Name: Kayla Schadegg

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Business Name/Occupation: KS Customs


Tell us about your business! KS Customs is a small crafting business run by myself and my husband, Kelly. We create hand designed and applied vinyl decals that can be attached to tumblers, clothing, and home decor.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship? I have a full time job and my husband is in the military, so we don't get a lot of quality time together. At one point, probably 90% of the time we did get together we were spending in front of the TV and we decided that we needed to find a better way to use our time. We started pitching the idea of starting a business that would allow us both to use our creative sides, and the idea of KS Customs was born. Being an entrepreneur also means that as we move and begin building our family, I will still be able to work without having to leave home.

Why do military spouses make great entrepreneurs? Military spouses make the BEST entrepreneurs! We're familiar with the need for flexibility and determination that entrepreneurship requires. Being a military spouse usually means you're used to things changing at the last second and being faced with obstacles you weren't expecting, which are things entrepreneurs often deal with as well. Owning and running your own business often requires bending over backwards and pushing yourself over unforeseen obstacles, and I know for me personally, my experiences as a military spouse definitely helped me stay on track despite the challenges of opening our business. Military spouses are also highly independent and have a "can do" attitude towards just about everything, because our spouses aren't always around to help with the to-do list.

What is a "blocker" for you in business. What holds you back? Our business just opened in June, so for us, our biggest roadblock right now is just getting our name out there. We went into our business with the intention of our tumblers being our main focus, but all but one of our custom orders so far has been for customized clothing, so we're looking for a way to advertise our tumblers and water bottles more effectively to boost sales for those items.

How has being a military spouse changed your for the better? I am so much more independent now than I used to be. I'm very much so an extrovert, so much so that I used to be uncomfortable spending time alone. I always needed a friend or family member around to talk to, to spend time with. Now that I've fought through 2.5 years of living long distance from my husband and then 1.5 years halfway across the country from all of my family and friends, I've learned how to enjoy just spending time on my own. Making friends as a military spouse can be a struggle because people are so transient, so learning to do things on my own and beyond that, to enjoy just having "me time" pretty consistently has really been a great lesson. Nowadays I find that I'm so much more productive because of that--I can get something done 3 times as fast if I just do it on my own and don't have to ask someone else to tag along because I'm too nervous to go somewhere alone.

What strengths do you possess, that you did not know you had, until you became an entrepreneur? I'm beginning to learn how good I am at networking. I've learned who and what my best resources are when it comes to my business and I'm not afraid to throw myself into the fray if it might mean I make a great connection for our business. I'm never without a business card and I love talking about what I do to others! We've made so many great connections just because I'm not afraid to introduce myself to some random person and start up a conversation to learn about their life.

What would you tell a milspo entrepreneur who is feeling discouraged? Stay focused! There are always days where you're going to feel defeated, frustrated, and beat down. But there are also going to be days where you feel like a rockstar. Make sure you acknowledge your little successes, because those often go unnoticed and a lot of times when you look at all the little things you've done, you'll feel so much better about where you're at! I also love to make lists, so if I find myself feeling discouraged I make a list of the things that aren't working for me or the business and then sit down and think of different ways I can work to resolve those issues!

What are your five favorite things that you can not live without as a milspo entrepreneur? 

  1. My phone! It's my lifeline. My entire business could effectively be run from my phone, including my design interface, so without it, I would be lost!
  2. My husband. He is an endlessly valuable resource when it comes to designing and creating. He has such a great creative eye and he's very good at picking up slack for me when he knows I need a break.
  3. My mini-ironing board. Since all of our clothing is made with heat-press vinyl, we do a lot of ironing. Our baby-sized board lets us iron in our office without having to use a full-size ironing board that takes up the whole room!
  4. Binders--I love making lists and staying organized so our whole business is contained in binders so that we can just grab the appropriate ones and go whenever necessary! It also makes traveling while keeping the business running super easy because everything is all in one place. 
  5. Our planner, for similar reasons. When you and your business partner both work full time, have two dogs, travel, and then you own a business on top of all of that--let's just say our schedules are pretty packed. We have to write everything down so we make sure we stay on top of it all!

What is the most amazing thing you have experienced in your business thus far? I think the best moment for me personally was when someone actually recognized us as a brand. I keep business cards at one of the gyms I work at and one day, I was sitting at our KS Customs booth at a farmers market and a young woman came by and grabbed a business card and started looking at our tumblers, so I struck up a conversation with her. She started saying how she'd seen our business cards at the gym and she had grabbed one because it was so unique, even though she had no idea what the business was for and once she checked out our Facebook page and saw we went to farmers markets, she wanted to come see our items in person! It was the first time I ever felt like we were really actively building a brand!

How do you want to be remembered? Hopefully for my creativity! I love creating things that haven't been done before.

Instagram: @kscustomcrafting

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