In this week’s installment of Military Small Business, we’re excited to feature Changing Coasts Designs. A true family business, the team designs and engraves custom pieces of all varieties, from custom coin racks and promotion plaques to puzzles and home decor. Read more below!
Names: Michael & Mary Feulner (owners), Sarah Rivera (daughter/designer)
Hometown: Averill Park, NY
Current Duty Station: Pearl Harbor, HI
Q: Tell us about your business.
We design, cut, engrave custom pieces of all varieties. Wood, acrylic,, metal and leather are just some of the materials we work with. We make everything from custom coin racks, to promotion plaques, puzzles, to ornaments and home decor.
We also specialize in custom epoxy tumblers. We do glitter, hydrodipping, paint pours, and alcohol ink.
Q: What made you choose this type of business?
We have always enjoyed designing and creating new fun things and finally made this an avenue to expressing out creative minds. We have a wonderfully creative daughter who helps make the designs and we bring them to life.
Q: What motivated you to start your business?
We wanted to be able to make personalized gifts people wanted. Its one thing to give a gift from a big box store there’s so many options but its not unique in anyway. We are able to work with our customers to make truly unique pieces or put a twist on a design they have seen before.
Q: How do you manage the work/life balance as a submarine spouse?
My daughter Sarah and her submarine spouse, Raymond, lived in Guam for six years. When they found out they were having their second child overseas we decided that we didn’t want to be far from them anymore so we sold everything back home in New York and packed our bags for Hawaii. We have been here almost two years with the kids and are blessed to be among our grandchildren everyday.
My daughter is the sub spouse but I now see the life she has lived for the last nine years and the struggles that come with being an active duty spouse. I am thankful she finds the time to help design with us as it helps to keep her mind busy during long deployments. She does a great job balancing mom life, her own small business as well as designing with us. It has truly become a family business that is a great creative outlet for all of us during difficult times.
Q: Any advice for fellow submarine spouses who want to start their own business?
Do your research! Find out if there is a market for what you are looking to do. Start small and don’t overspend in the beginning if you can help it. Listen to your customers and your audience about what they would like , be willing to accept the customer is always right even if it means making a design 12 times over! Happy customers spread good words, word of mouth is everything in small business.
Q: Favorite thing(s) to do in your current duty station?
Go to the beach, light to moderate hiking, exploring culture of the island, and geocache hunting!
Q: Where can we support and learn more about your business?
We are currently on Facebook @Changing Coasts Designs
Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org