We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Zwigart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erin, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
We came up with the idea of Georgia Crafted one night in May 2013 over a glass of wine. Both my husband and I had dreams of owning our own business, and after months of discussing ideas, we started talking about my passion for shopping local & wanting to promote local makers + his warehousing/shipping & logistics background and BOOM! Georgia Crafted was born!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Georgia Crafted is the largest online one-stop shop for Georgia-made products. We currently carry 250+ products made by local makers around our great State, everything from food/snacks to bath & body products to home goods. Our goal has always been to find ways to shine light on small local makers/artisans and get their products into the hands of people they may not be able to reach. I am most proud of not only our relationships with these makers, but the fact that we have become one of the biggest advocates for shopping local.
Before I launched Georgia Crafted, I knew nothing about running a business. I worked as a project manager at a marketing agency for 12 years, but always deeply held a passion for grassroots marketing. When we came up with the idea of Georgia Crafted, I had to figure everything out from getting a business license to building a website to sales & marketing. Honestly, it all came very easy to me. Naturally, there were some bumps in the road, but there was so much passion behind this idea that I was not going to stop just because of a few challenges.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned, and am still learning, is to remember to delegate & ask for help. I am notorious for trying to take on everything/wear every hat, but have learned the business will not grow if everything is in my hands.
Most important what I would like people to know is that we are the most simple solution to shopping local and gift giving. Need a birthday gift? We have you covered! Need several corporate client gifts? We have you covered! And the best part about Georgia Crafted (besides the easy and fun shopping experience) is that by ordering one gift box with 4-5 products, you are helping to support 4-5 (technically 6 if you count Georgia Crafted) small local businesses!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is fun! I would most likely take my best friend outside of Atlanta and visit some of the smaller towns around Georgia. We would hopefully start around Lake Oconee and get out on the beautiful lake. We would make our way over to Madison, my all-time favorite small town in Georgia and grab a bite to eat at Farmview Market (a true hidden gem!) and shop the local stores along their Main St.
From there, we would cruise over to Monroe, GA and visit one of our favorite makers (Rinse Bath & Body) and cruise through some of the antique shops over on Antique row.
One afternoon, we would make our way to the SW side of Georgia and go to Providence Canyon State Park – the Grand Canyon of Georgia. They have some amazing hiking trails and you would honestly never know you were in Georgia based on the rock/clay structures you get to walk through/around. On our way back up North, we would stop in Columbus, GA to take an urban white water rafting trip through Downtown Columbus. Did you know that Columbus has the LONGEST urban white water rafting course in the WORLD??
We would wrap up our week in the good ‘ole North Georgia mountains, where we would visit some of the local wineries, hike around Cloudland Canyon and spend a day in Blue Ridge.
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?
My biggest shoutout absolutely goes to my husband. If it weren’t for his support and encouragement for me to quit my FT job and jump right into entrepreneurship, I would most likely still be complaining about my 2 1/2 hour RT commute and not running a fun successful business!
Next, I feel I must give a shoutout to the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. They were the first organization that I joined to network and I always say that if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have grown our Corporate Gifting program.