Help from other entrepreneurs 'incredibly valuable'
An interview with Erin True, owner of Urban Wood Goods in Gurnee.
Q: What motivated you to start this business?
A: I started UWG because I saw an opportunity in an online marketplace called Etsy to create a line of simple furniture products that had a very authentic and aged look to them that were made from recycled materials. It was more of an experiment when I started it. It was the look of the aged wood that was filled with all this character and history that appealed to me most, and the thrill of finding it and turning it into something else that could be a conversation starter in someone's home as a coffee table or bench, etc.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you face in growing the business?
A: The fear of running out or low on materials. Since the wood is reclaimed, our supply and the cost of it always fluctuates depending on what buildings are coming down. The other challenge is determining how to scale the business and delegate and hire others to create processes and departments to run it more efficiently and allow us to scale and grow larger.
Q: How did the Emerging Leaders program help you meet that challenge?
A: In the Emerging Leaders program we had the opportunity to meet with other small business owners and get feedback from them and learn how they approached challenges within their own businesses. That was very valuable. I think many small business owners operate on what can often feel like an island, and it's so important to be able to have a group to bounce ideas off of. I also learned a great deal through the Emerging Leaders classes twice a month on key areas of business such as the importance of knowing and using financials to help us run our businesses better and make decisions based on those numbers.
Being introduced to all types of organizations and individuals who can help small businesses find new opportunities for sales was also helpful. Our professor was incredibly knowledgeable and insightful. I feel prepared and like I have a road map to use to grow our business.
Q: What is one tip you'd offer something starting their own business?
A: Find programs like Emerging Leaders or a mentor to help you along the way. Having the help of others who have been through it or are on a similar path can be incredibly valuable and key in helping you grow your business. Also, you really have to believe in whatever business you are starting, because as an entrepreneur or business owner, you are going to be spending most of your time working on it and in it. I believe you have to love what you do for it to be successful.
Urban Wood Goods
3815 Grandville Ave., Suite C, Gurnee IL 60031
(248) 310-7668; www.urbanwoodgoods.com/
Years in business: 6