Years in Tampa Bay
Chief Executive Officer at DoorFoto
What do you do?
At DoorFoto. we create customized fabric door covers. I run all operations of the business. DoorFoto is 100% online, so customers can choose from over 1,800+ images or they can create their own design with our design online tools. I handle all the incoming orders with my co-worker, Kayla. We print to order, so we don’t create any excess inventory or waste. Because we use automated tools like HubSpot, Shopify and Shipstation, our process is extremely efficient and we use third party companies to help us with our marketing via Google and Facebook Ads.
Why do you do it?
Our company was born with a simple goal … to offer people a unique, more vibrant way to decorate their doors.
What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)
Initially, we had no plans on starting this company. Back in 2018, while at the Gasparilla Festival, my friends and I noticed a trend where people were decorating their front doors with elaborate and expensive pirate wreaths. I’m not a wreath person and thought a better idea would be to buy a door wrap with a cool pirate image that would cover my entire front door. So, I went online and searched everywhere but couldn’t find anything for a door. Everyone seemed to be focusing on customized blankets, pillows and bedding. The only products I could find online for doors were cheap-looking decals or door stickers with silly kid-like pirate images. The local commercial printers I approached wanted $180+ to create something for me! I knew a product could be created digitally using athletic fabric that is washable, reusable, stretchable and affordable. So we started building this company to, in essence, scratch our own itch.
What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?
Most people are shocked to know that we manufacture everything here in Tampa. Most people assumed (including all of my friends) that we were buying products from China and reselling them. When you go to our website and see thousands of images, people just assumed we were buying all of this inventory overseas. It is the exact opposite as we keep almost zero inventory, which allows us to be competitive and offer thousands of images as we only need to print what is ordered.
What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?
Awareness. Our product is unique in that it is made out of athletic fabric that is washable, reusable and stretchable. This is a revolutionary idea for door decorating as it only takes 28 seconds to hang up and take down without scratching the door or needing any hooks or tape. People have never seen this before as they are used to seeing cheap stickers or decals that are sold online. Therefore, we have to educate the market on how our product is different and better, which is very challenging for a small startup.
What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?
I once read a book called “Little Bets.” The idea proposed in the book is to take a lot of little bets on things until something clicks and then you iterate to make it better. I like this concept a lot and use this structure to create something I call Little Wins. Starting a company has a lot of high highs and low lows. Every day, I look for a “Little Win.” It could be a new order or maybe a new 5-star review. Whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be big but lets me know that we’re on the right path to success. Sometimes the Little Wins turn into Big Wins, like our recent approval by the NCAA to start selling DoorFoto for colleges we decide to partner with.