Please introduce yourself and your business.
Hello! My name is Amy Plant-Perdue. I am a wife, a new mommy, and a lover of English, dogs, and all-things vintage. My husband and I welcomed our first son, Graham, last August, and he is the biggest blessing and the greatest joy in our lives! My mom and I work together doing vintage rentals and event planning. We named our company Plume because we love the symbolism behind feathers and birds. In literature, they represent flight, freedom, and independence, especially from things and people that could potentially hold us back from our goals and dreams. Plume as a verb means to decorate, adorn, or arrange, so it couldn’t have been a more perfect name for our business! We love shopping for new, interesting pieces for our inventory and styling them for weddings and parties. We also enjoy meeting couples who are in love and helping them bring their ideas to life for their dream weddings.
Why did you start your creative small business?
When I got married in 2013, we knew we wanted to start a vintage rental company, so when we were shopping for the wedding, we were also shopping for what would become our rental inventory. We love antiques and the “hunt” for amazing pieces, and we work really well together, so we knew we wanted to have a business together and one that involved antiques. We loved the idea of vintage rentals because it gives our clients access to the beautiful pieces we have without the cost of purchasing them themselves. We genuinely are sad when we see pieces that just sit in antique shops waiting to be sold, and no one is enjoying their beauty and value, so renting pieces people otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford or don’t have the need for long-term gets them out of antique stores and helps create beautiful weddings and events! The vintage rentals expanded into event design and styling, and that led to wedding planning and coordination. It has been so fun to see our business grow and to be challenged with new opportunities!
What does an average day look like for you? What things/responsibilities are you juggling?
My average day is a balance between my roles as a mom and as a small business owner. In between feeding, playing with, and reading to my son and the millions of things that need to get done around the house, I use every spare minute to work on business tasks. I spend a lot of the day on the computer, answering and sending emails, connecting with other vendors, updating our inventory on our website, working on wedding details, or searching Pinterest or Etsy for inspiration. I love when I get to get out of the house to meet with couples or meet with another vendor to talk weddings or just catch up.
What has been a struggle for you as a creative small business owner?
Whew—where do I start? Haha! Owning your own business is definitely rewarding and worth all of the struggles, but it is hard. I have struggled with self-confidence and my tendency to compare myself to other people in the industry who I assume are doing better than I am. I have to remind myself that everyone in the creative industry has to work their butts off to stay relevant and attract business. I also have to remind myself to stay focused on what I love about event planning and vintage rentals and to stay true to my style and my goals and not worry so much about what other people are doing. When I do that, I am a much happier person, and good things happen for my business!
What has been a joy for you as a creative small business owner?
I love almost every aspect of my business. I love the challenge of finding new ways to market myself; I love that part of my job involves shopping and Pinterest searches; I love being organized, scheduling meetings, keeping up with spending vs. profit, and maintaining a website; I love meeting new people, hearing about their relationships, and taking their crazy ideas from just that—ideas—to an amazing wedding day. But I think my greatest joy has been knowing that I am pursuing a dream I have had for a long time and being proud of myself for taking this risk. I am proud that my son will see me working hard to build my business and that he will learn to take risks in his own life for the things he is passionate about.
What productivity tips do you have for my readers?
My biggest piece of advice for anyone who is multitasking, whether it be with a child, a second job, or another major responsibility, is to devote some uninterrupted time to each task every day. Sometimes you can successfully feed a baby while typing an email one-handed, but sometimes that’s just too much. I’ve realized that I get most frustrated when I feel as though I’m trying to do it all at once, so when I feel that starting to happen, I make a decision. For the next hour, am I going to be Mommy, or am I going to be Boss Lady? I pick what is going to be most feasible, and I put all my attention and efforts into that one thing and enjoy it with my whole self. I hold my son and play peek-a-boo without thinking about an email I received and planning out my response in my head. Or I put him in his exersaucer, which he LOVES and I know is a place he will be entertained and safe, and I work on the computer without feeling guilty that my son is playing independently. It isn’t always an easy thing to do, but when I can manage, I always feel significantly better emotionally and way more productive.
What resources or tools have helped you in your business?
Networking! The absolute best thing I have done to grow my business is to reach out to other people in the industry. Not only can you potentially get new clients that way, but you become more knowledgeable about your industry and better equipped to help your clients. Meeting with awesome people in the wedding and creative industries also helps me to stay positive and focused on my goals.
What tips do you have for readers who have (or want to start) a creative small business?
I really just can’t say enough about networking. Reach out to other people you think you could or would want to work with and people who you would consider your competition. You never know what opportunities will come from a simple, kind email or a coffee date! Another important lesson I have learned is to value your talents and make sure you are charging what you are worth. It is really hard to decide what that is in the beginning, and you have to start somewhere, but remember you are running a business, and your time and talents are worthy of (at least) a decent living.
We’ll end on a light note: What is your favorite clothing store?
Old Navy. Hands down. I LOVE Old Navy. I shop for every person in my life there because the clothes are super cute and reasonably priced. And they almost always have something—or everything!—on sale. I think eighty percent of my wardrobe, my husbands, and my son’s is from there haha!