We’re loving showcasing Sideline customers who are inspiring entrepreneur examples. For our next customer feature, we sat down with inspiring entrepreneur examples, Vicktoria and Denver Pettigrew, the husband-wife team of Kidstance who took a family passion and turned it into a family business.
Q: Tell us about Kidstance.
A: At Kidstance, we create customized ride-on toys for kids. People come to us for a whole range of services for these toys, from suspension work to wheels to upholstery and paint and wrap. The company truly began as a hobby between father and son. My husband and our son love cars. They’re fanatics and have come to know everything and anything there is to know about them.
Q: Where did the inspiration come from?
A: My husband Denver’s passion for cars took us to a lot of different car shows. We had our son with us and we wanted him to feel like he was a part of the scene. So we decided to make him his own custom car, a Mini Cooper. After that first car show, Denver was already thinking up what he could do for the next one. He modified everything. No part of the car was the same, it had to be different and stand out. So he lowered the car, put different wheels on it and at the next car show, it stopped everyone in their tracks. We didn’t anticipate that people would love it so much.
From there, we changed our son’s ride-on toy for every event. A couple of friends asked him to make customized cars for their kids, and we did for fun. The next thing we knew, people were asking from out of state. It wasn’t anything that we planned. Denver had to choose between his previous career and running Kidstance. With his love of cars, it was hard for us to imagine him doing anything else.
Denver had to choose between his previous career and running Kidstance. With his love of cars, it was hard for us to imagine him doing anything else.
Q: As entrepreneur examples to our community, can you share how you built your customer base?
A: It sounds too good to be true, and I say this humbly, we didn’t put any money behind marketing or advertising. We started with Instagram, created an account, and our followers and customers just grew from there. We still haven’t formally put marketing resources behind Kidstance because Denver is the only person building the toys. With the amount of work already coming in, he’s looking into ways that we can scale and grow, for example, getting into manufacturing some cars or hiring more people to help.
Of course, it will take time to get to that point, but it’s crazy how busy we are. We have orders booked two months in advance. And at Christmas time, forget about it! We’ve built toys for people all over the world, including New Zealand, across Asia, the Middle East, and Canada. One of the most difficult places we shipped to was in the remote desert of Australia.
Q: How long have you been using Sideline? How have you been using it?
A: We have been using the app for roughly one year and it’s been a lifesaver after having tried a whole bunch of different options. At one point, we bought a second phone, but I didn’t like carrying two devices around. We got a landline installed, but when I was out, I would miss calls. I didn’t want to give out my personal number for Kidstance. Then a friend mentioned the Sideline app. I researched it, it solved all those problems, and it’s worked great from the moment I downloaded it.
I love the automation features like Auto-Reply, which sends customers a text if I’m out running errands and miss their call. It gives us options to automatically share specific information they might need, like pricing or shipping costs. We also use the Team Number feature, so the same business number is accessible on Denver’s phone and on my phone. When one of us unable to answer a call or respond to a text immediately, the other can be the one to pick up the conversation. It’s really helped us to provide a better customer service experience. Overall, Sideline works really well for us.
The one-on-one nature of calling and texting customers not only appeals to our busy lifestyle, but also to our customers who might be at work and just need to ask us a quick question by text.
Q: How has Sideline helped you grow alongside your customers?
A: It’s helped us a great deal. When we were using email to interact with customers, I felt like we were missing out on an opportunity to deliver a more personal experience. With email, sometimes requests are time sensitive and even though we do our best, we can’t get to everyone immediately. And so sometimes, a day or two would go by and it really bothered me. There’s something important about connecting with a customer directly that I knew was important to do.
With that being said, Sideline gives us have that personal touch. If I reach out to a company and our conversations are through email or voicemail, I’m turned off by the experience. Sideline allows us to grow and make a connection by providing our customers a means to talking to a real person without giving out our personal contact details. From a time-saving perspective, going back and forth on email isn’t efficient. The one-on-one nature of calling and texting customers not only appeals to our busy lifestyle, but also to our customers who might be at work and just need to ask us a quick question by text.
Q: As entrepreneurs and small business owners, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
A: There’s a lot that we’ve learned! First, don’t ever write off that you figured it all out when it comes to your business. We’re constantly learning. I’m an advocate for being hands on and learning myself, but also for reading so that you’re evolving. For example, when Toys R Us went out of business, I spent time trying to understand why and analyzing what they could have done better. And, from there, I asked myself what I could learn from their experience that applies to my own business.
You have to have passion and love what you do in order to be an entrepreneur because you take the brunt of the good and the bad.
Also, your word and your reputation are so important as a small business owner. You’re not going to please everybody and sometimes it’s easy to give up when that happens rather than persevering, but you have to remember that it all takes work. It’s not your typical 9-to-5 job, there’s no set paycheck. It has to be a personal grind. You have to have passion and love what you do in order to be an entrepreneur because you take the brunt of the good and the bad. You have to make your business happen, you feel it all. Entrepreneurs need to be a jack of all trades, even if they’re a master of none. It’s about building your wings as you’re falling to the ground. Denver and I have fallen plenty of times, but we get back up and don’t repeat the same mistakes.