From a clown to college dropout to a multi-million dollar business owner, Kirstie Rickerts knows a thing or two about purpose. As founder and owner of AmourPrints, her business began as a small Etsy store and after three and half years it has been projected to make $6 million in the next year. “I knew what I wanted when I dropped out of college.”
Before the success of AmourPrints, at the age of 17, a shy and awkward Kirstie took to balloon twisting and started her first gig as a restaurant balloon artist. She was told by her boss that she had to be social and overly-friendly or she would be fired. Though she was gripped with fear, she had to believe in herself for the first time in her life. Somehow believing was all it took for her to survive her first day. With new-found confidence, she felt the desire to try new things and pursue new endeavors. This meager beginning ended up playing a pivotal role in her life, and opened the door to new possibilities. Foremost among them, starting a business with no proper education. “I had no money or education and literally thought, hey why don’t I start a business,” Kirstie said laughing.
Kirstie always felt like the black sheep of her family, as everyone had college degrees and worked white collar jobs, she wanted to do something different. She tried college, but it wasn’t a good fit. She was truly fulfilled by launching her etsy store in 2013. “I was so thrilled about my first sale! I put in so many hours into that shop until one day it was shut down by Etsy for some error. It didn’t stop me though and I enlisted the help of my fiance to help me automate the process,” she says. Her fiance also dropped out of college to help run AmourPrints with Kirstie.
Despite the hard work and the sales, Kirstie and her fiance were still battling the opinions and comments from relatives about their business endeavours. “Our families would often express their concern for our decision to not go to college. They feared we were making a terrible decision and suggested many other occupations which we refused to do,” she explained. Shortly after the two got married, they had a sign of good faith when their business had its first big month and they could miraculously live on their own. During the time they moved out, they put even more into their business. By the next year, they were able to buy their first home and Kirstie and her husband had their daughter who is now 4 years old.
Shortly after AmourPrints biggest successful year they had their Etsy shop accidentally taken down again. After so many failed attempts at trying to get their shop back up, they decided to just move over to Shopify. “Shopify was not easy like Etsy and you had to do everything from the ground up. Etsy did the work for you while Shopify was your template. I had to learn Web design dev, seo, hiring employees, ads, and much more,” Kirstie explained. “Our first year we were able to make $50K. My husband focused on the designs and production while I did everything from A-Z. Our second year we did $100K.”
2019 was a really difficult do or die moment for Kirstie and her business. They lost a significant amount of money and were wondering if they were going to make it at all. When COVID hit and everyone went into lockdown, Kirstie and we didn’t know if their business would survive. She began searching for ways to get their product out there for more visibility and effective strategies. “I upgraded to shopify plus and took a risk and invested all of our money. Last year, in 2020, we somehow miraculously made $3.6 million dollars and this year we are on track to do $6 million,” Kirstie says, beaming. “I have worked so hard and I give God the credit for helping me through this. Our families now are very proud of us and understand why we didn’t give up now.”
In three and a half years, Kirstie took AmourPrints from $0-$4 million. “As a Christian, we are currently led to donate a percentage of our business to help those in need. We are currently giving to World-Vision to fight homelessness all over the world. With each sale, a portion is donated to a good cause.”
AmourPrints has experienced a large amount of growth in a short amount of time. With Kristie’s creative art prints and media, she has been able to connect with customers, introduce more product designs, and do what she loves. Check out her customizable designs online and order a sweet gift for someone you love.