We love introducing you to artisans via our e the “Meet the Maker” series, and we hope these introductions help illuminate the entrepreneurial journey and help you stay inspired. We’re always especially excited to introduce you to makers who are local to Atlanta (where Lucky Break is headquartered), so it’s a treat to share Annelise Manis of Manis Creative Co with you!
Annelise Manis of Manis Creative Co
LBC: What inspired you to take the leap as an entrepreneur?
Annelise: I was working full time at a job I was not passionate about, and I think I just needed a creative outlet so badly that opening a shop seemed like the best option for me. I painted all the time anyways and thought it would be a great way to earn some extra money for my husband and I. Maybe even a way to eventually ditch the day job and pursue my own business full-time! One day I just kind of sat down and started painting, and it became my first greeting card design when I opened the shop in 2016!
LBC: How would you describe what you create?
Annelise: It has definitely evolved over the years. What was once a predominately paper-goods company (greeting cards, art prints, etc), has now grown into the creation of meaningful keepsakes and custom designs, such as watercolor wedding illustrations, house portraits, and custom embroidered bouquets!
LBC: Where can we find your products?
Annelise: Right now you can find them by visiting my shop on Etsy. I also have been involved with a lot of local artists markets in the Atlanta area such as the Indie Craft Experience, so you can also find me there during the holiday markets!
LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?
Annelise: I really wanted my designs to be fun, quirky and playful. I started with such a love of paper goods and wanted to encourage others to slow down and make meaningful connections through stationery!
LBC: Walk us through a typical workday.
Annelise: I actually have a full-time job in addition to my business, so I pretty much never stop working in some capacity! On my days off I will *try* to get started early and make a to-do list of the main things I want to accomplish. Then if I have client work (painting/stitching) I will usually sit down to work on that in front of Netflix. I can sometimes be there for a good 5-6 hours! I’ll be the first to admit I am a terrible boss to myself! I hardly ever give myself breaks or even remember to eat lunch most days- but I am working on that! I really try to have a cut off time in the evening to spend time with my husband, Ben. If I really have a pressing deadline then after we have some dinner and hang out for a while, it’s back to the office!
LBC: through a typical workday. What are 3 things entrepreneurs should think through when they initially decide to start a business?
1.Ask themselves if they really love what they do, or are they trying to sell something to gain following/fortune? It will be hard to keep up the drive and passion if they are trying to get into the game for unsustainable reasons.
2. Keep track of expenses and make plans to price things correctly! Think through how long it will take to complete a product and if it is something they can commit to doing year-round.
3. Are they prepared for hard work? There are seasons of harvest but dry spells too. It takes a LOT of work and a lot of sacrifices to run any business. But ultimately if you love what you do, it can be the most rewarding experience ever!
LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?
Annelise: Get off social media! Stop comparing yourself to others. One of the practices I started up a few years ago is making a list of things that I am thankful for (ex. Morning light through the window or a soft, warm bed). Even the tiniest things have the power to shift your perspective.
LBC: Tell us about the best business decision you’ve made to date.
Annelise: Learning when and how to say “NO”. When I first started I said “YES” to every single request that came in. Rush order? No problem! Specialty portrait? OK! I was overwhelmed and even though I worked 80 hour weeks I was making no money. I’ve learned that not every client is a good fit and not every project can be fit into my calendar with my sanity intact. Sometimes you have to say “NO” to something you really want to do so that you say “YES” to something that is perfect later.
LBC: Please share one misstep or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back or overcome it?
Annelise: Creating a product because you feel obligated to do so, or because it is a trend, not because you are excited about it. I created boxed sets of cards because I felt they would sell well and be a convenient and affordable product. I put a lot of care into printing and packaging them, and then it turned out that they hardly sold at all! I also put hours of work into making semi-custom wedding suites for people to purchase and then add their personal information. It turned out, at least in my case, that clients would rather pay more for a custom illustration! I am learning to focus on what my clients respond to and not to worry about offering a huge range of products.
LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?
1. Google! But really…when it comes to figuring out taxes and pricing and all that fun business jazz, blogs, and online forums actually helped a lot!
2. Make friends with other makers! At craft shows and festivals, I was lucky enough to meet some of the nicest people at the advice and tips they shared with me about their own experiences were invaluable.
3. My husband, Ben. Without him, nothing I do would be possible. Some of my client products take upwards of 30 hours to create, and he will pick up my slack in my personal life (ex. cleaning the house/grocery shopping) so that I can work! He is also my counselor and hype man, and sacrifices for me to pursue my dream again and again. I can’t do without him 🙂
LBC: Imagine that we had a time machine. If we blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?
Annelise: Manis Creative Co. will honestly probably be an embroidery based company that offers a wide array of embroidery kids, embroidered clothing, and art! It is my passion and is slowly taking over the business. It has grown my little company faster than any other product I offer and my love for it is what fuels my creativity- the possibilities are endless!
LBC: Your musical playlist is full of…
Annelise: My musical taste is crazy. I like what I like when I like it. Sometimes in the same playlist, I will have The Beatles, Enya, The Backstreet Boys, and Drake. When I paint, I usually listen to the La La Land soundtrack. When I stitch it’s usually a playlist of pop-punk bands like Blink 182, Fallout Boy, and Fountains of Wayne. Sometimes I throw some Shania Twain in there. I’m weird.
LBC: What’s one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?
Annelise: I LOVE food. But if I had to eat only one thing for the rest of my life…it would probably be a molten chocolate lava cake (right?)
LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.
Annelise: One of my guilty pleasures is green olives. My husband literally can’t stand them, but i could just eat them right out of the jar! I don’t know why I am so obsessed, but they are the best.
Thank you, Annelise, for sharing your talent with us. We absolutely love what you’re doing with Manis Creative Co, and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for you and your company. We’re cheering you on!