The first thing you notice when you walk into Strapping is this wonderful sensory experience. Lights, color, and texture cover the shop from floor to ceiling and you can't help but smile. The second thing you notice is Susan Stewart. She's exactly the kind of person you would expect to curate such an amazing space; extraordinarily friendly, hilarious to talk to, and deeply connected to her community. Susan works to provide scholarships to local high school students, backpacks and supplies for the community kids, works hard to promote LGBTQIA+ support through comedy benefits and Drag Queen story hours, and she even saves the occasional kittens from trees (yeah, she's basically a superhero).
I had the opportunity to pick Susan's brain about her experiences with business ownership and the journey to get where she is. I'm so excited to share some of her thoughts with you today.
Don't let your dream die because of other's fear; women are the bravest and most resilient of all the beings.
How did you get started with your business?
Before opening Strapping, I was a retail buyer for resorts; the world of corporate buying firms is all about numbers and it's so impersonal. It was always my dream to own my own shop one day, and luckily for me my beautiful wife saw how miserable I was and gave me the freedom and support to go for it.
What do you enjoy most about being a small business owner?
I love the connections I make with customers; my shop is my heart and everyone that comes to visit my store is important to me. I've made some amazing friendships, I've seen children grow up, I've watched out community thrive, and I really feel like I'm a little part of Sacramento's culture. I love owning my own business.
What’s the hardest thing about being a small business owner?
You wear ALL the hats! We all have our strengths and weaknesses, as a small business owner you have to face all the things you suck at. Mine is I.T. anything tech related goes wrong, the panic sets in.
What's the best advice you have for women who are just starting out?
Taking the leap into owning your own business is scary, and there will be a lot of people who will project there fears upon you; you'll get a lot of freaked out friends and family, that love you and because of their personal fears will not always be the most supportive. Don't let your dream die because of other's fear; women are the bravest and most resilient of all the beings. Believe in yourself and your passion and hard work will make your dream come to fruition.
What is one skill you have that unexpectedly benefited you in your line of work?
I've always been a "go with the flow" kind of person and my ability to adapt and change has really helped with my business. You can't get to attached to perfection when it comes to owning your own business, because life loves to throw you curve balls. I'm also really good at throwing curve balls, with years of playing softball so when people try to steal from me, my good eye-hand coordination comes in handy... just kidding... sort of.
Big thanks to Susan for taking the time out of her day to speak with us!
Check out Susan Online at strappingsacramento.com