We had the good fortune of connecting with Meredith Woodruff and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Meredith, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
What’s funny is, I actually didn’t set out to start a business when all this started. I had an idea for a product that I really just wanted to make for our family. Somewhere along the way, I decided to make one hundred of these products instead of just one and try to sell them. I remember thinking to myself, “If all else fails, I will just give these concrete containers as gifts to my friends and family for the rest of my life.” Fortunately for my friends and family, we sold out of those containers within hours of opening our shop!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Starting a business was definitely a new venture for me. My background is actually in Social Work, so I knew almost nothing about starting and running a business. Once I had the idea for Concrete Conversations, I took it one step at a time. I spent the whole first year developing a quality product that I was truly proud of and I’m so glad I took my time. I feel like it set the precedent to pursue excellence in our brand as we continued to grow and develop new products.
As fun and exciting as starting a business has been, there have been plenty of challenges along the way. It’s been a huge learning curve for me! Running a business requires a lot of hard work, asking for help, and patience. The most helpful thing for me has been asking and embracing the advice and input of other business-savvy friends and acquaintances. This has saved me a ton of time and energy and reminds me once again, that life is better in community, even in business!
My goal for Concrete Conversations is that our products would provide quality questions to promote meaningful conversations that allow people to be more fully known. There are a few things that set Concrete Conversations apart from products that are similar in concept:
1. Our container is both functional and beautiful. We designed our product to be something that you’ll be proud to display on your kitchen table, mantel, or coffee table. That way, it’s always within hand reach and can be used at just the right moment. Each container and lid is hand-crafted by local artisans in the Dallas area.
2. There are varying levels of depth in the questions. Our product provides questions that vary in the level of depth and vulnerability required to answer. This allows the user to decide what types of questions best fit the occasion depending on if they are gathered around a table full of new faces, in a small group of close friends, or even on a date with their significant other. We now offer the question sets in a custom canvas bag so that you can carry your conversation on the road with you!
3. Every question is intentional. Our questions don’t just get people talking about the latest current events or TV sitcom (not that those can’t be interesting topics). Each question was written with the intention of wanting to grow in knowledge and understanding of another person. My hope is that everyone who uses our product would leave their conversations feeling like they at least had an opportunity to open up more about themselves if they wanted to.
At the end of the day, my hope is for Concrete Conversations to be a tool that equips people with intentional questions to better know and be known by those around them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Before I begin, just keep in mind that these answers are somewhat filtered through the life of a stay-at-home mom of three kids, five and under. But nonetheless, I’ve still got some places that don’t involve the Chik-fil-a drive through line. Breakfast: Goodfriend Package Their Farmer’s Biscuit Sandwich is heavenly. It’s also only $5 which just makes you feel like you’ve won at life. Coffee: Communion Coffee Coffee is an important subject in my family. Our favorite coffee and coffee shop atmosphere is hands-down Communion Coffee in Richardson. They have great indoor and outdoor seating options and they even have a family-friendly area outside with a ramp for kids to play on and wooden blocks to play with. Ice Cream: Tongue In Cheek Ice Cream. Another important subject in our family- ice cream. Tongue In Cheek Ice Cream is also in Richardson. Go. Go right now and get the Salted Caramel Ice Cream. You will thank me later. Pizza: Industrial Pizza + Brew Listen now. Industrial Pizza + Brew is the best around. Our favorite is “The Furnace”. It’s got roasted chicken, mozzarella, gorgonzola, rosemary, TX ranch, and buffalo sauce. I’m hungry just thinking about it. They also have gluten-free crust that actually tastes good and I appreciate that. Activities: Our family has been digging the Spring Creek Nature Preserve in Richardson. (Can you tell we live in Richardson?) There is a playground for kids right next to it, a trail to walk, or ride bikes or scooters, and nature to explore and play in. My kids are obsessed and being in the woods does something good for my soul. We also used to really enjoy the Arboretum and Dallas Farmer’s Market before moving a little farther north.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people who have helped support and enable this business to succeed thus far. A select few have spent countless hours helping me with design, marketing, logistics, and just general business strategy. First and foremost, I have my husband to thank. None of this would be possible without his constant support, encouragement, and help. From the very beginning, he has been excited, supportive, and genuinely helpful with whatever I need at any given moment. From watching our three small kids alone, to helping me sort out inventory crises or packing orders late at night, he’s all hands on deck and I couldn’t be more thankful. I also have some amazing girlfriends that I will never be able to repay for their time, help, and encouragement. Hunter, Amy, Cheno, Rachel, and Hailey, I’m looking at you!
Last but certainly not least, I have to thank my mom. From the moment I shared my idea with her, she supported and cheered me on. I think she was honestly more confident in the idea initially than I was! Thanks mom!
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