Stay at Home Moms that Inspire-Beth Kocol

Welcome once again to the Moms That Inspire Series! We’ve all heard the phrase “Necessity is the mother of invention”. This truly describes how this week’s mom’s business was born. She had a need for an item in her own home, created what she needed on her own and the business grew from that moment. One moment of creativity altered her course.

I want to introduce you to Beth Kocol. Beth is a wife, mom, school volunteer and owner of an Etsy Shop.I first met Beth at our children’s school while we were both volunteering in the cafeteria. If surviving high speed chaos on a regular basis doesn’t bond moms together, I don’t know what would! We were both too busy to even Mom Hunger Games Salute (May the odds be ever in your favor 😀)!

She not only volunteered for her child’s classroom but also as a Junior Achievement volunteer too. I feel very lucky that while her children were not in my daughter’s class, Beth volunteered to present Junior Achievement to this class. My daughter came home excited to tell me what she’d learned from this lovely lady, who I hadn’t yet met but appreciated.I now get to present Beth to you.

She has volunteered once again..this time to talk to me. The women in series are always unedited and unfiltered in their own words. They don’t need me to speak for them, they do it so well on their own. So please join me as we hear from Beth:

Tell me about your business:

”I own an Etsy shop, Three20 Magnets. Specializing primarily in Chore Magnets. I have over 200 chores/tasks/activities to choose from-but I can also do custom ones as well. My favorite projects are ones where a Mom reaches out to me with something she’s tried to make on her own or a vision she has in her head and I make it come to life for her and her family; the true joy that it brings to her, and the peace it brings to their family, is something I cherish! The name of my Shop comes from Ephesians 3:20-which says that God is able to do infinitely more than you could ever ask or even imagine. This has rung true in every aspect of my life- including this business-so it felt so fitting!”How many children do you have and their ages?

”Two boys. Wyatt, 6 1/2 and Wade, 4.”

How long have you been a stay at home mom?

“When I was 7 months pregnant with Wyatt, I was laid off from a job that I loved. I had been struggling with the decision to stay home or continue working, but when that happened I took it as God’s final nudge for me to make it work. So I guess it’s been almost 7 years now!”

What made you decide to get started and how long did you think about it before you did?

”Gosh, the progression of how Three20 Magnets came about would take all of the space and time for this article. I’ll try to keep it short. I had a successful direct sales business for almost 5 years and started making magnets for other leaders in the company along the way. Out of sheer desperation when my oldest was 4, I made him a Chore Chart and Chore Magnets with my magnet maker; when my friends saw them, they wanted one to you. After lots of buzz and excitement, I decided to just throw some ideas on Etsy-I very quickly realized that I was on to something and decided to focus solely on what became Three20 Magnets. The gifts aspect of my site came later when I started using Magnets as gifts for my children’s teachers, but that side has continued to grow as well!”

Why are you passionate about it?

“I am passionate about my Shop because it is a way for me to help other Moms, even if just in a small way. I know that we all struggle in one way or another, whether it be creating a solid routine that our kids can understand and manage themselves or positively reinforcing good behaviors or having them contribute to the family’s chores. I love that I am able to create a product that the whole family can enjoy. Because I take great pride in my designs and craftsmanship, I also love that it’s a product that Mom can be proud to display in her home!”Do you have any tips or advice for a fellow mom getting started?

“I have heard so many people say, “Oh, I’ll just start an Etsy Shop!” Well, that’s great and that’s how many people have gotten started, including myself. But, I quickly learned that just throwing some products up on Etsy simply doesn’t work. It really is a business with lots of moving parts. There are trademark and copyright laws to make sure you understand, there are algorithms to understand so that your items appear high in search results, you must understand keywords and be able to tap into the minds of your perspective customers, customer service is key, and so much more! Not to mention budgeting, pricing and taxes. So many moving parts!”

What challenges have you faced along the way?

”I would have to say that the biggest challenge I’ve faced is scaling my business in a way that I could manage. At first, I was able to be Mom during the day and Magnet Ninja at night. But, as my business grew, I found myself being pulled into many directions-so I wasn’t able to give my family or my business the attention they both deserved. I realized that I needed to let some of my responsibilities go if I was going to continue with Three20- and because I was not willing to give up this “one thing that is all mine”, that also happens to provide more than just my Dunkin’ Donuts fund, I wanted to continue! I have been beyond blessed to find two amazing assistants- both of whom are also stay-at-home moms.”

What have you learned about yourself or your business along the way?

”I think the biggest thing I’ve learned about myself is that I need this business in order to be the best mom and wife that I can be. I know it may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. Three20 is mine, I get to control it and make it what I want it to be-the same cannot be said for my boys or my husband (as hard as I may try!). Being that I am admittedly a little bit of a control freak, this little magnet shop somehow fills my cup -and when my cup has more in it, I am able to pour more out for my family.”What are some benefits of what you do?

”Benefits of running an Etsy shop? The income has been really great for our family; the same can be true for anyone that can find a niche and work at it. I am able to work on a schedule that works best for me and my family.”

What are your goals as you continue?

”I love creating Charts! I would like to be able to add some really cool and unique charts for families to my Shop in the next year. The issue I’ve faced with that has been shipping- magnet boards are not the lightest things to ship and their dimensions do not always bode well for readily available boxes. So, I really want to find time to buckle down and make this happen! I would also like to see my giftable items in some gift shops around the country!”

Why part time instead of full time, why is this right for your family?

”Being able to work my own schedule is right for our family because my husband and I think it’s important for me to be home with our kids-and thankfully, we’ve been able to make it work financially. I am home with the kids if they’re sick, they’re able to participate in sports and other activities and the overall flow of our home is better for us this way!”Favorite thing about being a stay at home mom:

“Not missing out on anything! I have been around for just about all of the boys’ major milestones. It is so true: the days go slow, but the years go fast. My favorite thing about being a stay at home mom changes frequently-and depending on the day, I might tell you “NOTHING!”-but when it’s all said and done, I know that I will look back and be so grateful that I was given this opportunity!”

What would you want your children to know about why mom does what she does?

”Recently, at Muffins with Mom with my little guy, he finished the “My Mom likes to…” questionnaire with “work on her computer”. It crushed me. I explained to him later that when I’m working on my computer, it’s so we can do all the fun things we do like Busch Gardens and Disney whenever we want, Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to school, and all of our fun lunch dates. I don’t have some earth-shattering, heartfelt, feminist thing that I want them to know-I just want them to be grateful for all the things that their dad and I are able to provide thanks to how hard we both work.”Best memory of a successful moment doing what you do:

”While they aren’t moments defined by a money-making moment in my business, they are much more than that. Two things come to mind immediately. When my son started Kindergarten this past year, I created “color your own” Lego minifigures and went into the class for the kids to color their minifigures as they see themselves- then they got to help me punch their creation into a magnet. Later in the year, I did Junior Achievement for another Kindergarten class. As a graduation gift, the kids created their own penny-with a drawing of themselves instead of Abraham Lincoln; again, they got to help me punch their creation into a magnet. The magic of these experiences with these amazing little people just made my heart explode. I love that I’m able to use my business to have these types of interactions with children.”

I want to thank Beth so much for chatting with me! I appreciate you raising your hand once again to volunteer! I hope each of you found some inspiration in her story, I know I did! You can find her Etsy shop Three20 Magnets here or at the Three20 Magnets Facebook Page, comments, volunteers always welcome to take part in the discussions in this series!! Janet