A BRAND STORY Part II: The Tipping Point

And then I decided to decorate my house… 

Last week I shared how I got my start 11+ years ago, so today I thought I’d continue that story with what seemed to be a tipping point for me, because it has not been simply smooth sailing! That said, I do think it’s true that when faced with adversity, you have to adjust, evolve, refocus and keep moving forward (because, really, what other option do you have?)…

A few years back my business was steadily growing, but because all of my new business came in through word-of-mouth referrals, it was easy to foresee that expansion had limits. So in the meantime I started Wardrobe Stationery with a friend — a labor of love but we landed features in Brides and on Tori Spelling’s wedding show! And then the recession hit, work came to a screeching halt, stationery wasn’t selling, new business wasn’t happening, and my existing clients had to pull back on my services. I was six months pregnant, with a mortgage.

I knew I had to reach a larger audience and potential client base in order for my business to survive (and for my family to sustain itself!). At that time the popularity of interiors blogs, D.I.Y. shows and Pinterest was just starting to take hold, and it wasn’t hard to see how a blog could help me expand my reach. So I started a blog, decorated my house, photographed it (myself – yikes!), and set out to getting it on MadeByGirl’s blogger home series. Thankfully, my style did catch the eye of the ever popular Jen Ramos because from there, Paloma Contreras (savvy interiors editor of blog La Dolce Vita) and Taylor Sterling (online lifestyle innovator and founder of the Glitter Guide) picked it up too.

I am so incredibly appreciative that these women at the forefront of the interiors & lifestyle blog movement saw something in me and my home, and took a chance. Without their faith and encouragement, the recent 18-page feature in Adore Home magazine and Style Me Pretty Living double feature would not have happened, I am sure!

Because of the exposure my home has provided me, my blog readership has indeed grown (thank you!!!!) but so has my business in more ways than I could have imagined. It is such a tremendous honor that companies contact me to represent their brands through product features. I get opportunities to contribute editorially, taking advantage of my background in art history and design through two columns for La Dolce Vita, “Design Under the Influence” and “Art in 5” (and actually, I had pitched my idea for a column to Paloma back when she ran High Gloss — thank you Paloma for giving me a shot!). And finally, being profiled as a business owner on Style Me Pretty Living and The Everygirl this year have both been major highlights for me in my career!

But this blog and decorating my house has also provided me with an added bonus: my explorations here have allowed me to really hone in on my style and showcase it, greatly benefitting me in aligning myself with likeminded clients.  A definitive win-win!

During this high however, I had to make the tough decision to close my stationery company in order to fully focus on small shop and all the good that was coming my way. It was a lesson learned for me that I can’t necessarily do it all, well. But I have absolutely no regrets about trying it out, as it was so much fun to collaborate with my friend and design collections, and so encouraging to get those first big pieces of press!

So what’s the next chapter of the story here? An evolution is underway for this small shop of mine, launching next week…the next step in this journey that I’m excited about and hope you’ll take with me. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to come here thus far and visit this space, taking that chance on me too.

Sneak peek coming soon!


Photos by Jennifer Daigle for the Glitter Guide (February, 2012); styled by Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m enjoying reading about the path you took. Good advice here. Your house is beautiful.

  2. It’s always so great hearing about your journey Erika! I knew you at the beginning and it’s been wonderful watching you grow. It’s so hard being a parent and running a business, so many times I just want to throw in the towel. I’m going through a lot of transitions right now so it’s encouraging to see your strength through ups and downs!

  3. Such inspiration for me. Seriously, I have been thinking how can I make my own tipping point happen for me. Thats what you truly did verse waiting for someone else to create it. Thats remarkable. When you come for rewardstyle I might have a million questions. Ill buy the coffee and macarons of course. lol

  4. I am always so compelled to read your about your journey. You’ve inspired me in more ways than you could ever imagine. I follow you on social media, and I am always excited to see your post. In my head you are my mentor, and when you give advice on your blog, I will always read.

    Thank You,
    Ekiuwa Evbuomwan

    1. Thank you Ekiuwa for your support and encouragement! You do beautiful work, I’m very honored by this!