Creativity & Class: Cambridge Avenue Design

Recently, I had the honor of interviewing my beautiful friend {+ girl boss!} Kathryn Loboda, of Cambridge Avenue Design. Along with her husband Chris, their online boutique {home of the original personalized stemless champagne flute!} has brought joy and style to celebrations the world-over. Her commitment to her craft and passion for life is contagious, and I encourage each and every one of you to consider Cambridge Avenue Design for your next keepsake memories and milestones.

Hi! I’m Kathryn, the founder of Cambridge Avenue Design. I will always be a Georgia girl at heart, but for the past seven years I have been loving every minute of living in the Sunshine State. In 2010, I graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Merchandising and Business. I spent the summer of my senior year interning at a bridal salon in Orlando, Florida and fell in love with the wedding industry and the Florida lifestyle. I had always dreamed of living by the beach and opening up my own little boutique, so after completing my internship, I decided to stay in Florida! I met my husband Chris a few months later and we got married in front of the most beautiful, turquoise ocean in Siesta Key in 2014. We both fell in love with the west coast of Florida and he promised me we would end up there one day. Fast forward to today: we are both running Cambridge Avenue Design full time and are living next to that beautiful blue ocean in Tarpon Springs, Florida. I have to pinch myself everyday!

What was your inspiration behind the creation of Cambridge Avenue Design?

"...for as long as I can remember, I have always been creative and have loved doing anything artistic. I would spend my free time sewing, painting, and making just about anything and everything. The thought of having my own Etsy shop was always on my mind, but I had no idea what I would sell. This was all until a friend convinced me to finally just go for it {thank you Kirstie!} I opened my shop and named it Cambridge Avenue Design. At the time, Chris and I were living in our first home we purchased together on Cambridge Avenue. This was also the name of the street that I was born on, so the name was a perfect fit! I started out selling sports themed baby bibs, bows, and painted wine glasses. Sales were pretty minimal, but I was happy to have a little extra spending money for the craft store! I wanted to offer more than sports related items and really wanted to make something a little girlier. The wedding industry was fresh in my mind after planning every detail of my own wedding the year before. Between that and my previous experience working at the bridal salon, I figured that would be the perfect fit!

I hopped on Etsy to find an EXTREMELY saturated market with decorated wine glasses for weddings. I felt a little intimidated, but thought it was still doable as long as I could make my glasses stand out somehow. While shopping for blank wine glasses, I noticed these stemless champagne flutes that I had never seen before. I instantly had this vision of a gold, cursive name going up the length of each glass. Holding my breath, I jumped on Etsy to see if anyone offered them. I literally squealed when NO ONE had them! I couldn’t believe it. As soon as I made my first prototype, I knew I had something good. Unlike my bows and baby bibs, these glasses took off instantly. I was absolutely thrilled. I got busier and busier and was able to slowly make the transition from my desk job to doing Cambridge Avenue full time."

What are your favorite things about running an e-commerce business? 

"...oh gosh, what is there NOT to love!? Let me start off by saying how grateful I am to live in a time where this is even possible. I am an introvert and homebody to the max, so being able to run an online boutique from my own home is literally better than anything I could have imagined!

I love the freedom that comes with being your own boss. It gives you complete control over every aspect of your business, both creatively and financially. It blows my mind that I can jump out of bed one morning with an idea, bring that idea to life, upload it to my shop, and hear the famous Etsy “cha-ching” hours later. The satisfaction of selling a product you created from scratch is unlike anything else! Not only do you not have to run your idea by anyone else, but you are able to offer it to the world within seconds of creating it. The sky is truly the limit when you run your own e-commerce shop. Thanks to the internet and social media, it has never been easier to get your name or brand out there. 

The flexibility is wonderful. Some days I will work 12 hours straight without a break because I am just so engrossed in my orders. I can turn on an audio book while I work and I swear the day just disappears! Other days, I need to unplug from the world and head to the beach! I love having flexibility and control over my schedule. There are no rules to when your day needs to start and end.

On that note, I LOVE waking up without an alarm. Being able to let your body wake up naturally is a gift in itself. I typically wake up before 8 every morning, do yoga on my patio, make a cup of a coffee and get started on my day. While never having to leave the house would make some people go crazy, it is a dream come true for me!"

What is your best advice for someone thinking about starting his/her own online business?

Three things!

JUST GO FOR IT! The best thing to do is to just dive in head first and know that the rest will fall into place. Even if you have no idea what to sell, just start somewhere. One thing will turn into another, which will turn into something else, and eventually you find your niche. If you put your whole heart into it and work hard, the rest will evolve naturally 

Differentiate yourself. I truly believe the only way to really succeed is to find a way to set yourself apart from everyone else. You have to create something that is new and different or you will get lost in the crowd. When I created my personalized gold champagne flutes, nobody had them on Etsy. Now there are hundreds of them that look exactly the same. My best advice is to be different from everyone else. Make your product stand out. 

This leads me to #3. Stay in your lane. It used to drive me absolutely insane when I saw people copying me. Not only did their product look exactly like mine, but I would often find my exact descriptions copied and pasted into theirs! They would often undercut me on price too, in order to get their sales up. Talk about a punch in the gut. I have found that I am happiest and do my best creative work when I don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. If people are copying you, it means you are doing something right. Run your own race don’t waste your precious energy on your competition. Just be better.

Fun Facts About Kathryn

Favorite Flower: ALL OF THEM! I am a crazy plant lady for sure. I especially love any flower that is pink and my yummy smelling gardenias!

Favorite Vacation Destination: Honestly, my favorite beach is about ten minutes from our house so a stay-cation would be ideal! We went to Colorado for our honeymoon and absolutely LOVED it, so I would definitely say somewhere snowy like the mountains too!

Favorite Sports Team: I am a huge sports fan. Auburn football, of course and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have to be my top two picks :)

Favorite Quote: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” I have had this quote plastered on my mirrors and walls for years and I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today without seeing it and really focusing on it every single day.

For more information on Cambridge Avenue Design, or to place an order for your next celebration, visit Kathryn and Chris through the link below.

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