Big Dot of Happiness originally began as a hobby for Sherri Yukel. She started out creating handcrafted gifts for friends having babies. That crafting expanded to include crafting games and décor for the baby showers.
As her crafts became more and more popular among friends, Sherri decided to begin selling her handcrafted items at craft fairs, and eventually decided to try selling her products online.
"I taught myself how to code, built my first website and started selling my products on there," Yukel said. "Eventually my business evolved to fit the party planning markets."
As the business grew, Sherri’s husband, Scott, left his engineering job to join Sherri and focus on the financial side of the business, taking on the title “Connector of Dots”. In 18 years, the company has grown to more than 60 employees and has an increasingly large customer base.
"As sales continued to increase, I quickly realized that I was on to something, so we started hiring designers," Yukel said. "When we started to sell on Amazon, we really saw our business take off."
The company is regularly developing new party themes and launching new products on Amazon. "Our creative team is incredibly talented," says Yukel. "We are truly passionate about watching trends and being first to market and we listen to what the customer wants." With ninety-eight percent of their design and manufacturing in Menomonie, Wisconsin, Big Dot of Happiness is able to design, get the copyright, and start selling new products on Amazon within three days.
"We have a rule of thumb here that the ultimate sin is not getting décor to our customer’s event," Yukel said. "If our products arrive late, then we miss the party and there’s no going back in time. Amazon Prime is so dependable that it's just a perfect fit for us. With Prime, the customer doesn’t have to pay extra for fast shipping."
Yukel credits using Fulfillment by Amazon, which makes her products eligible for Two-Day Shipping for Prime Members, and also available to ship to Canada and the United Kingdom, as a crucial part of Big Dot of Happiness' success. Her plans for Big Dot of Happiness include continuing double digit growth in the U.S. and eventually expanding to Amazon Australia.
"People often wait until the last minute to plan a party, because of their busy schedules or last minute RSVPs," said Yukel. "With Two-Day Shipping, customers can procrastinate and shop party themes closer to the event. It's a win/win for our party planning experts and our customers."
"Our business wouldn’t be where it is without Amazon," Yukel said. "People may not always understand they are buying from these small businesses all around the world. Amazon has truly embraced the small business owner and allowed us to use its platform, technology and infrastructure to sell our products. Otherwise we would never be found."
"I love to see how people celebrate special occasions in other areas of the world," said Yukel. "We feel incredibly blessed in our life."
Three questions with Sherri Yukel, founder of Big Dots of Happiness
What was the most difficult part of starting your own business?
"Believing in yourself! Many times, you’ll have self-doubt... I go into new ideas and concepts knowing some will fail some will work. But if you don’t TRY you’ll never know."
Is there anything you would have done differently in running your business, if you could?
"Speed to customer is critical and our manufacturing location maybe would have been better in a different logistics location. BUT we love Wisconsin and our staff is amazing, so we’ll stay right here... It’s home."
What advice do you have for others who may be considering starting their own small business?
"Don’t think you need a million dollar idea to start your own business. Start small; start with a few thousand dollar ideas and see what happens!"
Check out more Sherri's story at the Dunn County News.