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One of our own was interviewed by Dane Carlson's Business Opportunities Weblog!  Here's the interview in its entirety published June 30, 2008 by Angela.

From pregnancy to birth and as the child grows, it’s a special time. Unfortunately it doesn’t last forever, and those moments are times we want to preserve. Casting Keepsakes gives parents a chance to do that with their casting kits. Whether it’s from pregnancy with a belly casting kit, or the traditional newborn hands and feet cast.

The owner of Casting Keepsakes, Sheila, is sharing her story with us as well as giving one of our readers a chance to preserve these memories of their own.

Sheila has been kind enough to give one of our readers a chance to win a product of their choice (with a value of up to $25) off the Casting Keepsakes website.

If you would like a chance at this opportunity, leave a comment on this post telling me which item you would like to win and why.

The giveaway starts now and ends on July 10th at 11:59pm. The winner will be chosen on the 11th and contacted by email.

What is ‘Casting Keepsakes?’

Casting Keepsakes is a store dedicated to helping preserve memories in their most authentic and natural form via life casting.

What inspired the idea behind your business?

After the birth of our first child, a friend showed us a casting of their child’s foot from 5 years earlier. It blew me way so I went looking for the kit for myself. After not being able to find anything similar (later we found out the company was no longer in business), I went looking for my own “recipe.”

How long has it been since it launched

Although we had been providing service and materials to friends for a couple years prior, the store officially launched in October, 2004.

What is your best selling product?

The best selling product is and always has been the Infant Plaster Casting Keepsake kit, which creates 2 infant 3D replica castings of either a foot or a hand.

How did you come up with the perfect casting material mix?

After a long search, we found a manufacturer that was willing to tweak their already excellent standard formula to our specifications. From there, it was just test and test some more.

What was the process you went through to get from idea to successful business?

We originally created the product for ourselves and in the beginning we took the responses, questions and suggestions from those that used and tested it for us. From there we continued to listen to current customers and it has been a combination of patience and determination.

What one thing have you learned since you began that you wish you’d known in advance?

I learned not to be afraid to as for what you want. For example, I never even thought to ask the shipping companies for a discount until someone else mentioned it (and we of course got it). Also, I always ordered certain supplies from a particular company online and when the site was being updated, I had to call in the order and speak to a sales representative. To my surprise, I was offered a 60% discount due the quantity I was ordering. Now, I negotiate up front.

Did you have any previous experience that you were able to apply in starting or growing Casting Keepsakes?

I had been a biomedical engineer just prior to taking the work at home plunge, so that helped with the technical formulation aspects. The “sales” experience started in 1999 when a family member and I dabbled in selling on ebay anything from closeout merchandise to used baby clothes. Also, I had put myself through college working in customer service as well as with the elderly. Both taught me a lot of patience and the latter, perspective.

What kind of things have you learned as a mompreneur?

Without getting into specifics, I have learned that I am much more adaptable and more patient than I ever thought I could be. I also learned that I must have a little bit of crazy in me.

How do your children get involved?

Our oldest child just turned 8 this spring and she now helps out with the packaging and labeling. I can’t wait until she and the others can do a little more.

What one piece of advice would you like to share with other women looking to start a business of their own?

I know it’s been said many times before, but you really have to love what you do. If you don’t, then trying to run your business from home will slowly drain the life out of you because it is always there (you don’t get to leave it and go home, etc).

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