It wouldn’t be another blog post without me starting it by saying I discovered an amazing brand via Instagram, but its true! I discovered Monica’s designs via social media. She makes pillows, totes, towels, even sweatshirts in the most darling chinoiserie prints!
What inspired you to start your business?
The idea of starting my own home decor line has been bouncing around in my head for well over a year. I had even worked up several different designs and concepts, but I kept thinking it’d be a total flop and what the heck was I thinking? In May, I was on vacation with my husband and happened across this lovely high-end home decor boutique with $380 chinoiserie pillow covers and $40 ginger jar tea towels that were nice, but not great. And people were buying them! It was at that point that I really got into gear and decided to give this idea some legs and make Monica Benavidez Home a real thing. I knew in my heart that I could create beautiful, high quality home goods that were trendy and in-demand for an affordable price! So I did. It’s been a learning experience, but it’s so rewarding to see my designs and decor in people’s homes and lives. Every single time I get an order, I am overjoyed!
What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur or student?
I feel like part of the reason I finally got comfortable enough to launch was that I had done a lot of research. I was familiar with my market, the price points, and the popularity of certain designs. Furthermore, I also ordered many, many samples from different vendors to see what their shipping speed and quality was like for the products I was going to offer. My goal was to have great quality products that were family/pet friendly at a good price point. I think any successful entrepreneur really has to have those two things nailed before launching for the most success possible. I also recommend having all the legal stuff done (such as LLC’s or DBA’s) because it makes getting business banking and credit cards set-up much easier. And one more tip is to really plan your launch well. You only get to make that first big grand opening splash once, so do your very best to make it AMAZING.
How has social media influenced or helped your business?
Social media has had a huge role in the success of my first month in business. I also have a home decor/design blog, Monica Wants It, that’s been around for over 10 years. But back to social media… on my Instagram, people know me as the chinoiserie queen, so when I launched my own home decor line, my audience was very interested and invested since that’s what they follow me for. They love my style, want to be part of my success and are tremendously supportive. My Instagram following is small, but they’re so loyal and my biggest cheerleaders. I adore them. Over 70% of my sales the first month in business originated from Instagram. I created custom coupon codes for each platform I’m active on to gauge which was bringing me the most customers, and that idea proved to be very useful! Many of the people who have made purchases ended up sending me pictures of the items in their home, so I feature those on my social media channels as testimonials. Plus, people love to see their photos used on social, so it reinforces that brand affinity.
Who do you admire and why?
I really admire my husband because he encourages, nurtures and respects this entrepreneurial spark of mine. There are days when I am doubting myself, my store or my ability to launch this into a full time career, but he never waivers in his belief and support of my vision. It’s helpful to have someone always believing in you on days (or weeks!) when you don’t believe in yourself. It also helps that he’s an accountant and handles all of that for me, but mostly it’s that he’s just super duper supportive and kind and shares all of my Facebook posts.
What is next for your business?
I’m gearing up for a very busy fall and holiday season! I hope my store can serve as a one-stop shop for people to buy chinoiserie decor, Christmas or hostess gifts and other textiles for every room of their home. I’m so excited about my holiday products and am always dreaming up new ideas and designs. I would also love to partner with boutiques to get some of my items into brick and mortar stores. Big dreams, big plans and a big amount of work!