Today’s Work-At-Home Success Profile is on Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo, owner and founder of Bath, Body, and Candle Moments
Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo is an ambitious work-a-holic going into her tenth year of teaching high school English in New York City, and is the owner and founder of Bath, Body, and Candle Moments. After spending the day teaching, she works her second full-time job as a business owner from home with her husband. She loves everything related to science and fantasy fiction, mythical creatures, and pit bulls, and her greatest passions are education, crafting, and animal rescue.
1) How did you get started working from home? & 2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
I love teaching high school English, but after resigning from my high-profile position of Coordinator of Student Activities, and after planning my wedding, I found myself a little empty and looking for a side gig. I have always worked well under a pressure cooker, and suddenly, even with lesson planning and grading from home, I found myself with what seemed to be a lot of extra free time. One day, while my husband and I were out for a walk, we were laughing about the memories of our wedding day, and we thought how wonderful it would be if we could bottle that moment. So, I started crafting soy candles with the hope that I could relive moments in life through scent. Eventually, we started to build a strong customer base for our candles, but I found myself in the whole crafting world, and learned how to make bath and body products, as well. We turned my second passion into a business.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
It started with designing a website. I bought a basic domain and studied how to write basic HTML code. I took pictures of my crafts and posted them online while designing my first website. Once I learned how much extra goes into a business, I followed the legal steps by visiting our County Clerk’s office to register my business. The next step was registering with the IRS and finding a bank who would open up a small business account. Once all of that was in order, I researched insurance, and an online webstore who would handle tax calculations for me, and finally, a state trademark. Within a month, we were in business.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
My very first customers were friends and family who saw me posting photos of my crafts on Facebook. I didn’t know much about pricing or handling anything back then, so they would just message me that they wanted to buy a product and I shipped it to them. I have to give tons of credit to my friends and family for their support.
5) How do you market your business?
I now use several techniques to market my business. My husband and I attend select vendor fairs and trade shows. We have social media accounts across multiple platforms, and we use client referrals. We have since also become certified to be cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny and PETA, so we use their websites to drive traffic to ours.
6) What does your usual day look like?
I wake up at 4:30am and check emails, shower, make breakfast and lunch, then head off to school by 6:30am. I’m in school until about 2:00. I come home and rest for about an hour. From about 3-5, I fulfill orders, answer emails, and engage with customers online. Then I start crafting for a couple of hours. When my husband gets home from work around 7, he whips us up a quick dinner, and from around 8-10, I work on lessons and grading, then head to bed.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
I wish I knew how important product photos and a solid website are. Even though I had become pretty good at web design, I was nowhere near professional. Once we made enough money, we reinvested for professional photography and a professional web designer. I would have made this initial investment if I knew what it would mean. I also wish I had a better understanding of product pricing. Makers tend to undervalue themselves, and I was initially guilty of that, so I had lost a few customers once we went through our rebranding and our price changes, but my best customers remained loyal.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
Be sure you can truly set aside time to work. Get up, take a shower, get dressed, and treat it like you were heading out to the office. It’s easy to get lost into the pajama-mode, but it makes us lazy. Working from home has unique challenges, including not much interaction with other people, you have to make an extra effort to not get lost in yourself.
Website URL: ScentsTheMoment.com
Twitter Handle: @Candle_Moments
Facebook Page: Scents The Moment