Small Business Saturday Featuring Bangle & Bead Jewelry Co.
Happy Small Business Saturday, Mamas! Today we’re featuring an online boutique founded by local Katy mama Tamara Woodard. Tamara, a former teacher and mama to three littles, has always been a creative soul with an entrepreneur spirit. She always knew she wanted to have a boutique to support local businesses and after launching Bangle & Bead in 2016 with much success, recently Tamara listened to what was on her heart and made the shift to only carrying Fair Trade items, which makes her online storefront even sweeter.
So what is Fair Trade? Fair trade is a global movement made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, shoppers, advocates, and organizations putting people and planet first. Fair trade provides a way for producers, businesses, and consumers to help make a positive change, for themselves and for others, every day.
The uniqueness of Tamara’s business comes from the stories the products tell. Everything from home goods to jewelry, to candles, each piece in her online store was made with the intent of empowerment.
The companies she partners with work to help people have a better quality of life. So when people buy from Bangle & Bead, they are having a direct impact locally and globally. Tamara source from local companies, big and small, who all have the same purpose of fair wages for fair work.
We just love this small business and the mission behind the products. Each item sold is carefully selected with attention to detail and to support a cause. It’s rare to say that with your purchase not only are you supporting a local company, but with Bangle & Bead, your purchase will also help change lives around the world. To have a local and global impact with a single purchase is a beautiful thing and we’re so excited to give this sweet, creative mama the floor to share about her business, her passion, and her mission!
Check out our interview with Tamara and be sure to grab your special Katy Moms Network discount at the bottom!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Katy area?
We are originally from Louisiana, and moved to the Houston area in 2006 due to jobs. We’ve been in Katy since 2009, and love it!
You are a mama, too! How old are your kiddos?
I have 3 girls- ages 6, 3, and 1. They keep me busy, especially now that we have entered the world of elementary school.
When did open your shop and what was the inspiration behind it?
I opened my shop in 2016. I was looking for a way to contribute to our family after going through a round of Financial Peace University. I had the dream of a small boutique for years, so this was the perfect avenue to be able to stay home and grow my business on my own terms. When I first opened, I carried mainly accessories, and have since started carrying only fair trade products as well as expanding my product line.
What type of products do you sell?
I have a variety of accessories, home goods, and clothing. Everything is fair trade or give-back, meaning the products contribute to funds, charities, or organizations that promote social causes around the globe.
Have you always been this entrepreneurial and creative?
I have! In 4th grade, my teacher gave fake money as a reward for good behavior, etc. We could take our money and use it in her class store once a week. She had a stuffed cow that cost $10,000 (we got paid in hundreds), and I wanted that so badly. So, I opened up a nail salon at the end of the day and painted fingernails with highlighters. Haha! Eventually, I also opened up a classroom bank and charged a fee to take care of my classmates’ money. I earned enough for the cow!
What did you do before opening Bangle & Bead Jewelry Co.?
I was an elementary school teacher. I taught in Fort Bend, mainly 3rd and 4th grade. I quit to stay home when my first daughter was born.
How has the Katy community impacted your business?
The people here are an amazing support! I’ll go to craft shows and gift markets, and everyone is always so friendly. People here want to support small businesses, and that’s important in a big city!
Name one thing that makes your shop unique in the industry?
The uniqueness of my business comes from the stories the products tell. Every piece of jewelry, every candle, every piece of clothing is made with the intent of empowerment. The companies I partner with work to help people have a better quality of life. Every time people shop with me, they are having a direct impact locally and globally. I source from local companies, big companies, small business who all have the same purpose of fair wages for fair work. That’s pretty special to me.
What’s your favorite thing about being a small business owner?
The people I meet! I love interacting with customers. I also love the flexibility of being home with my girls, and let’s be honest- working in my jammies is pretty sweet. I’m a homebody, so owning my own small business also gets me out of my comfort zone sometimes, too!
It’s important to you that your products are fair-trade. Tell us what that means to you?
For a few years, I carried products that were mass produced. After researching trade practices, I knew I had to make the switch. Shopping fair trade means that you are providing people around the world with dignified, meaningful work. You are also allowing them to provide an income for their families. In a world of fast fashion, it’s important to know how your products are made. As moms, it can be hard to find ways to give back. I feel that fair trade shopping is a great way to make a difference if you’re in a season of life where you can’t find time to volunteer or have small kids.
Best advice for someone wanting to take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship or wanting to open their own business?
Make a rough plan, make a budget, and then go for it! The barriers to entry into the marketplace are almost nonexistent, so there’s room for your idea! You don’t have to have it all figured out at first. Be willing to go slow, and learn along the way.
Who inspires you most in business and who inspires you most in motherhood?
In business, Christy Wright. I have learned so much from her books and podcasts on building a business. In motherhood, that is harder! I have so many women in my life who have given me help and encouragement along the way. My mom and my mother-in-law are the best examples of the kind of mom I want to be, so I am inspired by them every day.
When things get hard, what’s one thing you tell yourself to keep going when running this business?
I try to hard to keep a positive attitude. I’ve had trunk shows and craft shows where I lost money, and it can so disheartening. When things are tough or business is slow, I always ask myself, “Ok. What did you learn?” Sometimes, I learned that certain products I love just aren’t going to sell. Or I learned what vendor events work for my lifestyle. Everything is an opportunity to learn and grow your business!
How do you balance being a business owner and mama?
This is so tough. Once you find a routine that works, it always seems to change the next day. For me, things work best when I block my time. I set aside certain hours to do things in my business, and then have to discipline myself to make it happen. I never want my kids to feel like they are second place to this, so I try to be all in with time with them. Sending my oldest off to kindergarten made me realize how quickly this all goes by. Bangle & Bead will always be waiting for me, but my kids will eventually grow up and do their own thing. I want to be as present as I can in these young years. That’s the beauty of owning your own business! You can make that happen!
Do you experience the dreaded ‘mom guilt’ and if so, how do you deal?
I did. I’m an Enneagram 4w3, so I have lots of feelings and I want things to be the successful…and then I have lots of feelings about not being successful. This translates into my parenting, being a wife, a friend, a business owner, etc. Honestly, the thing that helped me to deal with all of my feelings about my perceived failure was lots of prayer and counseling. I have an amazing counselor who has helped me work through a lot of stuff, and that has trickled into all areas of my life. Don’t be afraid to go to therapy! It’s always helpful to have someone take an objective look at your life and give you a space to talk about your problems. Also, really working on life-balance and knowing that my girls have me 100% when I’m with them has helped me feel better about running this business during these “little years.”
Future plans for your business?
So many dreams and not enough time! Currently I’m working toward launching fundraising trunk shows for those who are adopting. I’m hoping to roll those out this summer. I’m also hoping to expand and carry more clothing starting in the fall. Then there’s the growing need for me to have a dedicated space for people to come shop…so finding a place for that. Currently, my dining room is getting repurposed. So, lots of exciting things coming up!
Any special, sales, or deals our Katy Moms can look out for?
Yes! Readers can take 15% off their next order using the code KMN at checkout. Right now, I’m also offering Mother’s Day Bundles on our Elijah Rising Products. Those make great gifts, and will be available for just a few weeks!
For more information on Bangle & Bead, be sure to visit their website and follow along with Tamara on social media!
Website & Social Media: www.bangleandbead.com