We had the good fortune of connecting with Brittany Staker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brittany, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Have you ever seen the movie, “Along came Polly”? One of the actors(Reuben Feffer) plays a risk analyst for life insurance company. He is aware of the many risks that you inherit in all situations that he is unable to risk anything.
Sound familiar? It’s sounds all to familiar to me. I was the modern day Reuben. I am not a huge risk taker, but I am trying to embrace it more in my life and in my small business. I have always heard you have to take risks to be able to see the future reward.
Years ago, while living in Utah, we opened a screen printing company out of our garage. It was an exciting time and we felt good about it. We had to borrow money from the bank and family, to buy our equipment to get started. For us, it was a HUGE investment. As time went on with our company, we were barely breaking even. Larger companies, were beating us out on pricing and we just couldn’t compete. Our business fell apart and we were left with paying off our investment. I remember thinking, I am NOT going to be a small business owner again. TO MUCH RISK and not enough reward.
Fast Forward to January 2020, COVID was starting to create a buzz and I was looking for another way to make money, be home and be present. I was also trying to find something that would allow flexibility with my rare eye disease that I have, Retinitis pigmentosa. It is a condition that leads to blindness and there is no cure. I was trying to find something that would work with my disablity and be more of a family past-time small business. A friend had started working as a small business owner in Austin, Texas for a company called Card My Yard. It peaked my interest. As, I started the process of deciding if this was something I wanted to pursue, my risk analyst self(REUBEN) came in to play. Was this is good idea? Does this work for our family? Will I make money? Will I loose money? Is this a good idea to do during a pandemic? Will this work with my eye disease? Will people respond to this type of business in our area?
As things progressed with the interview process and contract with Card My Yard, it was decision time. Which at this point the world just shut down because of COVID-19. My mind was telling me, bad idea, you are in a pandemic and the world has shut down. How are you going to start a small business now? But on the flip side, my heart was saying, “YES!” And so, I jumped in with both feet and decided to buy my small piece of pie in this amazing company.
The rest is history! I didn’t expect what was about to come. Business Boomed! I was able to pay off my franchise fee in one month of being open and the rest I was able to pocket. It has become a family business. My kids were all are apart with setting up and taking down signs. My husband became an awesome sign ninja, we all have.
And so after months of navigating through a worldwide pandemic in 2o2o, the Card My Yard brand wrapped up the year with 193 new opened locations and 200 signed franchise agreements, with more than 94% of those agreements stemming from female entrepreneurs. With a 600% increase in sales Card My Yard is positioned and continued success through 2021.
I am now in my 2nd year of owning my Card My Yard Franchise, Card My Yard Colorado-Springs East location. Sales are steady, customers are happy and I love being able to bring joy to the community. I have lost more of my vision since I opened my franchise, but like you hear all the time, “when one door closes, another one opens.” And I like to add to that, you must take that risk and choose to OPEN your door. My door is closing when it comes to driving, but I have a 16 year old son, who has stepped up to drive me around. And of course a supportive husband who has literally become my eyes for me and I navigate this new season of life.
If anything, what I have learned about taking risks, is JUST DO IT! Whether it works out or not. I love this quote by Helen Keller,” You will succeed if you persevere; and you will find JOY in overcoming obstacles.” I think that goes with anything you do in your life. Choose to succeed, choose to have Joy and your life will be a journey to remember.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have always enjoyed being creative! It’s my happy place. So, when I had the opportunity to be creative and bring joy to others, it really was a dream come true. Card My Yard was the perfect fit for me. I love people and I love helping people be happy.
What sets me apart from others is the care and time that is spent in preparing each greeting. Each sign is carefully chosen to be unique and custom for each customer. I actually draw up and draft each order, so I can visually see what the final product will look like. I want it to be a Show Stopper for their occasion, but most of all, I want the customer to be happy.
This will be my second year owning my business. I was blessed to start during COVID 2020, which sounds a little different. But truly, business boomed. When the world shut down, people needed to still celebrate something. They needed Joy and I was lucky enough to bring it to them during a really hard time. Just like with any business, there is highs and lows. But I haven’t ever really felt the lows. Again, when you see how happy people are to being celebrating something special or doing something for someone else. You can’t but feel JOY!
Some lessons I have learned along the way are that, you never know what’s someone story is until you talk to them. I have many people who have order a greeting for their son who had heart surgery, someone who’s adoption became final and someone who would be celebrating their last birthday on this earth. All of my customers have actually become my family. We are Facebook friends or follow each other on IG. We really become family and it’s the BEST!
I have also have learned that if you have a great support group around you, you can do anything. For me, it has been my family. I love the quote, ” Behind every small business is a family.” And that is true for me. Because of my eye disease which is causing me to lose my vision and that I can no longer drive. My family has become the best UBER driver for me. I could not do it without them. They are the reason that Card My Yard Colorado Springs-East is still spreading JOY!
What I would like the world to know about me is that,” You can always find Joy in your Journey.” Whether it’s being kind to a stranger or just giving a smile to someone at the store. Those things go along way.
I know that Life doesn’t always go as you have planned, but it goes a lot better when you can see the good in it and those around you.
For me and my story, I just want those that are reading this, I have lost my sight, but I won’t ever lose my vision in having a successful small business.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to the Paint Mines in Calhan! The phrase “colorful Colorado” is the perfect description of this historic park. I think it’s one of the best hidden treasures in the springs!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a shoutout to my husband. I would not be the person I am today or the small business owner that I am with him and his help. He has been my number one support since day 1 of opening our franchise. Especially, these last few months with me losing my eyesight. He has had to really step in and help, and does it without any complaining. He has been my eyes in the dark when I can’t see. I have been blessed to have in my corner. Love you, babe.
My other shout out I want to give is to the community of Colorado Springs! This business would not work with out them. They allow me to come and help them celebrate the special occasions in their lives. They are the reason I am blessed to do what I do, and that is to spread joy. Thank you for being the best customers.
Anne Jensen Photography