IWCI Feature: Hillary Duncan Design

What motivated you to start your business? What drives you each day? 

I was furloughed from my job back in 2020 due to Covid.  With all the uncertainty surrounding what was going on, I decided I wanted to start my own business. I’ve always had a passion for creating and designing. 

What’s unique about your business?

All of my products are handmade. Most of the colors I use are custom mixed, so you won’t be able to find them in a store.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as you’ve grown your business? 

Definitely time management. With a growing business, it’s easy to get caught up in the creative side and put the finance side on the back burner.  Also, working a full-time job on top of owning a small business puts a time restraint on when I can be working on my earrings.

What has been your greatest reward? 

I love seeing people love my creations as much as I do. I put my heart into these pieces, and it brings me so much joy seeing other people rocking them. 

How have you benefited from the startup community in Sioux City and the region? What resources did you use?

The Siouxland Community has had a huge impact on helping me grow my business. I joined the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce in October of 2021 and have worked with Iowa’s West Coast Initiative. They had the Small Business Marketplace and always have different events going on to encourage and support small businesses. Other local businesses have offered their support and services as well. It is wonderful to be part of the community.

Are there any experiences that were particularly influential in that regard?

Recently, I was a guest speaker at First Friday Coffee; an event put on by Iowa’s West Coast Initiative for small businesses like mine. It’s such a great tool for networking and getting to know other small businesses in the community. I met several amazing business owners that I’m looking forward to working within the near future. 

Why is it important for the community to support startups and small businesses? What more can be done to help them?

When you support a small business in the community, you reinvest in Siouxland. The money stays local and helps continue Sioux City’s growth. 

What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when starting your business?

Learn to say no. When I started my business, I wanted to do everything I could to get my name out there and really stay busy. I had something going on every weekend, and if I didn’t, I was at home creating. I’ve learned now to take time for myself. Enjoy the process and continue to perfect my craft. 

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business?

Do it. There’s no better time than now to start. The world would miss out if you don’t share your gifts and talents. Give yourself grace and patience when first starting and doing your research. Learn everything you can about whatever business you’re going into for yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Success doesn’t happen overnight. That’s something I have to remind myself every day. It will take A LOT of hard work and is not for the faint of heart. You will face self-doubt and even the occasional imposter syndrome, but keep going. If you fail, try again. I look at failure as learning opportunities. You can only grow from it. 

How can the community continue to help your business?

Share, share, share. Whether you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, just by liking or sharing any of my posts helps get the word out about my business. Tell your friends. Word of mouth is huge for small businesses. If you love my products, please leave me a review on Facebook. 

What are some future goals for your company?

I would love to travel and get my products into other boutiques around the country. I would also love to support and mentor other small businesses, teaching them what I’ve learned along my journey. Building a consistent following on my website and continuing to watch it grow and flourish is also a priority. 



Instagram: @HillaryDuncanDesign

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