Your Name: Sandi Timberlake

Business Name: A Little To The Left, a gay friendly greeting card company

Type of Business: Greeting Cards

Business Location: San Diego, California, United States

Twitter @littletotheleft

Reason for starting
I am the mother of a gay son who is married to his partner of 20 years. For over 15 years I complained that I couldn’t find a decent card to send to my son and son-in-law on their anniversaries, for Christmas, etc. I kept saying I should just make them myself. In 2007 my son said, “Mom, why don’t you just do it?” In 2008, I did. I launched the business in September 2008, with 20 greeting cards for gay and lesbian couples for weddings, unions & anniversaries. I now have over 70 designs.

Biggest Success
My biggest success is that I have managed to get my cards in over 30 stores throughout the country pretty much on my own. But the best accomplishment is getting my cards in Albertsons grocery store in Palm Springs. They approached me! And I hope that my cards will be in more than one of their stores soon.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My biggest challenge is financial. So far I have funded the entire business out of my pocket draining my retirement fund. If there is one major area where I need help it is in funding. The second biggest challenge is getting my cards into stores. Most of the stores that carry my cards do so because I came knocking on their doors – cold calling on them. The rest were gotten through direct mailing campaigns I’ve conducted. But I need a sales force to call on stores and promote re-orders.

Who is your most important role model?
I can’t say I have a role model. My son is my inspiration. I have been traveling the journey alone. I just knew that I could not be the only mother out here with this problem.