Toni Ogden created Sour Sentiments, an e-commerce business specializing in snarky gifts and greeting cards, because she wanted an escape from cubicle-based life. She didn’t have a lot of capital, but she was undeterred. “As a small business owner, there will always be a competitor who has more capital, more of the market, more experience,” she says.
Instead, she focused on the things that larger companies couldn’t offer, like a personal connection with her customers. Now she is “President, CEO, Queen, Czarina, Empress, Prime Minister, Premier, and Owner” of her own profitable and rewarding business.
Ogden sells products that make her laugh, from crazy cat lady action figures to “erase your past” gum to snarky greeting cards for every occasion.
Ogden had very little business experience when she first started, so she needed a mentor who could provide objective and practical guidance. She met with her mentors, Bob Jones and Bob Poor, one or two times per month and attended SCORE workshops on startup basics including creating a business plan and acquiring funding. Her mentors helped her find creative, low-cost ways to market Sour Sentiments.
Ogden offers other prospective business owners this sage advice: “Before you start, decide whether business ownership is right for you and why you want to own a business. Is it for fun? To make a difference? To improve the quality of your life or to make a million dollars? Know your “why” because if it isn’t strong enough it won’t get you through the long hours, challenging times, and roadblocks you will inevitably face.”
On a bootstrap budget, Ogden launched a thriving e-commerce business which she successfully markets on a number of online platforms.