On January 20th I mentioned to you that something new was coming…. That my husband and I started ‘doing’ and it lead us to something that can benefit many small local businesses in the Cedar Rapids, IA area. It is finally up and running and I am happy to share with you, our newest baby, the Cedar Rapids Marketplace.
We’ve combined the passion for buying local and the ease of shopping online into one easy-to-use site for both the consumer and the small business. Until now, there hasn’t been a way to discover all that Cedar Rapids area businesses have to offer without visiting every storefront, webpage, farmers’ market, and craft fair in the area. We strive to change that.
- To allow consumers to learn about, and shop from, many local small businesses from the comfort of their own homes.
- To give a platform for small business owners to promote and sell their products without much risk or investment on their end.
- To keep the connection thriving between the small business and their customers.
The community atmosphere from the local farmers’ markets is infused into this site. You can now shop many Cedar Rapids area businesses at the same time, year-round, 24/7, in the comfort of your own home.
I am excited about the connection that this blog, Highs, Lows, and Hair Bows, and the Cedar Rapids Marketplace will have. We are getting to work with so many small businesses in the Cedar Rapids area it will be great to share their stories into entrepreneurship.
Have thoughts on the Marketplace? Any businesses or products that you’d like to have easily accessible on one site? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂
Please take a moment like our new site on Facebook and support local small businesses in our community.
Small Businesses Coming Together Online Through A New Website
Starting Small, Dreaming Big
The Cedar Rapids Marketplace started out as a fleeting thought. So fleeting, that if it had not been verbalized, it might never have turned into fruition.
On November 30th, 2016 Robert Edilson sent a text to his wife, Cherie. The exact text said, “I just had the best idea. I can create a vendor site to sell farmers’ market goods. We can take orders on the site and have vendors ship them out.” Cherie knew that this idea could actually be something, and she pushed her husband to make it happen.
Coming up with business ideas is a normal part of Robert & Cherie Edilson’s daily life. Each of them owns their own small business. Robert is the Owner of Edilson Web Design, a local Cedar Rapids, IA web development firm. Cherie is the Owner of The Pink Barrette, LLC a small hair accessory business, and she also writes a blog titled Highs, Lows, and Hair Bows.
“I am a big believer in just start doing,” Cherie says. “It has become my motto for those that feel like they want to start up their own business, but aren’t sure what to do or how to begin. You can’t just sit around and wait for the ‘big idea’ to strike. Start doing something now, and it might lead to something else down the road.”
Robert ‘started doing’ web design in San Diego back in 2006 after he finished his time in the U.S. Navy. “I had a few friends that could code, and I thought it looked interesting, so I went to school and earned a degree in Computer Science.”
It wasn’t until 2009 when Robert and Cherie moved back to Iowa (Cherie’s home state) that Robert took his skills and turned them into a side business. “I had a regular full-time job, but I also started taking on small web design projects that I could do from home at night and on the weekends. The projects started out small at first, but as my skills developed, so did my business. I have been blessed with some really great clients that include The University of Iowa and Holiday Inn Express, among others.”
Cherie had spent most of her career working for child-serving organizations, however, after she had her second child, she was ready to spend more time serving her own children. “Robert’s web design business was going well, and we knew we wanted four kids eventually. After we had our second child, we made arrangements for me to be at home with the kids. Being a stay-at-home mom was great, but it was hard for me to totally let go of ‘working’. I still needed something to keep my mind busy.
I started dabbling in some DIY crafts, and one of them was hair bows. I didn’t even have a girl at the time, but this craft stuck with me. I couldn’t stop researching how to make them, buying new ribbon, and trying new arrangements. After a few encouraging words from friends and family, I decided to turn it into a business, and started selling my products at the farmers’ market, on my own website, and eventually Amazon.com.”
This past November after attending a small business conference in Nashville, TN, Cherie came back even more energized to succeed in business and started a blog to document her journey. “I felt like I had learned so much at that conference. I came back and I started reading so many books and listening to podcasts, and I wanted to share the information I was learning to help others to start or succeed in their own businesses.”
Through both of Robert and Cherie’s ‘doing’, the Cedar Rapids Marketplace was possible. Robert had acquired all the right skills to develop the site on his own. Cherie knew the processes, struggles, and successes of running a small home-based craft business and selling products both in person and online.
Great things are done by a series of small things that are brought together. -Vincent Van Gogh
Focusing on Collaboration, Instead of Competition
Robert and Cherie both agreed, “What makes us most excited about the Cedar Rapids Marketplace is that this business isn’t just for us. It is one that can really benefit our whole community. We are enabling local AND online shopping that will allow even the smallest of businesses to get off on the right foot, get noticed, and get sales.”
After a few months of hard work, the Cedar Rapids Marketplace is finally ready and going live in early March 2017. They have started out small, with a few select businesses, but their dream for the Cedar Rapids Marketplace is to be THE place to find out about and shop from local businesses in our community.
To find out more about the Cedar Rapids Marketplace, visit their website at www.cedarrapidsmarketplace.com.