Today we’d like to introduce you to Yolindi de Gouveia.
Yolindi, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have always had a fascination with Decorative Throw Pillows. They are such an amazing way to quickly change up your decor and liven up a space. I’ve had my fair share of pillows stuffed in closets as I change out different ones for holidays and such. The idea of simply being able to switch out covers was intriguing and most pillows available on the market don’t have removable covers and most are not washable.
Being originally from South Africa, I seem to have a streak of adventure in me. Looking for new things and discovering the unique and eclectic item. Finding little stores and nooks in new towns are always a welcome treasure hunt!
I started reselling throw pillow covers in 2016 and was amazed at how well unique designs sold and how much my customers liked them. Both my daughter and I are very creative and artsy, and evolving into creating our own personal designs just seem to come naturally. In August of 2016 I posted a few designs on Etsy to just see what would happen, and we were blown away at the reception we had our first Christmas season.
2017 has been filled with many learning curves, from homing in our design skills and balancing our love for the vintage “look” to also incorporate abstract and trending styles.
My daughter Carealee quickly became part of my business, as graphic designer and our in-house photographer. At only 15, she has an incredible eye for design and is very artistic. Since she home schools, she has flexibility to help in all areas of the business. She has a passion for graphic design and wants to further her education in that direction. I lovingly refer to her as our “Perfect Font Finder” as she has such a keen eye for both color balance and finding the right font! (We have hundreds of fonts!)
This year we are introducing a new Travel Pillow Line featuring amazing travel destinations around the world. We create both designs from scratch and license artists graphic designs as well. This gives us an amazing balance of artistic abilities and adds a unique flavor of design aspects.
We can create large continental sized pillows all the way down to our adorable mini pillow collection (and all the sizes in between) We have also added different fabric weights to align with the needs of interior designers and stagers. All our pillows have hidden zippers for ease of swapping out your decor.
We suggest our customers invest in a set of good quality inserts and then simply reuse the inserts by swapping out the covers. Since our customers need inserts as well, we added them to our product line this year. We have been blown away at how many inserts we sell! This year we are branching out and introducing various hard to find pillow sizes and shapes.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Nothing new started is ever easy. There are always learning curves and hurdles in life. I have tried various business ideas in my life, some have been successful, others not, but one learns from each venture on how to do things better the next time around.
Learning Photoshop has been interesting, and something we still work on, daily. One of our biggest challenges has been taking good quality, true to life color photographs. This has truly been challenging as we work with stark white material to the deep dark colors. We have gone through various cameras and light box setups to learning how to edit photographs correctly to have a clear result.
This is still challenging but we have improved the process tremendously!
My husband has a major heart attack on Easter Sunday this year, and it had added an aspect of complexity, as we didn’t have medical insurance at the time, due to a job change on his part. Balancing life, 4 children, and a new business is challenging both on a personal level and financial level as well. We have grown much in ourselves and look at life in a different light, knowing that things can change so quickly, and we must enjoy the journey as we travel along.
Please tell us about UniikPillows.
UniikPillows sells unique, fun and creative pillow cover designs. We create unique one of a kind designs for customers to fit both their decor and design needs.
All our covers have hidden zippers, so they can easily be removed and swapped out, so you don’t have to store bulky pillow inserts.
We use a high quality digital printing process, which is colorfast and enables our customer to wash their covers. A unique aspect in a world of spot cleaning throw pillows!
We provide the ability to print both photographs and graphics on our pillows enabling people to gift unique gifts, create pet memory pillows, or have something designed that is a one of a kind creation for their home or office.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Taken a few photography classes beforehand! LOL But, honestly, since I’ve had business experience and have started a few start-ups, I went into this business with a clear vision and knowing that I had to ask for help.
I believe one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is to ask for help when you need it, learn when you don’t know, and never be too proud to admit you don’t know something. Life’s journey is better when we lift each other up along the way, help others out and be kind.