081 | Discontinuing products with Sarah Parrott Bianculli, Parrott Design (Part 1)
Sarah Parrott is the founder of Parrott Design Studio and I’m excited for you to hear her story. Parrott Design Studio is a letterpress studio in Sebago, a lake town in Western Maine. The studio was established in 2007 by Sarah Parrott with a small Print Gocco, an inexpensive and easy to use screen printing tool that originated in Japan. That same year she took her first course in letterpress, learning to use a Vandercook press.
In 2008 she purchased her own press, an 1898 Golding Jobber platen press. At the time there were no courses to learn on that type of press, and she spent a year teaching herself how to use it. She fell in love with the centuries-old artisanal printing technique and the process of feeding the press one piece at a time, one color at a time. In 2010 she left her job as an event planner to pursue Parrott Design Studio full time.
Sarah is one of our original Tradeshow Bootcamp alumni. She attended our very first round of Tradeshow Bootcamp classes in 2011 before exhibiting at the National Stationery Show in 2012.
We covered a lot of topics in this interview. So much so, that we’re going to break this up into two separate episodes. Episode 81 is Part 1.
On this episode, Sarah shares how she started her business with a Gocco printer and Etsy shop, how her business model shifted from retail to custom to retail and wholesale, how she expanded into new product categories, why she strives to find local manufacturing partners and we also talked about her process for deciding which products to discontinue.
ON TODAY’S EPISODE:
How she got started with a Gocco printer
When she transitioned into letterpress
When Sarah realized she was going to pursue this as a business instead of just a creative outlet
The evolution of her business over time
The three arms of her business and the products she currently offers
How she came up with the idea of acrylic cake toppers and how she brought them to market
The specific challenges she faced when starting to offer pencil pouches
How she manages inventory
How she decides to discontinue a product or design
The confidence she feels in her business and how it is impacting next year’s release
Download These Quotables to Save and Share
“I really just learned by doing.” – Sarah Parrott Bianculli
“All of a sudden I realized, I’m set to make more money doing this than my current day job.” – Sarah Parrott Bianculli
“As my business has gone on, I’m trying to have as many of my suppliers be as local as possible and that’s been, it’s 11 years, I’m still working towards that goal and constantly searching.” – Sarah Parrott Bianculli
“It’s very rare that the first person we work with on a project is going to be the person we work with long-term.” – Katie Hunt
“I’m pretty ruthless every year cutting out anything that’s not working.” – Sarah Parrott Bianculli
“My style has absolutely changed since I started this. I look at things when I first started to what I’m doing now, it doesn’t even look like the same person.” – Sarah Parrott Bianculli
“It just doesn’t make sense to keep these things that aren’t selling and it just allows more room for new things as well.” – Sarah Parrott Bianculli
“I feel the best I’ve ever felt in all the businesses I’ve had and I’m working on next year’s release and it’s looking a lot different than anything I’ve ever done before.” – Sarah Parrott Bianculli