Today we’d like to introduce you to Yolindi de Gouveia.
Yolindi, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
UniikPillows started as a small venture from our home and has evolved into what it is today.
Carealee and I are both artsy and love interior design and creating new things. Carealee is extremely talented and great at digital art. Four years ago, we created a few basic designs and decided to use them on pillow covers as unique décor. We loved the concept so much that we started selling them on Etsy, and it’s just grown from there.
A year ago, we opened our local studio workshop in North Phoenix, and have steadily expanded our local reach.
I don’t believe that success can be measured or attributed to just one thing. It is rather a series of successions that mold and make us and eventually create a successful life. I suppose we will always be growing and attaining, because as we grow our visions broaden and expand. I don’t believe that one ever “arrives” at any particular success, but rather, if you live your life being thankful every day, your entire life is made up of successful moments and thus you are successful.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We’re originally from South Africa and arrived in America with our suitcases in hand and a dream of a future. Things were not easy and we worked extremely hard to obtain anything we’ve accomplished. We have had major setups in our lives, however, we believe that God has a reason for everything and our character is molded as we go along. Giving up however, has never been an option, and we had to figure out how to overcome obstacles and grow from various experiences.
Two years ago, my husband has a heart attack and due to a job change, we didn’t have medical to cover the huge medical expenses we faced. It’s these life-changing events where one has clear options to either quit or make it work. I decided to turn my hobby into a serious business and against lots of odds, opened our first showroom in Phoenix.
There has been a lot of learning curves along our journey, but we face them together as a team. Taking clear and color correct photographs has been a major hurdle to overcome. We have spent hundreds of hours taking and editing and making sure that photographs correctly depict what people will purchase. As we grow and expand, we deal with inventory and stock levels demands, as we sell on various platforms.
Our business challenges are those of businesses around us. Marketing, Social Media, Exposure and Customer Care. However, we spend a lot of resources in learning and networking with fellow business owners as we all learn and grow together.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with UniikPillows – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
UniikPillows sells Eclectic Throw Pillow covers in all shapes and sizes. Since we do digital design, we can create amazing custom pillows for our clients. From color matching to creating various sizes and collections. We do a lot of pet memory pillows and have also started creating memory shirt pillows.
All our pillows have hidden zippers, so our designs can easily be swapped out to update your decor in minutes. Our covers are machine washable and durable. Our vision is for clients to have a set of covers in their linen closet, and easily swap out covers throughout the year, reusing their inserts. This way it eliminates bulky storage.
Since we sell Covers, we naturally have to sell Inserts as well. We have a wonderful local resource in Phoenix that can make pillow inserts in any shape and size we require. These are high-quality inserts that range from Economical inserts all the way up to down alternate cotton covered inserts.
Our customer service is top priority and we strive to create a relationship with our customers. Providing a quality product at a great price is very important and assisting people with design ideas and bringing their ideas to life is an amazing part of our business.
I believe that we all have something unique to offer that set us apart from the rest since we’re all different individuals. It’s not competing with others, but being yourself and letting that part of you shine through your business.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We are currently working on a subscription model for our business. This will allow us the needed growth and steady income we need as a business. Our subscription model will allow our members to “rent a pillow” and basically receive seasonal designs throughout the year to use in their homes and return for new designs.
We also offer professional pillow rentals for business reception areas, thus allowing businesses to decorate for the seasons, without the hassle or major expense.
We are constantly evolving and planning for the future. Carealee is adding a Custom Poster section to our business where posters can be designed around pillow themes to create a truly unique decor element.