Written by: Madison Duboise
Please tell me your full name, your official business name, where you are located and about your education.
Im Gracelynn Bell
I own Dear Raffi
I live in Louisiana, actually born in Alabama
I Graduated from Our lady of the lake college, currently Fransician university, there I received my bachelor of Science in Nurse. I currently work as Intensive care travel nurse.
Where did your idea to start a business come from?
My idea to Start Dear Raffi came from me desiring to have another baby. I was obsessed with all the beautiful products and wanted to create my own lane in the baby world.
Tell me about the start-up of your business. How did you feel once you finally opened up?
The start up of Dear Raffi was much harder than I anticipated. We had to test so many products, test to ensure all the products was safe for the babies (no chemical etc). I felt so excited, relieved, and proud when dear Raffi opened. Its the first business I started because of something I truly believed in and loved.
Who helped you start your business, what type of support did you receive from friends and family?
My husband helped me start my business. He’s always my biggest supporter, and also my mom, she was so excited—she invested into my business.
What products do you specialize in selling? Tell me about some of your favorites.
I literally am obsessed with all my products, haha. If I had to name a favorite, I would say the knotted gowns and bonnets are my favorite right now. In fact we haven’t released it yet. I also love the pacifier and clips—its why I started the business.
We specialize in baby products— when owe first started it was more focused on new borns, now we’ve expanded to 5T. I would say our focus is loungewear we want all the babies to feel free and comfortable with our products.
Why is selling these items important to you?
When I had my son, I didn’t have options of many unisex cute items. I love nudes and unprinted items. When I had my son, everything way blue and dinosaurs.
Tell me the process of creating and selling your products.
The process of creating is extremely hard, we have to communicate with our suppliers via email, and also its a 12 hour difference. So when I communicate with them, It normally start at 9pm and most nights, I have to stay up past 1am to get any type of progress.
Selling the items I think is also tough. We have to shoot kids in the items, and most times that’s the hardest part. We try to shoot our son most of the time, but he doesn’t cooperate at all unfortunately. Then the marketing part— my husband is actually great at marketing. I can’t take any credit, he helps with majority of my post, and all pictures. (He doesn’t allow me to take pictures, that’s how bad I am at them.)
What do you do on a normal day for your business, walk me through that.
Honestly, every day is different. One day we are packing orders, one day we’re focusing on social media marketing.
What do you enjoy about running your business?
I enjoy when I get good reviews. Most days it’s extremely hard to push through, but when I get one good review, it helps me. I also enjoy feeling like I’m doing something good for the babies.
What things can be hard at times?
The best part about running is seeing happy customers and babies using their products. I think the hardest part is having so many people expect me to send them free products. I think we get about 10 request a week for free products.
What growth do you hope to see from your business in the future?
I hope to see more consistency in sales and customers.