Interview with a Maker - Lisa Shilz Kiki & Bee
Lisa is a regular at our Makers Market - Sun Prairie events and we love everything about what she does and think you will too!!
What do you Make/ what is your business all about?
I make handcrafted felt floral accessories and crocheted bow hats for the tiniest babes to adults. Kiki & Bee is all about adding that extra special touch of whimsy and fun to your day!
How did you get started?
It all started with my firstborn (very bald!) daughter. I experimented with some inexpensive felt from the craft store to make a few bows and flowers for her. After lots of family & friend requests for headbands, it just kept snowballing from there. And 2 years later I tried my hand at my very first farmers market in my (then) hometown of Wauwatosa. It was completely inspiring to get to interact with customers face to face and both see and hear their reactions to my handmade pieces. From that moment on, I started to dream bigger for this little business!
What's your biggest SUCCESS this far?
My biggest success has been the creation of the one size fits all poppy cluster headband. It has been our best selling item for over 2 years now and is the creation that really launched Kiki & Bee from a hobby to a full time business!
What's your biggest Failure?
My biggest failure definitely is organization & balance. Like most creatives, my studio is a mess because when I get a new idea I just HAVE to create it before it’s gone! I’m always striving to better improve the order in my studio so that I can be even more efficient. But as a mom to three little girls, it can be super tough to find that ideal balance between shop life/home life. I try to give myself a healthy dose of grace each day because we’re always a work in progress!
What do you love the most about making/your business?
There is so much I love about being a maker! First and foremost, Kiki & Bee gave me an identity and purpose beyond just being a stay at home mom. Creating is my therapy and I truly crave it. I love that I get to use my hands to create pieces that signify special events like welcoming a new baby, birthday or wedding. It is so meaningful when someone lets your creation be a part of such a special occasion. The other thing I love about this business, is the friendships I’ve formed with fellow makers. I am so thankful for each and every one of them for sharing their advice, tips, and being a sounding board for this business. It’s nice to have friends who “get it” because running a handmade business is unique and comes with its own set of challenges!
What is your business Super Strength?
I would say my business super strength is color pairing. I really enjoy selecting the colors to provide options for everyone! I’m always challenging myself to use colors in an unconventional way or a color that I wouldn’t typically reach for.
What advice do you have to those makers/ entrepreneurs afraid to take the next step?
My advice would be to just start! If you keep waiting for all your ducks to be in a row, you’ll always find a reason to wait a little longer. I look back on my very first booth setup and cringe a little at the display, but I also feel really proud that I put myself out there and took a risk! I learned SO MUCH and took away so much knowledge to improve. You’ll never get it perfect on the first try.
What is your spirit animal and why?
My spirit animal would be a spider. Able to create
and weave something of beauty out of simplicity, with a healthy dose of perseverance.