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Friday, September 16, 2011

Meet Avalon Rose Design

Catherine Haugland

I love hearing an entrepreneur’s story. The journeys that start with an idea and end up successful businesses are always fascinating and each is different. I haven’t shared my story with many, so I’m very happy to have been asked to share it with you.
My journey is a strange one in that it really didn’t start with an idea or an inspiration, it started with necessity and grew because of perseverance. I fell into what I do accidentally, and I didn’t really figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up until I was 30. It’s almost as if website design found me, and not the other way around. Thank goodness it did, because not only do I run a successful business now, but I absolutely love what I do.
My formal education and employment history have nothing to do with website design. To make a long story short, I started out as an English major in college, but then worked for years as a factory laborer, went to cosmetology school, opened up my own small salon, became a mother, opened up an in-home daycare, and switched my salon schedule to nights and weekends. Life was insanely busy, but at the time I needed to do everything and anything I could to help put food on the table. I just did what I had to do.
Now I had two small businesses, two small children, and for some crazy reason I dreamed up another venture. I started selling handmade children’s clothing on eBay as Avalon Rose Boutique. It was recommended to me that I use auction templates in my listings, so I figured out how to make my own, and discovered that I loved creating my own graphics and writing code. Soon people were asking me more questions about the templates than the product I was selling. It didn’t take long and I wasn’t selling clothing anymore, but auction templates exclusively. My business name switched to Avalon Rose Design, and everything started growing from there.
Due to the initial moderate success of Avalon Rose Design, I was able to close up shop in my salon in order to focus more on my new business and newfound passion. I worked diligently to teach myself as much as I could, and the time came when I was comfortable enough to start offering website design as a service. I think the first year I only sold about three website designs, but I kept at it and continued selling designs on eBay. Eventually, as more and more of my longtime clients decided to leave eBay to start their own online store, the website design side of my business started booming.
All of a sudden I was an accidental website designer. Even though I got my start on eBay, I eventually discontinued my store there in order to focus on my own website instead. Over 6 years after my first eBay sale, I’ve designed hundreds of websites, print ads, t-shirts, logos, and some of my digital art was published in Somerset’s Digital Studio magazine. I love what I do, and I am so very thankful for that.
My advice to anyone looking to start their own dream business is to just stick with it. If you’re passionate about it and work hard people will notice. Learn as much as you can about your business or craft whether it’s self-education or taking a class, it’s an important step in the process. There are going to be bumps along the way, don’t expect to be an immediate success, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, and it will be worth it in the end.

Avalon Rose Design www.theavalonrose.com


~Follow Your Creative BLISS~ 
Sharon

2 comments:

Sherry Smyth said...

Loved reading how Catherine got started...inpsiring!

Italian Girl in Georgia said...

Great story! Your graphics are beautiful Catherine.

Ciao,
Suzanne