We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin and Ryne Edwards and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin and Ryne, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind our success is our tribe. We have always strived to make giving back to our community, to our country, a vital part of our business. We aren’t just business owners; we open arms to our customers and, in turn, they become part of our tribe. When the pandemic hit in March, we opened our business closet and starting cutting into our inventory to help donate masks to those in need. We asked our tribe, our friends, if anyone would be willing to help us cover the cost of shipping some masks. The response we received was unbelievable and because of it, we’re still donating masks 8 months later. Our tribe believes in the good we try to do for the world and that has made all the difference for our business.
What should our readers know about your business?
Our business is multi-faceted. The PDC is Photo. Design. Comfort. Eleven years ago, we started photographing as we love the arts. We added in the design aspect of our business (custom clothing and home decor) five years ago. The comfort part came in 2017 when two of our children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Our therapists recommended weighted blankets and, after seeing the cost, we set out to help make them more affordable for others. Today, our weighted products are the biggest part of our business. Our business journey started with us needing extra income. Two full-time working parents doesn’t work when three of four kids have special needs. We had enough money to live on Justin’s military income but we didn’t have money for birthdays and Christmas. Our business was small for many years. We worked mainly by referrals from friends. It helped us just enough to make the holidays a little more cheerful for our kids. One of the best strategies that has worked for us business-wise is sharing part of ourselves with our customers. We encourage people to reach out and talk to us. We know many people who buy weighted blankets are struggling, with insomnia, anxiety, special needs kids, PTSD, so many things. We listen to their stories, the things they want to share with us, and we donate part of our business proceeds through each year to a variety of organizations that support the conditions behind their struggles. We like this open-door policy we have with our customers; it’s chicken soup for the soul when buying from a small business.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Our absolute favorite place is the beach and, since we are both natives of states on/near the East Coast, it’s always a good time taking visitors to the Pacific Ocean. We’re extremely spoiled by the craft beer in SoCal so we would no doubt be stopping by many breweries, especially Prohibition in Vista. Pizzamaniac in Vista is where we take all New Jersey visitors because they make the best pizza in the county (Thanks, Ben!). We love the outdoors so we’d go for lots of hikes– we still have to do Three Sisters Falls!
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?
We could fill a book with a shoutout to all the people who deserve recognition. Since this Shoutout came to us in response to the pandemic, we want to recognize the tribe we mentioned already- the people who stepped up and helped us help others without hesitation- and our friends at the San Diego Face Mask Sewing Group, who helped us fill mask requests and asked us for help when they needed it, too. Who deserves credit for our story? Our four amazing children. They are the reason we have this business and the inspiration for the good we do. We wanted to raise them to be the good in the world. That made us strive to set a good example for them. We never really had a measure of how well we actually did until the pandemic hit. All four of our children offered their free time to help with mask making and business tasks while we made masks. We are so proud of them and are proud of who they have become.
Family Photo Credit: Danielle Zumwalt – San Diego Family Photographer