1) When did you get started?
Mirth & Mettle: March 15, 2021 (the Ides of March – lucky, right).
2) How did you think to start?
MM: The idea came to me in the summer of 2020, when a number of live fairs were being canceled – friends of mine who are creators immediately started to worry about how to reach customers and how to ‘fill the gap’ while we went into pandemic lock-down. With marketing and business being my day-job I decided I could use my skills to set up an eCommerce shop to help friends and other Midwest artists I loved and art I believed in. I also decided to mainly buy ‘wholesale’ for one-of-a-kind pieces and in small batches to provide consistent pay to the artists. Makers are also featured with information about their art, inspiration and linked to the pieces of theirs we carry in shop.
3) Do you have a special connection to the location you operate in?
MM: Yes! I live there – Mirth and Mettle Shop is run out of my home and the front sitting room is set up to look like a small boutique.
4) What was your first setback?
MM: Having my account suspended by Facebook in the first 2 months – I panicked! Without a human to talk to at FB and a variety of ‘black-holes’ to submit information and questions to, I was worried it was game-over for my online shop and small business!
5) How did you overcome it?
MM: Persistence and reaching out to other online sellers / small businesses who went through the same thing. I heard a variety of horror stories, but we all seemed to finally make it through the algorithm and get our accounts reinstated. Community and persistence prevailed!
6) What is your current best seller?
7) Who are some of your favorite business in your category?
MM: Ursa in Milwaukee, WI, The Forge in Red Bank, NJ, and Milk Handmade in Chicago, IL.
8) Do you have an online operation?
MM: We are ONLY an online operation (at this point).
9) Do you have a physical operation?
MM: As the world starts to re-open, we are just starting to schedule ‘pop-up’ shops at Art and Wine fests in Northern Illinois / Southern Wisconsin – very excited to start meeting friends live and getting the fantastic pieces we have in shop in front of even more people!
10) Does your business support any local nonprofits or causes?
MM: Yes! Over giving Tuesday we had a dedicated effort to support Girl Forward – a Chicago based non-profit dedicated to empowering refugee girls resettled in Chicago and Austin, TX.
11) Does your business host any events?
MM: One goal for 2022 is to host ‘Sip and Shops’ in my home ahead of key Holidays like Mother’s Day.