Meet Erin Shimkus: Owner of Arcadia Avenue Gifts

Erin started her gift shop in 2016 where she creates and sells unique polymer clay earrings and hand crafted bath bombs. Her Etsy store enables her to sell to clients all over the country. She makes unique pieces like cactus earrings to dinosaur bath bombs and everything in between!

Erin and her husband are stationed at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas. Her husband Dustin is in the U.S Army.

“My husband Dustin always knew that he wanted to serve in the Army from a young age. We both come from families with individuals who served in both Army and Navy. After attending a military college and commissioning into the army, we began to find that the community that the military provides is very special.”

How has your spouses deployments/trainings effect your business?

Managing Arcadia Avenue Gifts while my husband was deployed on a rotation to Korea gave me a sense of purpose and pastime while awaiting his return. I was able to move my small business with me from Ft. Bliss, Texas to Massachusetts (where I am originally from) where I spent the duration of his deployment with my family. The flexibility of picking up and moving a small business is a blessing as a military spouse. 


Where have you lived and what has been your favorite base so far?

We have lived at Ft. Eustis, Ft. Lee, and Ft. Bliss. My favorite duty station was Ft. Eustis in Newport News, Virginia. We both loved the diversity of the state- from the mountains in the west to the beaches in the east- there was so much the area had to offer!


What is the biggest challenge of being a military spouse and pursuing your career?

The biggest challenge presented as a military spouse who also runs a small business is lack of time! Prioritizing time as I fill the roles of mother to three, military spouse, and small business owner can be exhausting. There never seems to be enough time in the day to complete all the tasks that need to be done! Learning to adapt to circumstances, such as a spouse being gone, the kids having activities or appointments, or moving to a new location, can be challenging, but are all parts of the military lifestyle. 


What are your other hobbies? 

In addition to creating the handmade polymer clay earrings and handcrafted bath bombs that I sell in my shop, I love to do other crafts and DIYs. I also love to bake and travel!

What are some benefits of being a military spouse as a business owner?

One of the biggest benefits I’ve found as a military spouse and small business owner is that customers are all over the country! Every new duty station is an opportunity to promote and grow business further. The flexibility of moving my small business wherever we go is a blessing. Having resources like Facebook groups for spouses to advertise their business is also a great tool to get the word out! 


If you could, what advice would you give yourself when you first started your business?

If I could give myself a piece of advice from when I started Arcadia Avenue Gifts back in 2016, it would be to be patient and give the business time to flourish. Growing the customer base and finding what products are top sellers will take time and trial and error. I would encourage myself to be confident in sharing my shop and what I have to offer with others. 


Contact info:

Website- arcadiaavenuegifts.Etsy.com 

Email- emfalkenstrom93@yahoo.com

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/arcadia.avenue/

Join her Facebook group – “Arcadia Avenue Gifts”

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