Today we’d like to introduce you to Irene Castro.
Irene, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and raised in Miami, FL and grew up with my grandparents by my side. They were small business owners, they owned a small sub shop called Hoagie Hut in the center of Miami. As a young girl, I worked every summer with my grandparents where they taught so much about hard work and dedication. Because of my grandparents, I grew a deep love for small businesses. The idea of Little Wooden Box was born from this love and from the birth of my daughter Allison. I had been working as an Assistant Office Manager at an OBGYN for six years. Thankfully, when my daughter was born, I was able to work from home and stay with her for a year. Once I returned to work full time, I realized that I wanted to have my own business, have my own schedule and create something that one day will inspire my daughter, as my grandparents did with me.
When I started Little Wooden Box, I knew I wanted to create something for pregnant women. Going through pregnancy and birth made me realize how much pampering and feeling loved is so important for women who become moms, especially for the first time. After returning to work and building the idea of LWB, I took the leap with my fiancee who opened his construction company and needed help starting it up. So, I quit my corporate job and started working with him in Casa Batista, LLC. This gave me the flexibility to work on LWB and spend more time with my daughter. As I started bringing my idea of LWB to life, I started to meet so many small shops and admire their dedication to making handmade and natural products. Little Wooden Box’s goal is to support small, local and women-owned businesses while bringing together natural, safe and handmade products to all women.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It wasn’t a smooth road and still isn’t. It’s been a huge learning experience for me in so many ways. When I started Little Wooden Box it was meant to be a subscription box for each trimester of pregnancy but it didn’t turn out that way. Our goal is to eventually turn it into a subscription box but I didn’t want to let that idea stop me from continuing the dream of LWB. When you’re starting from the bottom, it’s hard to make every idea possible. There’s always the struggle of not knowing if your business will succeed, if it’s worth it, if you’re doing it right, etc. It’s kind of the same feeling of being a first-time mom. You never know what you’re doing and you just pray you don’t mess up your kid! One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is funding. It’s hard as a small business to secure funds for inventory but little by little I try to make it work.
Little Wooden Box – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
At Little Wooden Box, we curate pregnancy gift boxes for each trimester. All our boxes are packaged inside a wooden box which we also personalize. We can stamp a name or saying on the outside of the box to give it a personal touch for anyone who receives it. Most importantly, all the products in our boxes are from small, local or women-owned businesses. Every item is either handmade, natural or safe in pregnancy. Our goal is to support these businesses while also pampering moms. We’ve now started to curate boxes for different occasions such as bridal showers, birthdays and breast cancer awareness. We hope to continue making different boxes so that we can expose other small businesses while providing a gift that will last forever.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is defined in my book as achieving your goals. They can be long term, short term, personal, or business goals. Writing down my goals and being able to achieve them have been a huge accomplishment for me. Something as little as reaching 1,000 followers on Instagram has given me a little piece of success or hope that my businesses can grow. The more goals I set, the more I strive to accomplish them and reach my version of success.
- Pregnancy Boxes range from $110-$120
- Customized Box range from $20-$100
- Website: www.littlewoodenboxcompany.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @littlewoodenboxcompany
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Littlewoodenboxpage/?ref=bookmarks
Racheal from @blissfulhazephotography