In the heart of Canyon County, Idaho, backyards are measured in acres, crosswalks are for cattle, and Jodi Lewis is growing a global business from the family room of her modest ranch home. This is hardly Silicon Valley. It’s Idaho’s Treasure Valley, where Lewis is living her own brand of the American dream.
“Here I am in my house in a rural area, selling vinyl wall decals to people in New York or Pennsylvania, and even the UK,” said Lewis. “From the outside looking in, you would never think that this was a business that’s selling a lot of products.”
“You have to think about the logistics a lot more because you’re in the middle of Idaho. You’re not going to be able to run down to the store and pick up your vinyl that you ran out of. So it takes a lot of planning.”
Lewis grew up on the farm her great-grandfather built in the town of Melba, Idaho—population 300. “I’ve never thought about living anywhere else because this is just home.”
Working as a full-time nurse at the Veterans Administration, the mother of two longed to spend more time at home. She’d always considered herself crafty, with an eye for design. Noting the trend of vinyl wall stickers, she invested in a vinyl cutter and started making and selling her own decals, launching her company, LucyLews. She had to push past her own doubts that a business based out in the country could succeed. “You have to think about the logistics a lot more because you’re in the middle of Idaho,” she said. “You’re not going to be able to run down to the store and pick up the vinyl that you ran out of. So it takes a lot of planning.”
Her goal was to earn enough cash to cut back on her hours at the VA. In 2015, she listed her products on Amazon Handmade. Within a couple of months, Lewis said her products “started selling and selling.”
To keep up with demand, she enlisted the services of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) for her non-custom items. “That’s why you can have a little tiny business in Idaho and be able to sell a lot of product,” said Lewis. “I can just send it to Fulfillment by Amazon and they’re doing half the work for me by shipping it out and dealing with customer service.” With FBA, sellers store their products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and Amazon picks, packs, ships, and provides customer service for those products.
Lewis has since invested in two high-tech printers that allow her to create other custom products – from banners for her son’s basketball team to tumblers and wood signs. She quit her nursing job in July 2017 to run LucyLews full time.
Lewis’ business has outgrown her current home. She and her husband will soon break ground on a larger home, which is even farther from town.
“I never dreamed that I would be able to expand my business like this and live in the area that I love,” she said. “There’s opportunity no matter where you live.”