Lee's Sparkle Plenty Interview with Pink Sparks

Spotlight On: Sparkle Plenty Designs

Name: Lee Romano Sequeira

Business name: Sparkle Plenty Designs

Company website: www.sparkle-plenty.com

Company email: info@sparkle-plenty.com

Description of your business mission:

Our specialty at Sparkle Plenty Designs is creating custom logowear for promotions, special events, spas & salons, fundraisers, staff wear, retail sales, etc. We take our customer's idea, event or logo and bring "bling" it to life in sparkling crystal or rhinestones.

I love to say we make people "sparkle" when they wear our shirts, and when you feel good on the inside, you always look good on the outside.

Sparkle Plenty's first priority is to provide premium quality crystal and rhinestone embellished products to all our customers. Our choice of high-quality garments have a flattering fit, and a unique look that's appealing, while standing the test of time and wear.

How long has Sparkle Plenty been in business? 10 years

How did you start/fund your company initially?
I actually was buying crystal tees and apparel from Sparkle Plenty Accents for my online gift, bath & body accessories boutique, GoodtoBeYou.com. I first saw them in 2004 at a beauty tradeshow in New York City.

When the owners mentioned they were parting ways and wanted to sell the business, my husband and I decided to take the plunge and acquire the company, which we renamed Sparkle Plenty Designs. Business loans helped us with our plan.

Do you have any employees or do you use freelance help? If so, can you tell us where you found your help?
Besides me and my husband Andrew (whom we affectionately call "Captain Crystal" who handles custom design work) we have the following on our team: Michelle handles online promotions, Jonelle assists with art and heat pressing the garments, Lorry helps us with customer contact and we have our Swarovski artists available to help us with our ideas for new products. This is a nice benefit of being a Crystallized branding partner with Swarovski crystal.

I used word of mouth and advertised on Craigslist for a couple of the positions. We also have a few independent sales reps across the U.S.

Whatʼs the one online marketing activity you feel has worked the best for your business?
Our sites are key. People love our websites, they are beautiful to look at, and I must give credit to our web designer Liz Ross of Webweavers (Liz is so talented!) She and I worked out the initial concepts for both sites GoodtoBeYou.com & Sparkle Pleny Designs and Liz made all of my ideas come to life - and really sparkle!

As for gaining our new custom clients, we really talk to our customers and are happy to offer ideas for their design. We even like to offer promotional tips for their business.

Are you active on any social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin?
Yes, very. I love staying social with Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, and also try to stay active in a few specialty b-to-b networking sites -- I just wish there were more hours in the day (like most of us women entrepreneurs do).

If so, how do you manage your activity on these sites? For instance, do you interact randomly, when you feel like it or do you have a strategic plan?
I log in almost daily and keep business and personal mixed. Since we "are" business and interact closely with our customers, I like to keep a casual, upbeat and friendly vibe...we are talking about fun sparkly apparel after all.

How do you manage to balance family life, personal time and business?
Sometimes it's all a blur, and I slip into my "workaholic" mode, but I really like what I do, so that's a plus.

I do get to the gym a few times a week, and I'll take a break during the day with Andrew to take our two terriers out for a walk, and enjoy some fresh air. We also have a weekly night out with a close circle of friends -- perfect to decompress, and getting out does the trick of getting me away from the laptop.

Do you have any advice for other women wanting to start their own businesses?
Do something you love, take it slowly, but act -- action is key.

Always be sure to give back. Whether it's advice, time or donations, the more you give, the more you'll get. Keep a positive attitude and realize every day is not going to go as always planned, so you just have to roll with the ups and downs. Also, take time for yourself - do things you enjoy: read, meditate, play with the dogs/kids and be sure to take time out to exercise a few times a week.

Anything else to share?
Let's connect! Please add us at Sparkle Plenty to your network: Facebook: www.facebook.com/sparkleplentydesigns Twitter: @sparkleplenty1