Rebecca Morris is someone I really admire. She has owned and operated WildCard in Lawrenceville since 2009. It’s going strong and continues to grow every year. It’s been amazing to watch her business evolve from a one person operation to now having a whole team help run the store.
When I moved back to Pittsburgh from Bethlehm, PA a few years ago, I heard about this new shop opening that was similar to “Etsy” but in a building. I was curious so I headed over to check it out.
When I first visited, we chatted about her plans for WildCard and she agreed to let me do a post. I did warn her that my site was new, she would be my first interview and there would be no fame out of it, sound good?! She agreed and the rest is history. A follow up interview is long over due.
What’s different now from when you started in 2009:
When I came up with my original business plan, I had included a workshop or class component. When we first opened, a lot of people asked if we would be having classes. When we tried to host them, not many people actually signed up and the attendance was low. After awhile, I decided it would be better to drop them entirely. I also thought I would be selling more DIY items, such as sewing notions and kits and other art supplies. We do carry some of those items, but to a much smaller degree than I imagined when I started.
Another thing that is different is my role. In the beginning, I did everything. I worked the sales floor, did the merchandising, buying, bookkeeping, cleaning, etc. I have since hired several awesome people who help with many of these tasks. So, I would say my hours worked per week and stress level have gone down a lot since I opened!
There’s a lot of components to your store, were you scared to start this business venture:
Yes, I was scared. I was worried that I would not be able to afford my mortgage and other bills. It was definitely hard at first and I ran up a lot of credit card debt while I was ramping up, but it got easier after the first year. I was scared, but I knew that if it failed, I could always go get a job and move on. Fortunately, the shop’s location in Lawrenceville started becoming a destination, so I had the business of my local regulars, as well as people coming in from other areas of the city and region.
Are you planning on opening another store:
As of now, I have no plans to open another location. I hope to work on adding more products to our website as a way to grow the business in the next couple of years. I wouldn’t entirely rule out another location, but definitely not at this time.
What are you most proud of:
I’m proud to sell the work of many local and national artists and makers. We do sell some items from larger companies, but the bread and butter of what we sell comes from small businesses, and I am happy to share their work with the customers who choose to spend their money at my small business. I am also proud to employ 4 full-time and 2 part-time employees.
If you have never visited WildCard, I am not sure why but you should head over, even if it’s just out of curiosity. The crew that works there are always friendly and happy to help you out. It’s seriously one of my favorite places to get gifts in Pittsburgh.
I want to thank Rebecca for agreeing to an interview years ago and today.