Wednesday, March 25, 2015

TFP-Progress Report

Hiya! Just checking in and sharing progress on My Finishing Project. I'm in the Simple Scrapper class, The Finishing Project right now. I blogged last week about the "start" of my project, which is to finish up the mini book of my 29th birthday.
I have a plan all mapped out. I just need to take the time to finish. 
If you glance through the photos below, you'll see that I've made some changes. Re-ordered a few pages. Reprinted some photos. Added instagram screenshots as little inserts. Even finished a few of the pages. I'm loving how it's all coming together!

The mini book will definitely be done by the time the class is over, thanks to that plan I mapped out. The entire class is just so inspiring and it's helped me to become so excited about this project again. And that, my friends, is its' true beauty!

**Also, don't forget the Scrapbook Circle RAK is still open. Comment on this post for a chance to win!**

cheers & besos,

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Scrapbook Circle RAK

***Giveaway info below***

Hiya! You can find me over at the Scrapbook Circle blog today. I shared a tip on how to include all the journaling you want, while still staying true to the design vision you had in your head. 
I also decided I want to start doing a bi-annual RAK with all of the gently used Scrapbook Circle goodies I just can't keep in my stash. This stylish canvas bag is bursting with paper pads, sticker sheets, embellishments. A few things may be missing from the packs, but there's still plenty of goodness to go around.
Since Scrapbook Circle has been so generous with me, I want to be equally as generous with you, dear readers.

Comment here (and please include some way to get in contact with you!!!) for a chance to win this canvas bag full of goodies. International participants welcome :) Give away will be open until Tuesday, 31 March at 11:59 CST. I'll announce a winner shortly after.

cheers & besos,

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Creative Business Owner-Lisa Andrews

I shared my big dream earlier this year. I want to have my own shop, be my own boss, run the show. I have a long way to go and I'm going to need a lot of advice. So I thought I'd start by asking a few creative business owners to share a bit about their journey, what they've found surprising about their jobs, as well as any advice they can in part on someone hoping to follow in their footsteps.

Last month, I interviewed Jennifer Wilson of Simple Scrapper. This month, I interviewed another Creative Business Owner I have the privilege to work for, Lisa Andrews of the monthly kit club Scrapbook Circle.

Lisa owns a "product" company that has a design component. It was interesting to hear the similarities and the differences between the two different kinds of companies. You'll see Lisa's responses below.

Describe your business. Do you have a mission statement or elevator pitch?

Our mission is to encourage and inspire the sharing of life’s stories. I believe that creating beautiful monthly scrapbook kits filled with exciting and unique products paired with inspiration shared on our website will help people document and tell their stories.

Each month we curate a unique kit filled with patterned paper and embellishments. Many of the embellishments are designed and created by us just for the kits. We love dreaming up products that we want to use on our own scrapbook pages. We also include a printable and digital cuts files with every monthly kit. I love dreaming up a variety of products that will hopefully inspire others to create. One of the best things about Scrapbook Circle is the amazing design team who create inspiring scrapbooking projects that we share daily on our blog.

How did you start? What was the first business decision you made? What was the first step you took?

Scrapbook Circle started out after my friend Crystal and I were hired to create adoption themed scrapbook kits for a company back in 2005. We attended the equivalent of today’s CHA and just knew that our passion for documenting life stories could be shared with others if we just created our own company with products that we wanted to use in our everyday scrapbooks.

We launched the first Scrapbook Circle kit in May of 2006 and it has been so exciting to watch the company grow since then.

After about a year, Crystal had some health issues and moved to another state and she wasn’t able to work with Scrapbook Circle any longer, so I’ve been running it on my own every since.

The first thing we did ask Crystal’s brother in law to design and build a website for us. We also applied for a business license and opened a bank account in the business name. Once we had our business licenses, we were able to open wholesale accounts with scrapbook manufactures. We were official!

Back then, there were a few scrapbook manufacturing companies who had never heard of a kit club and they didn’t want to let us set up an account. A couple other companies didn’t want to sell to online only companies. We were able to educate them on what we were doing eventually set up all of the wholesale account we needed. Thankfully times have changed!

How did you initially market your company?

I joined forums and tried to post often and share layouts and kits. Almost 10 years ago things were really different online and looking back I don’t think that we did a great job marketing, but somehow we did continue to grow. A few years into the company, we started doing blog ads and giveaways on some of our favorite blogs. We also depended on our small design team to help us get the word out about our kits.

Describe a day in your work life.

One of the great things about my job is that everyday is different. I spend the first two hours of the day with my family do scripture study, prayer, breakfast, lunch packing, finding lost shoes and getting everyone off to school. Once everyone is out the door, I generally like to go for a run. I love taking that little bit of time for myself and feel like it’s really important to my overall life balance.

By 9:30 a.m. I can usually be found at my desk working on a variety of different things. Some days I sketch out ideas for products that will be in upcoming kits and work with our graphic designer and manufactures to make these a reality. There are also orders to be placed, orders to be unpacked, products to be proofed at the printer, kit packing to oversee, kit shipping, answering subscriber email questions and so much more.

I’m thankful to have an amazing team including two blog coordinators, a commutations specialist (she handles our weekly emails and prizes for our blog challenges) plus we have a social media coordinator. I do manage our Instagram account because I really love the daily sharing of the beautiful creations that our talented design team ladies create with our kit each month.

My most favorite part of my job is when I sit down and actually get to scrapbook with our kits. I’m passionate about telling our family stories and it is so satisfying to document a moment in our family life with products that I’m excited to use.

I generally wrap up my focused work time at 3:00 when my kids come home, but some days I’ll continue to work until 5:00 if I have deadlines to meet. Luckily my kids are old enough to manage things on their own if I have things I’m working on. I’m so thankful I’m able to have a job that really fits into our family life and allows me to be present for our kids. Our evenings are filled with lacrosse, basketball, soccer, church youth nights, making dinner and sometimes even a little relaxing together.

What’s the best part of owning your own creative business? What’s the worst part?

One of the best things about owning a business is the flexibility I have over my own schedule. I don’t have to report in to an office at set hours everyday which allows me time to go on field trips with my kids, meet friends for lunch and give service to others during the day. I’m really trying to maintain balance in my life and I believe that happens for my by focusing on what is most important in my life. My family, friends, home and Scrapbook Circle all need my attention and I feel like most days I’m able to shift things into balance because of my flexibility.

The worst part about owning a business is all of the paperwork and bookkeeping. I’ve been the bookkeeper for Scrapbook Circle and it just isn’t one of my favorite things. In the past month we’ve been researching local bookkeepers and I’m about ready to hand this task off to someone who will actually enjoy it.

In business, what motivates you?

I think the most motiving thing for me is my desire to create and put together products that I’m so excited to use to tell our family stories.

Deadlines as also very motiving to me! It’s super motivating to me to get my product sketches complete and orders in because I know that all of our subscribers are counting on Scrapbook Circle to have a new kit posted on the 27th of each month and have it ready to ship the first week of the month.

Is this your dream job? If not, describe what is.

My number one dream job was always to be a mom. Seriously, this is a full time job that I really believe will make a huge difference in the lives of my kids and those they interact with during their lives. Owning Scrapbook Circle gives me the flexibility to spend the time with my kids that they need while also giving me a create outlet, so I’m feeling pretty happy about where I am in life right now.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

For the time I was young, I always knew that I wanted to be a elementary school teacher. Both my grandpa and mom were schoolteachers, so I guess it is in my blood. I used to create schoolwork for the sisters and cousins and we would spend hours playing school together.

If you went to university, what was your degree in?

I went to BYU and received a degree in elementary education. I taught forth grade for three years and then first grade for one year. It was such a great experience and I’m so happy that I accomplished one of my childhood dreams. Once we started having kids, it was much easier for our family to have me stay home. I was a full time stay at home mom for almost five years before starting Scrapbook Circle.

Do you have an exit strategy?

The crazy thing about running an online business is that I really have no idea when the online world will look like in five or ten years. So I think it’s challenging to have a true end in sight. For now, I want to continue to create things that inspire me and I’m sure that with change and evolve as the Internet and I grow and change. I hope to be able to continue to create things that inspire other to tell their stories.

If you have any additional advice for new creative entrepreneurs, please share!

If you have a desire to a create endeavor, just start! Make a list of the things that need to be accomplished and start checking them off of your list. Find a team of supporters and look to them for help and advise. But in the end, if it is something that you are passionate about, remember that it is important and find a way to make it happen.
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Thank you so much Lisa for taking the time to answer my questions! I loved getting to hear how Scrapbook Circle was started. 

For more information on Lisa's business, please visit www.scrapbookcircle.com.

cheers & besos,