June’s One Successful Mama Profile: Carrie Nardini, I Made It! Market
June 17, 2015|Posted in: One Successful Mama
I feel a huge amount of gratitude in the fact that I get to do something I love and something that helps others build on their successes. – Carrie Nardini, I Made It! Market
This month, I’m profiling Pittsburgh’s own Carrie Nardini, founder and organizer of the I Made It! Market, Pittsburgh’s nomadic indie craft market. Carrie lives in the Brookline area of Pittsburgh with her husband, toddler son and “ancient” Boston terrier.
Following the success of the I Made It! Market, Carrie, a lifelong artist, launched the Neighborhood Flea, a unique flea market in the Strip District. Where the I Made It! Market features only handmade crafts, Neighborhood Flea vendors sell handmade goods, vintage and hard-to-find items, curated collections and other wares.
How long ago did you start your business? What led you to start it?
I started I Made It! Market early in 2007 when I was looking for outlets to sell the jewelry I made outside of co-workers, friends and a few shops. I Made It! Market is Pittsburgh’s nomadic indie craft marketplace. Last year I also launched the Neighborhood Flea that offers a mix of vintage, handmade, food, art and other eclectic items.
What types of services/products do you offer?
My services range from event organizer and producer to marketing consultant. I offer services to emergent creative small businesses and pop-up marketplaces.
Describe your first few months getting started. What were your major challenges?
When I first got started, I was working full-time in marketing and fundraising for a large, nonprofit organization. I needed to learn how to balance what equated to two full-time jobs. It was exciting, exhilarating, exhausting and energizing. (Can I get any more “e” words in there?) It was a challenge to define exactly what I was doing because I was making it all up as I went.
Also, I had to allow myself to make mistakes and forgive myself and learn from those experiences. When you have a position in an established organization and a chain of command above you, there is a certain level of support and expectation. This was all up to me.
What has surprised you the most about yourself when it comes to running your own business?
I am way better at juggling many moving parts and in customer service than I initially thought I was. I also challenged myself to overcome self-created obstacles as well as actual logistical obstacles. By navigating those experiences, I was able to build on my unique experiences to create a flow to the business.
How has owning your own business benefitted you as a mother and wife?
There is the obvious answer that I am more flexible in my schedule so that I was able to have my son with me for his first two years. I’m also able to help my husband as he launches his own small business without the tether of a less flexible schedule. There are weeks when I may work 60 hours and others that I have to go with the flow to fit my family’s needs. I also learned to outsource certain jobs whenever possible and delegate.
What do you enjoy the most about owning your own business?
The creative license. Hands down, starting this business was about flexing my creative muscles and working with artists. I’ve found myself retelling a story about what my middle school self envisioned for my adult self. I could clearly see myself in paint-splattered overalls (it was the late ’80s, after all), working on making jewelry and surrounded by the arts community. I couldn’t have found a more perfect fit. I feel a huge amount of gratitude in the fact that I get to do something I love and something that helps others build on their successes.
What are your goals for the future?
I am exploring a number of different projects and that is always exciting. But I am working on building the Neighborhood Flea and in offering some additional services to my I Made It! Market artists.
What advice do you have for women who may want to take the leap and own their own businesses? Do it. Start in a way that makes you feel comfortable and supported, but DO IT. Each small step eventually gets you further in learning, achieving and growing into your own business. I worked full time for almost five of the first years I was in business before I took the leap to full time. It was the most incredible feeling once I became fully self-employed. I knew that a ton of late nights, strategy sessions, copy writing, and outreach got me to where I was and it felt amazing. Entrepreneurship is not easy. But it is ridiculously satisfying.