We had the good fortune of connecting with Brenda R. Coone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brenda R., why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I have always been a creative. Whether it’s crocheting, doing needlepoint, painting, etc. In the early 1990s I started making scrapbooks. They are a wonderful way to chronicle important events in one’s life. My husband and I love to take photographs during our travels, and upon our return home, I would make scrapbooks to capture our memories. What we saw, what we ate, how we felt, all of these details are captured in our scrapbooks.
I attended a cardmaking class with a friend and I was hooked. While I have always loved giving cards to friends and loved ones, I was not pleased with the offerings available in retail locations and often had to alter my purchases. Having the ability to make my own greeting cards was very appealing to me.
After retiring from a fulfilling career, I was blessed to turn a beloved hobby into a business, and MsCraftprincess Designs was created in September 2019. We design and create handcrafted greeting cards for all occasions. Our tag line is, “Giving a handcrafted greeting card is like giving a hug!” We like to say that we create paper hugs.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
At MsCraftprincess Designs, many of our handcrafted greeting cards feature embossed elements, die cuts, ribbon, and other materials. Adding texture to our cards, along with the unique designs, is what sets us apart from similar companies.
Listening to our customers is paramount to our success. This led to our monthly subscription service that began in January 2021. This service guarantees that subscribers will receive five (5) beautiful handcrafted greeting cards each month without having to leave home. This service has been very popular and was born out of a survey of our customers.
We also implemented a direct mail service for our customers. This offering has proven to be very popular with our customers, especially our male customers, as well as business owners who want to stay top of mind with their customers. You can learn more about this offering on the homepage of our website.
We are very thankful for the growth of our business, especially during a pandemic. At the end of 2020, our cards were being sold in eight (8) retail locations. Currently, we are in 12 locations and are now doing business with the State of Alabama.
All of this was accomplished through much prayer, hard work, and a fierce belief in our products. Was it easy? Absolutely not. I often call myself an accidental entrepreneur because this was not what I planned for my retirement years. Every day I learn something new about myself and about being a successful entrepreneur. I understand the importance of seeking help when necessary. I cannot expect to scale this company if I attempt to do everything myself.
Our mission is to help people express thoughtfulness and kindness through imagery and sentiments that make those they care about feel loved. We believe in spreading hugs one handcrafted greeting card at a time.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Although I live in Prattville, Alabama, I have family in Atlanta so I have spent quite a bit of time there. This would be our itinerary for the week:
Day 1: Tour the Civil Rights Museum, World of Coca Cola, and the Atlanta Aquarium. We would have lunch at the Aquarium.
Day 2: Retail therapy at Phipps Plaza. Visit the Mercedes Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons. Afterwards, we would have dinner at South City Kitchen in Buckhead. Be sure to order the fried chicken.
Day 3: Head to Chateau Elan. Start with some pampering at the spa. Enjoy the wine tasting. Dine at the Cotton Calf Kitchen. They have steak, seafood, and are vegetarian friendly.
Day 4: Walk the Atlanta Beltline shopping at boutiques and the Ponce City Market. After a full day of shopping, have dinner at Two Urban Licks. You cannot go wrong with anything on the menu.
Day 5: Start the day with brunch at The Real Milk & Honey on the Historic Main Street in College Park. While there, you must try the salmon and grits. Drive by Dr. Martin Luther King’s birth home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, and the Auburn Avenue library. Go in and look around if these sites are open. Have dinner at the Auburn Seafood on Auburn Avenue.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am grateful that the Lord has blessed me to pursue this entrepreneurial journey at this stage in my life. Starting MsCraftprincess Designs after a fulfilling 31-year career is a testament that you are never too old to get started.
I am so blessed to have an amazing support system. My husband Danny works tirelessly making boxes that are used to display my greeting cards in retail locations. He also acts as a sounding board for my ideas. My parents and siblings are tremendously supportive of this business endeavor as well.
I would also like to give recognition to my amazing customers who continuously support this business, and tell others about it. MsCraftprincess Designs has experienced tremendous growth since its inception, and this would not be possible without my customer base.
It is important to also mention my business besties who unselfishly share their knowledge with me. Many of them have been entrepreneurs for decades, and they freely offer sage advice in regards to being a successful entrepreneur. They want to see me succeed. It is vital that you connect with someone who is ahead of you on the journey because they truly understand the challenges you are facing. I am very grateful to have these amazing friends.