This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know Stacie of Gingiber, a maker of illustrative paper goods and homewares.
LBC: What inspired you to take the leap as an entrepreneur?
Stacie: My entire life I had wanted to be an artist. After college I worked as a coffee shop manager, and then as an admin for a research department. I realized after years of working for other people that the only way I could have a career that made me happy was to branch out on my own and start selling my own creative work.
LBC: How would you describe what you create?
Stacie: I create illustrative paper goods and homewares. I focus on prints, pillows, stationery and more that are sweet enough for children but smart enough for adults. I try to find the perfect balance of artfulness & playfulness in each illustration.
LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?
Stacie: I did not really have a clear “vision” for the business. My only goal in the beginning was to sell enough art prints to pay for the equipment that I had purchased. Then as things progressed, I realized that Gingiber filled a specific niche in the nursery decor market. Soon, we expanded to include items like tea towels and stationery. Now I feel that the sky is the limit for where Gingiber can go!
LBC: Where can we find your products?
Stacie: Our products are carried in over 100 brick and mortar shops across the world, as well as sold online via our Gingiber website, and also in our Gingiber Etsy shop.
LBC: Walk us through a typical work day.
Stacie: Every work day is different! I wake up around 7, feed my kids, get them off to school, and then go to my office to begin prepping orders with my production assistant. I spend about 3 hours in “manual labor” mode. Then after my assistant leaves, I transition to “creative time”, where I attempt to finalize the next season’s line, answer emails, and source materials for new projects. Around 2 PM I begin the journey of picking up the kids from school. We spend the rest of the evening playing, doing homework, and cooking until bedtime. Then I am back at work: answering emails, planning social media, and sketching. However, this would be a perfect day. Most days vary slightly
LBC: What are the three things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?
Stacie: Love your product. Believe in it. Make sure that you can see yourself in that industry for the long haul. Can my business idea be profitable? Never underestimate the value of sitting down, figuring how much profit you need to succeed, and then work backwards until you see the clear picture of how many items you will need to sell to hit your goal. Find a support system of fellow makers & mentors who can help you navigate the tricky ins and outs of getting a business off of the ground!
LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?
Stacie: When I feel completely overwhelmed, I get away from the “work” part of my job and go sketch. I try to get out of the office or my house and find a place that inspires me. There is something therapeutic about getting back to what started Gingiber - the illustrations, and remembering the joy that art brings me.
LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?
Stacie: Without getting too specific, once I tried a different production method for a very popular product. Long story short, I didn’t visit the facility in person that was manufacturing, and also made some assumptions that we were on the same page in terms of quality control. I lost a lot of money due to not over-communicating my expectations and was left with unsellable products.
LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?
Stacie: We are passionate about animals, and last year we introduced our “52 Weeks of Dogs” project, where a portion of every online sale of our dog illustrations was donated to The Humane Society. We are still selling these prints, and every year we will be donating to support dogs and cats.
LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox you can’t do without?
Stacie: I can’t live without Instagram. It connects me to my customers, allows for instant feedback on images and product introductions, and lets me interact with my creative colleagues. I can’t do without Adobe Creative Suite and my scanner. I need them in order to create my artwork. Finally, a good CPA! I happened to be related to my CPA (he is my father-in-law) but without proper financial guidance, it is really easy to grow a business but get in a lot of trouble with taxes, payroll, etc.
LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If we blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?
Stacie: You would see Gingiber selling a much larger variety of American Made textiles, expanding into more kitchenwares, like aprons and plates. We would have our own brick and mortar store up and running. Hopefully our team of employees will have grown tremendously, employeeing several local and remote creatives to help keep up with Gingiber demand. You would see the Gingiber brand in major stores worldwide. And you would see me finally taking a vacation
LBC: What the one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?
Stacie: I would eat homemade fettuccine Alfredo. Seriously I cannot get enough of it!
LBC: Will you share one of your guiltiest pleasures?
Stacie: I LOVE the teen show Pretty Little Liars. Seriously. I am nearly 30 and should not be watching that kind of TV. But I love it.
LBC: What is your spirit animal?
Stacie: My spirit animal is a fox.
Thank you, Stacie, for sharing your fabulous talent and awesome line with us. We look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for Gingiber. We’re cheering you on!
Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker Monday” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!