, and I had been making decals for just about a year already, a friend of mine asked if we made wall decals. We had never applied our decals to the wall, but assumed they would work. We tried it, loved how they looked and had all of our friends and family experiment with our products just to be sure. It was around then that I said to him, "Why don't we try selling these on Etsy?"

We opened our main Etsy shop, in June of 2008 and became so successful within a few short months that we decided to build our own website, as well. A little fun fact, we came up with the name Dali by combining both of our first names, David and Alicia. :) 

By the end of July 2008, I had to leave my teaching job since we were so busy with our little Etsy shop and now our very own website! My mom about fell over when she found out I quit teaching to make decals instead, but she knew that I was determined and even more stubborn, and there wasn't much she could say to change my mind. :D 

Shortly thereafter, in October/November 2008, Dave quit his job too! He had mainly worked in web development and marketing, and also did quite a bit of graphic design and coding, as well. Since he taught me the basics of Illustrator and Photoshop, I was able to create, design and list products more efficiently on both Etsy and our website, all while keeping our main market in mind. With lots of luck, dedication and hard work, we quickly soared to number one on Google, and have been on the front page for wall decals since. :)

When you began creating, how did it enrich your life? Do you recall the inspiration for your first creation?

We have both always been creative, inquisitive people. He was (and still is) the kid that takes things apart just to see if he can put them back together. 

We also both came from entrepreneurial backgrounds, as our parents and families always had their own businesses. Creating was for fun and kept us interested, but the business aspect of it had been a part of our lives since we were both little kids. All over our home there are elements of our artwork displayed. Some of David's earliest graphic design pieces and my wheel thrown pottery from high school are the first two things that come to mind. 

There is also a watercolor painting that I made in second grade that my mom still has framed. Whenever I visit her in Wisconsin, I'll see my masterpiece and it makes me giggle. I distinctly remember my art teacher telling me not to mix colors, "because it makes M-U-D and we don't want that!" 

Of course, I mixed the colors, it turned out awesome, and later on she told me that she was actually pretty impressed with how my color mixing turned out. *beaming with stubborn pride*

Where can members find your creations on other social media venues? Facebook? Pinterest? Twitter? Wanelo?

We are all over the place! Our most prominent social media is Facebook, where we have over 23,600 fans.

 What areas would you like to learn more about here on Etsy, such as photography, writing descriptions and listing titles, etc.? 

We really want to know a lot of the ins and outs of Etsy. What makes it work? The behind the scenes stuff is what interests us most! So happy they started incorporating analytics and stats. I think that's definitely one of my favorite tools. We're pretty techie people. :) 

A little more about our business:

We had initially started Dali Decals with the intention of having it be a hobby, and hoping it would pay for itself in the long term. We worked out of our living room, making decals all morning and afternoon, and getting them ready to ship towards the end of the day, and we created new products and improved our website by night. 

On a whim, we decided to up and move to Asheville, North Carolina, which lasted all but 13 months. After paying state taxes and enduring two bitterly cold winters (to us Floridians anyway!) we packed everything up and moved BACK to Florida. Whew! Happiest day of my life. :) 

The only problem was... in that 13 months, we went from working out of our living room, to having 5,000 square feet of production space, and a LOT more equipment! It made for a very interesting experience, to say the least. 

We have since expanded into almost 10,000 square feet of production space, where we house all of our own equipment, make all of our own products, and do all of our designs in house. There are a lot more than two of us working in the business now, and we do a lot more than just wall decals, too. We have grown to include custom printed canvases, custom printed acrylic, wooden signs, printed aluminum, printed logos, banners, trade show graphics, vehicle wraps, custom printed flooring and mats - the list goes on! 

It's pretty amazing. No amount of planning could have ever prepared us for what we've experienced and built from the ground up. It was and continues to be a learning experience. Lots of mistakes made along the way, trial and error, learn by doing kinda process. :) But it's all been SO worth it!!


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