Monday, March 16, 2009

how it all started

for my first marzipan monday i thought i would tell you all how it started since i've had people asking that a lot. it might not be glamorous, but everyone has to start somewhere....

actually it was really purely by accident. i never planned on owning my own business. not in a million years. i graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in graphic design. i always knew i was going to be an artist, but i figured i’d work at a design firm and that would be it. i never took a business class in my life. (something which i obviously regret and would have done differently had i known this is what i'd be doing.)

my husband and i got married in august of 2001 and being a graphic designer, i designed our wedding invitations. after that, i knew my calling was to work with paper. i initially thought i wanted to do wedding invitations, but didn’t know a lot of people getting married at the time and thought it might be hard to market myself via word of mouth since i didn’t have anyone to start with. i decided to start off with greeting cards with the intention of heading off in the wedding invite direction once i got my name out there. luckily for me, it was a perfect fit. i’m so glad now that i didn’t go into weddings because i couldn’t deal with crazy brides. the good thing about what i do is that i design what i like and if the stores like it, they buy it. if they don’t, they don’t. i don’t have to sit and change things because someone else wants it a certain way. i love that.

when i started there wasn’t such a thing as etsy. heck, i hardly used the internet at that point! i started by going to my favorite local shop and i was very lucky that there was a super nice buyer there who looked at my cards, gave me advice, helped me with pricing, and ordered a lot of cards from me. i worked nights and weekends for that first year and saved every penny so i could attend the national stationery show in 2003. from there i learned about working with reps and signed on with one. i've been adding ever since. i quit my full time job in 2004 and i’m now employing between 4-6 people (or more) depending on the time of year.

(there's actually a whole lot more to this story including a partnership with my best friend and a nasty "break-up". it's too much to write about and, honestly, quite a downer, so i tend to just leave that part out of the story.)

all marzipan inc. designs can be found online at shades of violet.

then in september of last year i opened up a custom division of marzipan called fin+roe (named after my two boys: finley, and rowan). even though i said i’d never go into custom, i wanted to diversify a little instead of having all my eggs in one basket. it’s not truly full custom work. it’s more, customizable. i have standard templates available and people can pick their colors, patterns, add their photos and text. i’ve had some luck with it, and i’ve had a lot of inquiries from retailers who want to sell that line as well. so i’m currently in the process of figuring out how to wholesale it which has become a huge undertaking. more on that as it develops....

1 comment:

Julie said...

Thanks for the story! It's always fun & interesting to hear how people started their business.

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