Podcast #24: Going From a Big Business to a Small One and Loving it More – with Ericka Engelman

Ericka Engelman

In today’s episode, I interview Ericka Engelman from Ericka Engelman Couture, in Carmel, CA. Ericka is SO HONEST – she even talks numbers. She tells us how much she grossed in her couture business and how much she was able to take home. She’s not shy about her struggles or her successes and she doesn’t mince words. She is a tremendous, sharing entrepreneur and I think you’re going to love her as much as I do!

“A lot of stuff doesn’t matter. Working yourself to death doesn’t get you any farther” – Ericka Engelman

In this episode, Ericka and I discuss:

  • Her she went from selling her line from her front porch to selling to the 1%-ers
  • How she built her business to be BIG (and complicated)
  • The ups and downs of having a big bridal salon 
  • The recession – trying to hold on too long, having to let employees go
  • The tough decision to close her salon and scale down
  • Finding the courage to raise her prices
  • Reinventing her business to fit her life
  • How she actually makes more money with the SMALL biz (she took home $80K last year)
  • The power of saying NO and making changes – even when it’s terrifying

Click below to listen to the interview:

You can also also click here to download the podcast to any device as an mp3


Ericka Engelman

Find Ericka and Ericka Engelman Couture here: 

Mentioned in the Interview:

  • Human B with Boaz David and team

What do YOU think? Good or bad, I just LOVE hearing from you! Let me know in the comments below. 

As always, thanks for reading and listening,




10 Responses

  1. This was an excellent interview. It was great hearing about the reality of ups and downs of the business and understanding how at some points you have to swallow your pride to take care of yourself.
    Thank you!

    1. I totally agree, Frances. And I have HUGE respect for Ericka and her generosity with being completely honest about how things were at certain points in her career. Not to mention how awesome they are right now and the real journey it took to get there. – Jane

  2. This was so powerful! There is hope after spending all my savings to make a go of my start up and be in control of my own future.
    Erica and Jane thanks you!

    1. Go Tahra! I have tears in my eyes right now thinking about you and how many of us put our life savings into something and the courage and grit and leap of faith it really takes to be an entrepreneur. Powerful, indeed! -Jane

  3. Hi Jane! Thank you for such a great podcast! Sometimes the custom/couture designers who are just starting out such as myself need some encouragement too. We’re not all in for selling wholesale, so thank you for having Ericka tell her story. I loved this podcast. Ericka was amazing at letting us know the good, bad and the ugly. I needed to hear this and from someone who’s gone through hills and valleys to get to where she is today. I feel so much better about pursuing the couture path. It’s not an easy ride but I don’t think any direction you choose is a piece of cake.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Patricia. I think you’re right that no path is “easy” but more and more i see entrepreneurs doing their own thing and not feeling like they have to follow a certain path. I love seeing this — and it allows us all to build our businesses the way it works for each person. Have a great day! Jane

  4. Loved listening to your Podcast #24, which I found very enlightening. In the podcast, Ericka mentioned a Boaz pricing chart for manufacturing, which helped her greatly in her business.

    Pricing is an area which has always given us concerns, and we’re never quite certain if we’re charging enough or too much. Would love to see the pricing chart Ericka mentioned, but tried to locate it on line and was unable.

    Can you help?

    By the way, can’t believe the information you’re making available to new designers. So glad I found your website. Thank you.

  5. Hey Jane….I just listened to your interview with Ericka……you are right….she is awesome…..the best part for me is I found my identical twin so to speak. She and I are the same age and have gone thru such similar ups and downs. It is so nice to know that I am not the only one who doubted my business sense due to some down times that were financial ….and have long term impact.
    Also, that things are so different for those of us who learned and began in the 70’s versus the designers who are starting out today.
    I too have had made many changes and get distracted by new thoughts and ideas ….another affirmation that creative minds are always open and moving.

  6. What a completely humbling experience listening to my own story, Thank you Jane for the opportunity. Time goes by so fast and getting a chance to revisit and share some of the turning points in my life helps me to move forward even more fearlessly…

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