For some people, it takes a series of events to strengthen and build the foundation of their success through lessons learned, a faith built, and confidence realized. Founder and owner of AmourPrints, Kirstie Rickert, had a similar experience that took her from college drop-out to a successful business owner. Your path isn't going to look like everyone else's, so lean into the faith and find your footing in the uniqueness of the process.
Kirstie wanted to do something different than a traditional route, such as college and a white-collar job. "When I started AmourPrints, it was something that I didn't think would fail. I just went for it to see where it would take me," she says. Kirstie started a business in 2013 while she was in school. "I went to college to appease some relatives, but I knew that this wasn't for me. I dropped out shortly after."
Before we can talk about Kirstie's business, there is an event that set her on her way to being the strong, independent business owner she is today. "I have to credit my very first job as being the catalyst for my success with AmourPrints," she explains. "Without that valuable lesson, I wouldn't have been able to do what I have done."
Kirstie had to learn to believe in herself before she could tackle the future she had ahead of her. At just seventeen, she got the memo. "I was so shy and didn't have the confidence to be myself or be social. I was making balloon animals at work as a balloon artist at a restaurant, and I was not being overly friendly and social like I was hired to do," Kirstie said. "My boss had pulled me aside and let me know I would be fired if I didn't start being more social and excited about my job. I was so nervous, and I didn't want to lose my job, so I made this really big decision to believe in myself that day, and it got me through it. I wouldn't have been able to start and run AmourPrints without that lesson."
Kirstie made a bold move when she dropped out of college to run her Etsy shop full time. After getting it set up and established in 2013, she made the leap, panicking a few friends and family members in the process. "From the very first sale, I was so excited just to be doing what I loved," she said, smiling. She and her fiance worked together to build her business even after an Etsy error took down her shop. They got their shop back up and running shortly after.
After Kirstie got engaged, she and her fiance worked together to automate the processes of her business. Both left college to run AmourPrints. She worked on the design and marketing, and her fiance printed and shipped the orders.
Despite the hard work and the sales, Kirstie and her fiance were still battling the opinions and comments from relatives about their business endeavours. "Our families would often express their concern for our decision to not go to college. They feared we were making a terrible decision and suggested many other occupations which we refused to do," she explained. Shortly after the two got married, they had a sign of good faith when their business had its first big month, and they could miraculously live on their own. During the time they moved out, they put even more into their business. By the next year, they were able to buy their first home, and Kirstie and her husband had their daughter, who is now four years old.
Shortly after AmourPrints biggest successful year, they had their Etsy shop accidentally taken down again. After so many failed attempts at trying to get their shop back up, they decided to just move over to Shopify. "Shopify was not easy like Etsy, and you had to do everything from the ground up. Etsy did the work for you, while Shopify was your template. I had to learn Web design dev, SEO, hiring employees, ads, and much more," Kirstie explained. "Our first year, we were able to make $50K. My husband focused on the designs and production while I did everything from A-Z. Our second year, we did $100K."
In 2019, AmourPrints took a hit financially and then in 2020, when everyone went into lockdown, Kirstie didn't know if their business would survive. She began searching for ways to get their product out there for more visibility and effective strategies. "I upgraded to Shopify plus and took a risk and invested all of our money. Last year, in 2020, we somehow miraculously made $3.6 million, and this year we are on track to do $6 million," Kirstie says, beaming. "I have worked so hard, and I give God credit for helping me through this. Our families now are very proud of us and understand why we didn't give up now."
In three and a half years, Kirstie took AmourPrints from $0-$4 million. "As a Christian, we are currently led to donate a percentage of our business to help those in need. We are currently giving to World-Vision to fight homelessness all over the world. With each sale, a portion is donated to a good cause."
Let your purpose guide you along your path. Kirstie's start happened because of her decision to keep going and learning and making sure her business reached new heights because she continued to believe in herself and her business.