Interview: Erin Chlaghmo, Founder, Relativity Textiles

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After receiving her MFA in Fiber & Materials Studies, Erin Chlaghmo, Founder, Relativity Textiles worked for a variety of fabricators and artists, including a local wallpaper manufacturer which inspired her to start her own business.

Erin’s breadth of knowledge of textile history are always the basis of her work, drawn from an array of sources that span the globe. Spending summers in Morocco is a source of inspiration for her. Her mission is to share her unique design aesthetic with you, and that it can warm your home and at the same time connect you to a global community of makers.

Erin’s Advice to Mom Entrepreneurs:

“Be Yourself. Tell your truest story. Make that part of the currency of your brand. And train yourself (with help) to knock off the negative self-talk that holds us ALL back from accomplishing our dreams. It’s a skill. But, just like lifting weights, you can’t become strong one day or fit. You have to lift small amounts to grow that muscle until you see results and keep going.”

AHA Moment:

The reason I started a business is because I wanted a way to take my talent and make it profitable. I was sick and tired of working for others, helping them grow their businesses using my skill set that was stronger than theirs! It wasn’t fair. I want to create my own hours, work from home, see the fruit of my labor. Running your own business is scary, but all the failures and all the successes are YOURS alone. It’s built on your struggles and triumphs. It’s a great feeling.

Product:

Luxury, handmade wallpaper. Benefits are well designed rooms inspired by the history of global textiles. Easy to install. Made in America. Supporting artists and artisans.

Target Audience:

Women 28-55 years old, college educated, stylish, fashion forward, living in metropolitan areas with an eye for design. Art appreciators, interested in supporting female entrepreneurs and world cultures. Two incomes in their household or they can afford luxury items. Pregnant women, decorating nurseries are a great one for me.

Greatest Success:

Raising $20,000 (and counting) on Kickstarter to grow my business.

Biggest Challenge:

Managing personal finances, two kids, marriage… Not having enough family support and really wanting to have a better life but not knowing where to start. Self-doubt and self-talk that was negative.

Overcoming the Challenge:

I got a life coach, a therapist, four interns. I joined a networking group to see how other professionals were modeling their behavior. I reached out to friends from a long time ago to ask for money through a Kickstarter. I had to ask for help from everyone I could.

When you imagine success, what does it look like?

I would like for it to run itself. I’d like to have a lot of female employees with a studio office space. I’d like to have an office manager and a studio manager and a lot of representation. A marketing team. A PR rep. A team of assistants. I’d like to take vacations. I’d like to send my kids to good schools. I’d like to have no student loan debt. I’d like to be featured in magazines.

What steps are you taking to achieve your goals?

I am working very hard to compile a package for PR that tells my story and makes me visible. I have made 4 videos. I have a website and 5 rep’s across the globe. I have an article in Luxe magazine releasing March 8th. I have scouted lots of office spaces. Just need the income to pay for the rent.

What PR+ Marketing activities have you done and what were the results?

Blogs, interviews, Instagram and other social media. I’m doing it myself. It’s been very positive. I have gotten a lot of recognition this way.

How do you manage family and business?

Ha! umm…I’m not doing the best job, so I don’t want to offer any advice in this category. But, you just make lemonade. My husband takes the kids sometimes so I can work, or I just pop on a 30 minute Curious George and try to ravenously email 1,000 people.

 

What have you learned about yourself being an entrepreneur?

I am a leader. I feel pride and pleasure from being productive. I have what it takes. There are others with more skills, education and money, but so what?! I have drive and I deserve a place in the market. I will be at the top someday.

If you could wave a magic wand and be given anything to help your business right now, what would it be?

$50,000. Or a free studio. And a nanny. and a housekeeper… or simply a laundry machine.

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