Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beautiful Business Owners I'm Proud to Call Friends

I am a lucky girl. No, I didn’t win the Megabucks jackpot (yet), but I think I have something even better than that…a bold statement, I know, but it’s true. What is it that makes me so lucky? My friends. In this case, I’m talking about those pals who own businesses. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that they’re the only reason I’m feeling fortunate. They’re just one of the many reasons I feel my life is blessed, and they happen to be the reason for this particular post.

This topic may seem a bit strange, but I’m in the process of launching a little business of my own, together with my incredible business partner, Jennafer Martin, and I now know firsthand what kind of work it takes to get your own business vision off the ground. I have a newfound respect for my business-owner friends. They’ve taken risks, made great leaps of faith, and followed their dreams and their bliss to make their ideas reality. If that’s not to be celebrated, I don’t know what is.

Where to start? Well, it just so happens that a number of my inspiring amigas own stamp businesses. How cool is that?
  • My cute friend Holly Jones just launched her stamp company, My Cute Stamps, and the name doesn’t lie. Her stamps are adorable. What’s more impressive, she’s already achieved great success with her other company Vinyl Wall Art. Take one look at her artwork, and you’ll understand why she’s doing well. Yes, she designs it all! What a rock star!

  • I had the pleasure of getting to know the next gal on my list through our involvement with Paper Crafts magazine. She is a former PC Pro, and I, a former PC editor. As soon as I met her, I knew that I liked her. Her name: Nichole Heady. Her company: Papertrey Ink. If you have any interest in stamping at all, you must check out her blog. It’s loaded, and I mean LOADED, with fresh project ideas, all made with HER stamps. Way to go, Nichole!
Cheers to Nichole Heady, one super talented stamper and a might fine business owner!

  • My next addition is definitely one who risked it all to make her dream a reality. Who is she? Shelli Gardner, CEO and cofounder of Stampin’ Up! Sure, she has an enormous following and great success now, but there was a time when she was selling stamps out of her living room. She’s come a long way and is one I admire when it comes to making smart business moves. I know this first hand, because I had the pleasure of working for her/SU! a few years ago (in their PR department). Shelli is as friendly as she is business savvy!

  • Then there’s Bev Kramlich Grey, CEO of Technique Tuesday. Before launching this fantastic stamp company, she explored other independent endeavors. She wasn’t afraid of trying it until she got it right, which is SO awesome. And boy did she get it right! Her company’s stamps are wonderful, the creative people she surrounds herself with are unforgettable, and her way of following her bliss to achieve her dream is amazing!

My list of business-owning friends doesn’t end with stamp companies. I’m also fortunate to have these incredible people motivating me with their efforts and their passion.

  • Nicole LaRue. Even her name is fun. This sassy sistah owns Larue and Company, an ultra hip stationery and gifts business. She just decided one day that she was going to go for it, and she did. Well, there’s a little more to it than that. She would work a full-time job during the day and would stay up until the wee hours of the morning after work to prepare for her business launch. She ended up debuting her wears at the NYC Stationery Show (and even took me along for the ride), set up a company website, and has her cute things for sale on Etsy. She’s received all sorts of media coverage, and it’s easy to see why when you check out her super-terrific designs.
Nicole is as cute as she is talented. Just look at her modeling that super cute bandana she made!

  • Karen and Brian Lang are the parents of my best friend and like second parents to me. I grew up with them, and they always treated me like a member of their family (and still do). They own Oakbridge Greenhouse in West Valley City, UT. It started out as a single greenhouse, selling as many plants as it would hold, and is now multiple greenhouses (on one property), serving oodles of clients (including Park City, UT; Westminster College; and even a famous basketball player or two). This young couple took a chance on an idea, an idea that ended up supporting them through raising four children, and an idea that will eventually see them through to retirement, one beautiful bloom at a time!

  • Cards by Cath is…well, a card company started by my friend, Cath Edvalson. She recently retired this business (being the creative editor of Paper Crafts magazine was enough for one woman), but she grew it to a successful handmade card company before doing so. The most impressive part of this story (in my opinion) is that she started this after going through a difficult divorce, with two young daughters at home to support. That’s a scary thing, but she made it work, and she made it work well. She dry-embossed all of the cards she designed (or had helpers recreate her designs), showed her designs at various gift shows around the country, and sold her cards in several different stores. Just goes to show what a little creativity and ambition can do for ya.

  • Here I am with Cath (on my left) and our pal, Stacy. In this pic we're having a good, but coooooold time at Disneyland.

  • I’m delighted to call Paul and Kezia Whitteker, owners of Tinkering Ink, my compadres. This beyond-darling couple is the picture of humble success, fueled by love. They own and run their scrapbooking business together, raise a house full of beautiful children together, and they live together (obviously). That’s a lot of togetherness for any couple, and yet they do it SO well. They always seem to be laughing and enjoying life, despite the many obstacles that have been thrown at them. And they never cease to come up with new and brilliant ideas to add to their Tinkering Ink lines. They inspire and motivate me beyond measure!
  • Not only does Kezia (with me above) make sparkling scrapbooking products, she also manages to find time to create coordinating clothing for her paper lines (for her staff to wear when they're showing at tradeshows.) And I was lucky enough to recieve my own M-A-ZING shirt from her limited collection. Thanks, Kezia! You're a peach! A stunning peach, I might add.

  • The last business owners I’m going to spotlight in this post (that has gotten waaaayyy too long) are my parents. When I was very young, my Pop, a dedicated truck driver at the time, and my Mom decided it was time to take business matters into their own hands, and High Country Transport was born. My parents took this little trucking business and grew it into a successful company, complete with drivers (other than my Pop) who worked for them. Don’t get me wrong; there were definitely times where having a business was difficult for them and our family, but the gamble paid off for the most part, and our family was better off because of it. Thanks, Ma and Pa.

Why am I writing this post? Well, part of the reason, as I’ve mentioned, is because I’m working on my own endeavor (more on that to come in a future post), but more than that, I wanted to share these little stories to inspire you. Do you have an idea, a vision, or a dream that you’ve wanted to pursue? Are you always waiting for the right time? Well, I’ve got news for you: there’s never a “right” time. Instead, there’s only time, and it slips away quickly. Life’s too short to live on somedays and maybes.

I hope this note, as cheesy as it may seem, will inspire you to take a step towards accomplishing your dream (whether that’s owning a business or something else entirely). My friends listed in this post, as talented and smart as they are, are just people, like you and me. If they can do it, we can do it. Are ya with me? OK, then go out and get ‘em! (How’s that for a pep talk? I think I’m trying to convince myself to take this big step, if nothing else. But I hope by doing so, I’ve managed to inspire and motivate you.)



Anonymous said...

Wow, Megan! I'm flattered to be included among these most amazing women! And just think, if I hadn't started that little business of mine, I wouldn't have met you (and all our other paper crafting industry friends), and that is worth it all right there.

Unknown said...

What an awesome post. I signed up for SU this year but didn't do much with it. Just sat down Tuesday night and listed out some goals for 2009 to see if I could really make it work. This is truly inspiring!

Holly said...

I also feel honored to be a part of this post. Not worthy, but honored! I can't wait to see what you are working on!

Unknown said...

Truly an inspiring post Megan... can't wait to learn more of your business venture!

Lain said...

I can't wait to hear more about your business idea with J! I am sure it will be incredible. :)

Anonymous said...

Go, go Megan (and J, too)! :)
Hope to hear of your new venture soon.