Posts in marketing
099 | Pivoting to custom wedding work with Emily Asher, Emily Rose Ink

Today on the 99th Episode of Proof to Product I’m joined by our friend and Tradeshow Bootcamp alumni, Emily Asher. Emily is an artist, calligrapher and the owner of Emily Rose Ink, a boutique wedding stationery studio based in Chicago. Emily started designing wedding stationery as a side hustle while working as a high school English teacher, but since taking the leap to make it her livelihood, her wedding stationery has been featured in countless publications and blogs, including Vogue, Martha Stewart, Style Me Pretty, and Oh So Beautiful Paper.

Early on in her business journey, Emily made the decision to intentionally narrow her focus, from art prints and greeting cards, to custom wedding stationery. Although this felt like a risk at first, this allowed Emily to perfect her design aesthetic, grow customer relationships, and solidify her business foundation. As a result, Emily’s wedding stationery business took off and her designs made celebrity status. Seriously… She just did Hillary Swank’s invites!

On today’s episode, Emily shares her startup story. She talks about how she got her foothold in the stationery industry, what inspired her to dive fully into her business, and why it was important for her to narrow her focus to solely doing custom wedding work. Emily also shares what she learned from celebrity weddings, how she manages her growing business today, and what’s coming up next for Emily Rose Ink!

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098 | Simplifying Your Marketing with Lindsey Morando from Hello Bar

Lately, I’ve had lots of feedback and questions from our audience regarding the struggles of marketing strategy. It can be so hard to know where to direct your time and energy with so many social and marketing channels available now, and that’s why I’m really excited for you to hear this week’s episode with Lindsey Morando, the Director of Marketing for Hello Bar. Lindsey has more than fifteen years of experience in business development and marketing that spans multiple industries including health & wellness, SaaS, lifestyle, and hospitality. No matter which industry she is focusing on though, Lindsey prides herself on the creation and implementation of engaging grassroots and online marketing tactics that convert fans into paying, happy customers. When Lindsey is not moving the marketing needle for businesses, she is a marketing professor at the San Diego Fashion Institute and the author of It’s Just Beginning– Break Up, Get Up and Walk Away.

Today, on Episode 98, Lindsay is sharing a ton of great marketing and business advice. She talks about the number one challenge she sees small business owners facing today, her three strategies for simplifying marketing and … (drumroll please) together we announce our free marketing class coming out on April 10th! This class is specifically designed to help you Capture More Emails on Your Website, and make the most of your marketing efforts. Head to the link to find out more and register, and happy listening!

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097 | Hiring a licensing agent with Ilana Griffo

Welcome back to another episode of Proof to Product! Today’s guest is Ilana Griffo, an illustrator, designer, author, and Tradeshow Bootcamp alumni! Like so many of you fellow entrepreneurs, Ilana built her business from the ground up. She began by launching her own stationery line, moved into designing her own product lines, signed major licensing deals with nationally recognized brands like Pier 1, Homegoods, and Michaels, and just published her first book, Mind Your Business. The key to Ilana’s success? She points to the way her business is always transitioning, pivoting to get to where she wants to go!

On today’s episode, Ilana and I sit down to talk about her career journey and the lessons she learned along the way. She talks about how she got her start in the stationery industry, why she decided to hire a licensing agent, and how that has freed her up to do more creative work. We also talk about pushing yourself to create for fun, fighting for your value, and rethinking failure. Ilana shares some examples of tough situations she went through in her business and how they resulted in some of her proudest moments.

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096 | Rebranding to a new name with Julie Richardson, Unblushing

Lately, I’ve had lots of feedback and questions from our audience regarding the struggles of marketing strategy. It can be so hard to know where to direct your time and energy with so many social and marketing channels available now, and that’s why I’m really excited for you to hear this week’s episode with Lindsey Morando, the Director of Marketing for Hello Bar. Lindsey has more than fifteen years of experience in business development and marketing that spans multiple industries including health & wellness, SaaS, lifestyle, and hospitality. No matter which industry she is focusing on though, Lindsey prides herself on the creation and implementation of engaging grassroots and online marketing tactics that convert fans into paying, happy customers. When Lindsey is not moving the marketing needle for businesses, she is a marketing professor at the San Diego Fashion Institute and the author of It’s Just Beginning– Break Up, Get Up and Walk Away.

Hey Friends, it’s Tuesday! Which means we’re back with another episode of Proof to Product, and this week I’m sitting down for a very fun interview with former PTP guest, Julie Richardson. You may remember Julie from Episode 20, where she shared her startup story and told us how she built her Etsy shop, Julie Ann Art, into a successful wholesale enterprise. If you haven’t heard her story, it’s definitely worth heading back for a listen!

For some background- Julie founded Julie Ann Art shop in 2008 and quickly gained the attention of the internet with her combination of raw illustrations and irreverent wit. Her brand brought a refreshing take to stationery, and with features in People, Bored Panda, Refinery and more, her side hustle hobby grew into a national lifestyle brand.

In 2019, Julie Ann Art rebranded as Unblushing to better represent the strong-willed, unapologetic voice that is quintessential to her stationery and gift brand. On today’s episode, Julie and I dive into this recent rebranding experience. We talk about how she knew she was ready for a new name and a fresh look, how she narrowed down potential names, and how she ultimately decided on Unblushing. Julie pulls the curtain back on what happens behind the scenes during a rebrand, shares her roadmap for planning the transition and tells us how she dealt with the unexpected details she never saw coming.

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095 | Customer engagement with Amy Tan, Amy Tangerine

Hey friends! This week on Proof to Product I’m sitting down with Amy Tan, founder of the creative lifestyle company, Amy Tangerine. I’m really excited to have Amy on the show, because not only is she a creative entrepreneur that designs online content as well as fun, tangible products like t-shirts and craft supplies, she also teaches workshops around the world, makes YouTube videos, consults with awesome brands and wrote the book, Craft a Life You Love. Amy believes everyone has a story to tell, and her mission is to inspire women everywhere to feel joy and confidence by infusing creativity, fun, and intention into the everyday.

On today’s episode, Amy shares how she got her start as an entrepreneur and how her business has evolved over time. She gives advice for curating an authentic and organic social media presence, and the best way to approach contracts and collaboration. We also talk about her favorite mediums, how she connects with her audience and how she decides which partnerships and collaborations to say yes to.

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094 | Creating strategic business plans with Emily Marks, Carina Paper Co

This week we have a great episode in store for you – one that will definitely resonate with any of you who are hustling through a day job to fund your dream job. Emily Marks, once a forensic accountant, took the leap and left a stable job to pursue her passion. She is now the businesswoman behind Carina Paper Co., a stationery company inspired by her Italian heritage and from her heart as a new mom, wife, daughter, and friend.

On today’s episode, Emily gives us all the details on how she turned her side hustle into a full-time gig. She tells us the reason she left her job with a major accounting firm and how her former role actually helps her in business now. We talk about the importance of strategic planning, project management, and how being in a state of discomfort provides space for personal growth. Finally, we talk about the danger of overthinking things and why sometimes, you just have to go for it.

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093 | Fears, pivots & growth through 10 years in business with Mary Phan, Very Mary

I can’t wait for you to hear this week’s episode with entrepreneur extraordinaire, Mary Phan. Mary owns a multi-faceted business which includes — Very Mary Inspired and The Sketchbook Series, illustration courses for designers and event planners. Mary is also a TSBC Alumni and just recently published her first book, The Artful Sketch, a gorgeous how-to sketchbook for beginners and experts alike.

Mary has always been drawn to the arts. After beginning her career as an interior designer, dabbling in fashion and staging model homes, she launched Very Merry Events in 2008. Mary enjoyed creating memorable experiences filled with atmosphere and feeling, but she became known for the beautiful, custom illustrations that were an indispensable part of her design process. In 2013, Mary took that love of illustration to the next level, launching The Sketchbook Series to help other event planners and designers master creative drawing.

Today Mary tells us all about her entrepreneurial journey, and how she went from being an interior designer getting laid off, to starting her own business. We talk about the real fears, pivots, and transitions that come with running your own business, and the joy of stepping into your true passion.

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092 | Creating a minimalist business with Paul Jarvis, Company of One

My guest today is Paul Jarvis, entrepreneur and author of the book Company of One: Why Staying Small is The Next Big Thing for Business. I read this book over the winter break and so much of what Paul talks about resonated with me. We live in a world where we’re conditioned as entrepreneurs to strive for more — more revenue, more products, more customers, more followers, more visibility and notoriety. While it’s true striving for bigger isn’t always better, I know many of us still struggle with the big question – How do we grow strong, profitable businesses but in a way that feels good and sustainable?

In his book Company of One and during today’s interview, Paul challenges us to explore a different way of thinking about business. During this episode, Paul and I discuss the contrarian view that business growth isn’t always good, and isn’t always required. We also talk about being a solopreneur, why that doesn’t necessarily mean your working alone, and why we need to know our “enough.” If you’re trying to break the mold, embrace minimalism and find balance in your own biz, trust me, this episode and book will help a ton!

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091 | Simplicity in business with Viola Sutanto, Maika Goods

My guest this week is Viola Sutanto and she’s here to tell us how she made the leap from solopreneur to serial creative entrepreneur, and how she successfully runs multiple product-based businesses. I first met Viola in 2008 or 2009 when she owned the brand Chewing the Cud, a letterpress greeting card company that also sold reusable fabric gift wrap, which distributed to more than 1000 stores nationwide.

Since then Viola has founded MAIKA, a stylish and sustainable soft goods brand inspired by delightful trade and everyday living, and co-founded LimeLoop, a recently launched full-circle shipper packaging company. What impresses me most about Viola, in addition to her superhuman ability to run multiple businesses is how she manages to maintain the same core values across all three companies- although unique in their offerings, each represents a desire to create sustainable, well designed, products that solve problems for their customers.

On today’s episode, Viola and I talk about transitioning from one business to the next, using trial & error to find manufacturing partners overseas, building a team, and time blocking. We also discuss Viola’s perspective on managing transition, how she aims for simplicity in business and what’s up next for her new ventures.

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090 | Bigger doesn't mean better with Rachael Hetzel, Pistachio Press and Briana Feola, Brainstorm (Part 2)

Today is Part 2 of a two-part interview with Rachael Hetzel of Pistachio Press, and Briana Feola of Brainstorm. On Part 1, which was Episode 89, we talked about freedom versus stability, keeping up with the Joneses and overcoming FOMO. If you missed it, I’d recommend heading back to listen to that one first because today we dive into the details of communication, team dynamics, and client and customer relationships, and much more!

On Part 2, Rachael and Briana share their thoughts on why bigger doesn’t always mean better, knowing your why and communicating your company’s core values so that you’re attracting the right type of clients, customers, and team members. We also talk about not being afraid to revise your business vision, focusing on projects that align with your ethos and hiring for an overall skill set rather than specific ability.

Rachael and Briana have been on the podcast before to share their startup stories. Rachael Hetzel is the owner of Pistachio Press, a boutique letterpress printing and design studio based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pistachio Press produces a wholesale line of sweet and slightly snarky stationery products that are sold nationally and internationally. Pistachio Press also creates social invitations, business stationery, and prints commercially for a variety of clients. If you want to hear Rachael’s start-up story, head back to check out Episode 11.

Briana Feola is the co-owner of Brainstorm, a print shop and collaborative design studio working from a historic mill in Dover, New Hampshire. Brainstorm is rooted in the production of original art prints inspired by science, nature, and the outdoors. They design for people and companies that appreciate the creative process, enjoy collaboration, and want to make something tangible in an increasingly digital world. Briana and her husband, Jason Snyder shared their co-founding story back on Episode 8, so put that one on your listening list too!

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089 | Freedom versus stability with Rachael Hetzel, Pistachio Press and Briana Feola, Brainstorm (Part 1)

This week I’m sitting down for a special two-part interview with two incredible entrepreneurs – Rachael Hetzel of Pistachio Press and Briana Feola of Brainstorm. Both have been on the podcast before to share their startup stories and I’m really excited to have them both back to shine a spotlight on what it means to keep things small and intentional as business owners and still grow in revenue and creativity.

Rachael Hetzel is the owner of Pistachio Press, a boutique letterpress printing and design studio based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Founded in 2007, Pistachio Press produces a wholesale line of sweet and slightly snarky stationery products that are sold nationally and internationally. Pistachio Press also creates social invitations, business stationery, and prints commercially for a variety of clients. If you want to hear Rachael’s start-up story, head back to check out Episode 11.

Briana Feola is the co-owner of Brainstorm, a print shop and collaborative design studio working from a historic mill in Dover, New Hampshire. Brainstorm is rooted in the production of original art prints inspired by science, nature, and the outdoors. They design for people and companies that appreciate the creative process, enjoy collaboration, and want to make something tangible in an increasingly digital world. Briana and her husband, Jason Snyder shared their co-founding story back on Episode 8,so put that one on your listening list too!

Today is Part 1 of my interview with Rachael and Briana. On this episode, we talk about freedom versus stability, why there is pressure to keep up with the Joneses and why we can’t worry what others are doing. We also talk about overcoming FOMO, letting go of constantly optimizing and not being afraid to stick to what works best for your business.

On Part 2 which will air on Thursday, we’re talking about why bigger doesn’t always mean better, knowing your why and communicating your company’s core values so that you’re attracting the right type of clients, customers, and team members.

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88 | Email Sequences, Sales Funnels and Facebook Ads with Zoë Scharf from Greetabl

Zoë Scharf is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer at Greetabl, a totally unique gifting service that makes it fun and easy to send creative personal gifts. You might remember Zoë from Episode 50 where she shared her start-up story. If you want to hear more about how Greetabl started and the process of seeking angel investors, I recommend checking out that episode. Today we’re shifting gears though and geeking out on marketing strategies, tactics and how Zoe and the greetabl team make customer experience a top priority.

On this episode, Zoe gets granular telling us how Greetabl uses segmenting to add value to their customer experience. She talks about email sequences, sales funnels through Facebook ads and why Greetable is choosing to optimize select marketing channels rather than spreading themselves thin. We also talk about discovering and engaging with new audiences and even drop in a few trade secrets.

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087 | Leadership vs management skills with Natasha Case, Coolhaus (Part 2)

Natasha Case is the CEO of Coolhaus, a Los Angeles based ice cream company specializing in unique, sweet-meet-savory flavors. This is Part 2 of her interview. If you missed Part 1 which was Episode 86, I recommend you head back and listen to that one first.

In Part 2 of her interview, Natasha talks about her approach to scaling, how she tackled grocery and scoop shops at the same time, and how she continues to entwine the three arms of the business to support each other. We talked about how she balances deadlines and creativity, the importance of thinking outside the box, and how Natasha’s perspective of leadership and management has changed over the years. Natasha also shared the importance of building new relationships and innovating ideas that keep Coolhaus on top of its game as zealous expansion continues.

Here’s the background scoop on Coolhaus in case you missed it earlier- Natasha first began exploring the concept of “Farchitecture” – or, Food + Architecture – in her graduate architecture program. She started baking cookies, making ice cream, and combining them into “cool houses”. In 2009 she met co-founder Freya Estreller, and together they staged Coolhaus’ unforgettable launch in a refurbished postal van at the famous Coachella Valley Music Festival.

In less than ten years, Coolhaus has snowballed into a nationwide company. They now distribute to 6,000+ grocery stores ranging from Whole Foods to Safeway to Publix markets with 30 SKU’s including hand-crafted ice cream sandwiches, artisan pints, and chocolate-dipped bars. Natasha has been named Forbes 30 Under 30 for food and beverage and Zagat’s 30 Under 30 in New York City. She is also the co-host of the Start to Sale podcast, where she invites the brightest entrepreneurial minds to discuss all that it takes to build a company from launch to exit.

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083 | Exhibiting at craft shows with Danni Hong, oh hello friend

Danni Hong is a designer, business owner, and lover of all things paper. She started oh, hello friend in 2008 and has been hustling ever since at craft shows and trade shows worldwide! Her ultimate goal thru her business is to convey joy thru oh hello friend products and brighten someone’s day.

Danni attended Tradeshow Bootcamp’s Paper Camp prior to exhibiting at her first wholesale show, but she has a lot of experience exhibiting at craft shows near and far which she talks about in today’s episode. We also talked about Danni’s journey of scaling up and scaling down. She shares her experiences exhibiting at craft shows near and far. She also talked about her experience opening a brick and mortar shop and how she decided which products to carry in her store. Danni also discussed what it was like operating three different arms of her business.

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082 | Hiring a team with Sarah Parrott Bianculli, Parrott Design (Part 2)

Sarah Parrott is the founder of Parrott Design Studio and this is Part 2 of her interview. If you missed Part 1 which was Episode 81, I recommend you head back and listen to that one first.

Here on Part 2, Sarah talks about hiring a team, how she started slowly delegating and fears she had around letting go of things in her business, we talked about her multiple revenue streams and the pros / cons of having multiple businesses, navigating tough seasons in life while owning a business and how Sarah’s definition of success for her business has changed over the years.

As background, 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 artisinal 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.

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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.

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080 | Using personal savings to grow a $23M business with Christina Stembel, Farmgirl Flowers

Christina Stemble is the founder of Farmgirl Flowers, which she started 7 years ago from her living room table. She invested $49,000 of her personal savings to start the business and Farm Girl Flowers is projected to hit $23M in revenue for 2018.

Christina disrupted the floral industry with new options for consumers, less waste and higher quality products. Farmgirl Flower arrangements are designed by hand, in-house in San Francisco California.

On today’s episode, Christina is sharing why it is so important to know your numbers, the struggles of scaling and how she’s pivoted more times that she can count. We also talked about how she’s been proactive about business education and why she focuses on caring about people, but not what they think about her.

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079 | Leveraging influncers to sell products with Alison Prince

Alison Prince is an e-commerce expert and a woman on a mission. She is a business-savvy determined woman who knows how to create something amazing out of nothing. Over the last seven years, Allison has started eight e-commerce businesses, many of which are multi-million dollar brands. She’s sold everything from apparel to technology to household items — she’s sold everything under the sun — growing dollars into millions and pennies into thousands.

On today’s episode, we talk about how Allison built her deal of a day website and then leveraged best selling products to create their own site and brand. She also shares how she leverages influencers to sell her product and why testing your product is the most important thing you can do in e-commerce.

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078 | Working with a fulfillment house & sales reps with Taylor Elliott, Taylor Elliott Designs

Taylor Elliott is the founder of Taylor Elliott Designs, a fun desk accessory and gift company. Taylor started this company as a side hustle while working a full-time job, but through a lot of hard work and persistence, she has grown this into a thriving gift company whose products are sold in more than 450 stores nationwide.

On today’s episode, Taylor talks about why she decided to use a fulfillment house to store and ship her products, what questions she asked when she was choosing a partner and what her priorities were for outsourcing this piece of her business. She also talks about how she’s brought on 40 sales reps and how working with them and attending markets with her reps has enhanced her business.

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077 | Investing in professional development with Tanya Wheeless, Happy Grace

TSBC Alum, Tanya Wheeless is the founder of Happy Grace and author of three workbooks on soulful living. She has leveraged her decades of experience as a CEO, senior executive in the NBA, and community leader to teach women how to live the good life while struggling to balance work and family.

In 2016, Tanya saw a need in the market for physical products that busy women could use daily to motivate and center themselves. With that, Happy Grace was born! She took all of her coaching goodness, combined it with her love of paper and created a beautiful line of guided journals, inspiration decks, lip balms and more. When she’s not working, you can find her traveling the globe with her husband and son.

On today’s episode, Tanya shares why she never wanted to be an entrepreneur, how she’s weaved both products and services into her business and why she prioritizes and invests in professional development.

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