Name: Catherine Byrd
City: Charlotte, North Carolina
Main Hustle: Mother to two boys, Bennett (2) and Oliver (5 mo.) and two VERY spirited dogs, Sawyer (beagle) and Stella (boxer mix).
Side Hustle: Monogrammer! Or I jokingly (but not really) say “mom-o-grammer.”
How did you get started?: My husband’s company is based in Roswell, GA. When asked to move back, (he started their office in Charlotte, where we met,) I had no choice but to quit my job, which was somewhat of a snooze but had potential to grow, and I had an amazing boss…So I was very sad to leave. Once in Roswell I struggled to find a job I was truly interested in (I had 14 interviews in the first two months!). Simultaneously, we found out we were expecting our first child. After some serious soul searching, I decided I would be a stay-at-home mom. I have moved my entire life (child of a contractor/nuclear engineer) and have always considered myself to be extremely adaptable. But for some reason, in quintessential Roswell, I just couldn’t seem to feel at home. This feeling continued on after the birth of our first son, Bennett. The absolute sunshine and light of my life. I feel bad admitting that I still didn’t feel completely content being a stay-at-home mom, but I just couldn’t kick the feeling that I needed to be doing something creative with my “free time.” I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit (I once took a wedding planning course & even got a business license for said wedding planning company!) but found it was not at all a passion of mine. My husband has always been so gracious and supportive of my dreams. So when I started researching embroidery as a business & scoping out different machines, it did not take much to convince him. There were some other things that prompted the idea of embroidery itself: my mom is an amazing seamstress (I wore smocks made by her my entire childhood!), but mainly it was the horror of having to dress my son in superhero or sports-themed clothing (not trying to hate, I just love a Southern baby!). And so Proper Peach Monograms was launched in early 2017. We are now back in Charlotte and have added another little boy to the clan!
When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: I am a night owl and find I am most productive then, so I burn the midnight oil quite often.. However my oldest attends preschool three days a week, so I try hard to squeeze in as much as I can while he is there, while also still spending one-on-one time with our baby too. We are currently in search of our forever home, but for now I am set up at the desk connected to our kitchen and use our island as my workspace…AKA not ideal. My ideal workspace is a room with lots of natural light that can be closed off from little hands.
What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: The embroidery world is very saturated. So I would say the biggest challenge is staying original and interesting! As I grow the challenges will be prioritizing where my focus should be (children, weddings, interiors,) and wondering if I can manage to offer a mix of them all.
What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?:
Hands down the greatest reward is customers expressing satisfaction with something I have made (and a bonus when someone shares photos of my work!). I am slowly beginning to be able to contribute financially to our household, which gives me a deep sense of pride in this business I have built.
Who is your greatest supporter?: That is a tough one; of course my husband (from before day 1!). But also my sister, Kristen. She is an artist, and prior to becoming a monogrammer, I never understood the pressure you could feel when asked to create something for someone. She gets it. She gets the drive you have to have to do it, day in and day out, the patience, the focus, and the fear of disappointment.
Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: I would say fellow creators in general. I admire so many musicians, artists, bloggers, writers, and small business owners. My uncle owned a pottery shop when I was younger, and I spent a lot of time with him behind the potter’s wheel. I was no good at it, but I admire his passion (to this day) for it!
What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: To someday own a store front! Preferably in a quaint downtown, with a variety of local artists’ work as well.
Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt. I have to remind myself of this, almost daily, in various aspects of life.
Stick to your principles, never feel guilty for saying no, and give yourself credit for being kickass—not everyone has the courage to have a side hustle.
Feature Image by Lindsay Thalinger Photography