Archive for the ‘Creatives Near You’ Category
This week we are super stoked to be sharing with you another talented and fun loving couple! Not only are they practically our neighbors, living in Tulsa, but they are one super cute and powerful team that truly enjoy working together. In fact, you might have seen some of their fun projects in magazines, blogs, and even TV with their easy DIY’s and functional decor affordable for any budget!
Meet Tim and Kara Paslay with Kara Paslay Designs:
“We do a lot of different creative jobs, all which fall under our business “Kara Paslay Designs.” It is a full time, all consuming business and we love it. Basically, we will take on any job that involves creative design. We do or have done interior design for residential homes, retail design for Anthropologie and other Tulsa boutiques, window displays, we write a daily blog, we host DIY classes, we serve as art directors/set decorators for commercial, TV shows, & movies, and we are in the process of developing our own design TV show! Basically we love creating and will take every opportunity to do so!”- Kara Paslay
Q1) What was the inspiration behind starting Kara Paslay Design?
A1) Kara- Growing up I promised myself that no matter what I ended up doing that I would love it. I refused to work at a job that I dreaded every day. There was a problem though- my college days were focused on playing basketball. Around my junior year, I realized that I wanted to do interior design after my basketball days were over, but my college didn’t offer the major. So, I went about the rest of my college days trying to squeeze in furniture redo projects and small things I could take on in my apartment. After college Tim and I bought a home. Tim took a job at a construction company to learn the basics of construction/building so that we could apply that knowledge to our home and one day our business. Meanwhile I worked at home honing different skills- designing and redesigning rooms to create a portfolio for myself. We looked at our home as a hands on learning university where we could get the education that we needed to eventually start our own business.
Tim- I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do out of college, but I knew I needed to try things to figure out what I did and didn’t like. I took on the responsibility of bread winning while Kara was getting established and now the rolls have reversed a little bit. I still pitch in, but with a better understanding of what I enjoy doing, I am working on some projects that aren’t necessarily making money yet, but will one day be an enjoyable (and hopefully profitable) business of my own.
When I met Jana at Altitude Design Summit I couldn’t wait to feature her as one of our “Creatives Near You”. Through Little Bird Soda Jana makes homemade, organic fizzy drinks for weddings, events, and soon…they’ll be available in select places across the US!
” I currently live in Rock Springs, Wyoming (we moved from Kalispell, Montana) to get out of debt and live a simpler life. Wyoming has been an incredibly hard adjustment for us, but it has given me the ability to focus all of my time and passion on Little Bird Soda. My husband works insanely hard to pay our bills, keep me inspired and free to do this, and he’s a lot more business-minded than I am. His business savvy side has kept me on course and has allowed me to dream without making too many irreversible mistakes. ”
With flavors like Strawberry Rhubarb, Grapefruit & Honey, Fig & Lime, Jana’s got the perfect summer time refreshment! Get ready for some serious mouth watering folks!
Q1) What was the inspiration behind starting your own soda company?
A1) Tanner and I were in Salt Lake City one weekend at the farmers market, and had just sipped an amazing lavender lemonade from a local cafe. I couldn’t believe how good it was, and I kept thinking that with a little bit of carbonation, it would be an AMAZING soda! I also found out that I was pregnant that weekend, and we kept referring to our precious new babe as ‘the little bird.’ I went home and played around with some fruit I brought back from the market, and came up with my first flavor. Strawberry Rhubarb. When my neighbors asked me for seconds, and then thirds, I thought that it was time to develop the business aspect further. I wanted something creative for the name, and wanted a name that would appeal to the audience I wanted to reach. That’s when I knew for sure that Little Bird Soda Co. was it!!
Q2) Looking back what are some of the factors that played a key roll in the growth and development of what Little Bird Soda is today?
A2) Before I started Little Bird, I ran an antique market in Montana (I still do), and wrote a small blog that had a small but loyal following. I believe that the blogging and antique world had a huge impact on the growth and development of my soda. I started out selling at our antique market and quickly sold out the first time! Then I contacted some very amazing companies who I thought would be really fun to collaborate with and they responded with an excited YES! Those collaborations should be out sometime this year.
Q3) How do you balance a healthy home while running your own soda company?
A3) I’ve perfected my soda making and recipes to the point where one day per month makes the amount and flavors that I need. When I was a blogger, I learned the importance of keeping family involved, and my husband is a very important piece of this whole puzzle. I go to him for advice, ideas, and we keep in communication. Our baby will be born in November, so I’m sure my priorities will change then…so I’ll make sure to keep you posted after the New Year
Q4) What advice do you have for others interested in selling an organic food product?
A4) My advice would be to RESEARCH your product until you think you can’t anymore. SURROUND yourself with people who are supportive and encouraging. Hire a GREAT business lawyer who has had similar clients and is interested in what you do. BE PATIENT because it’s a long and drawn out process. I’m still working to be USDA Organic Certified! I’m sure I’ll be the crazy one in the street doing the happy dance when it’s all finalized haha.
Q5) Define what makes a great soda?
A5) I’d say a great soda is like a great wine. I think you should be able to taste all the flavors! If I can’t taste the lemon AND the fig in a batch, I start over. Flavor is really important to me. Fizz is also important. I strive for the perfect amount of fizz without it burning your nostrils or throat! haha
Q6) What is your process for coming up with Little Bird’s unique soda flavors?
A6) I love to go to farmers markets and just think of things I’ve never tried or never heard of in combination with each other and go from there! Sometimes I get inspiration from a great flavor combination I’ve eaten or seen in a recipe. I love that I can have FULL creativity and originality for this. I also run it by Tanner, who is the king of mixing things and trying new combinations. If he thinks it sounds gross, I know I don’t even need to try.
AND NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF!
Ever since I met Erin, a few years back, I have been inspired by the way she balances her full-time mom and creative career. Erin’s resume includes a wide list of experiences as a handmade shop owner, an artist, a blogger; Pippin + Pearl, and last but certainly not least she also runs a design studio with her husband Tim; CooperHouse.
“We’re a two man (or man/woman, if you prefer) creative studio that specializes in web development and branding for creative businesses. We’re learning that there is a creative side to almost every business and we definitely don’t discriminate, however most of our clients are designers, artists, bloggers, interior design industry etc. I handle all the art direction/design/project management and Tim handles all the development/accounts/hosting/maintenance.”
Together, from the comfort of their home, they take on clients from all sizes and still maintain time with their two daughters, date lunches, and vacations to see family on the West Coast.
Q1) What was the inspiration behind starting your own business?
A1) Tim was the first to strike out on his own. when the agency he was working for in Colorado closed its doors 8 years ago, he felt it would be a good time to try his hand at freelance web development. He worked on his own for a few years before luring me away from my design job to be his partner. I was inspired by his vision, but was also just really craving some independence after spending 8 years working in the Air Force design department. We both have always wanted autonomy in our careers and the freedom to work from anywhere, so that is the main reason we started CooperHouse.
Q2) How are your personalities alike and how they are different?
A2) We are both creative types. I’m a painter, he’s a sculptor & musician, so I think we understand each other very well on that level especially. I’ve never worked with anyone who is as respectful as he is of my creative process and the effort that I put into my design. I spent years learning Web design and so I also have an appreciation for his abilities. I know that this company needs both of our skills and talents in order to function well. Also, I think our personalities started out as more opposite and have grown to be a little more similar. I’ve mellowed a bit, and he’s become more social. I think our strengths are helpful in our business… Good Cop vs. Bad Cop and all that.
I first met Ryan and Chelsea this past January at a special dinner prepared for ALT Summit attendees. They arrived all sleek in their New York attire and to be honest it made me wish that Cale could have attended the conference with me. It’s always amazing to me to see other couples who work together creatively. I love hearing their process and how they balance work and life.
When Ryan and Chelsea first met, they were both full-time actors; actually they were doing a national tour of a show. Since then, Ryan has mostly left the acting business and started his own web design company, called Roundhouse Designs. He specializes in designing websites for actors and creatives while Chelsea has continued acting and has added blogging to her plate. Together they take on DIY projects, designing and re-designing Chelsea’s DIY blog; Lovely Indeed, auditions, and all that a New York City life has to offer!
Q1) What was the inspiration behind starting your blog Lovely Indeed?
A1) When Ryan proposed, I knew that I wanted our wedding to be very DIY, so I started reading DIY and wedding blogs regularly. After a while, I realized that I had a lot to share, especially while planning our wedding, so I put together a blog of my own. We documented all of our wedding projects and planning stages. I’m so grateful for it now; it’s almost like looking at a scrapbook of our engagement. I’m still so surprised and grateful at how it’s taken off – even though our wedding has passed, the blog has grown and transitioned into something that I hope is long-lasting.
Q2) What about your lifestyle inspires your work or makes it better?
A2) We’ve been so blessed during our time in NYC. While Ryan was still acting, we had the opportunity to work together on two U.S. tours, and to work together on a job in China. That kind of travel is so inspiring and eye-opening. In each new place, we’d be sure to try new foods, hunt down local shops, and go on photo tours. Those are memories that we both absolutely treasure, and seeing so much of the world together has exposed us to so many beautiful, inspiring things.
Q3) It seems you and Ryan work very closely together. How do you balance a healthy home while running a blog, graphic design clients, auditions, shows, etc.?
A3) For us, everything sort of runs together. One day may be filled with three auditions plus two client meetings and seeing a show in the evening; the next day might be staying home to get the laundry finished before we go to a rehearsal for something. To be honest, we know that it’s not necessarily something that’s a long-term lifestyle; but in the theater world, you have to somewhat roll with the punches and fit the puzzle pieces together however they will fit! And while we’re living in the city, we’re trying to soak up as much of it as we can.
Q4) In your opinion, define what makes a great DIY Project?
A4) To me, photos are key. If the project is attainable and the photos are quality, there are times when you almost don’t need instructions. I think that it’s easy to want to push through a project without taking the time to make sure the photos are beautiful and descriptive; but the truth is that much of the blog world is image-driven, and people want to see beautiful things – even if it’s a DIY tutorial.
Q5) What advice do you have for others interested in starting a DIY blog?
A5) Be ready to invest the time to make it great! DIY blogging is extremely time consuming once you add everything up – you have to conceive the project, shop for materials, do the project (do it again if you mess it up), photo it, edit photos, and put the post together. And that’s just one project. So you’ve got to be ready to work. But on the flip side, it’s so rewarding to share ideas with people and see your work making the world a little more beautiful!
AND NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF!
Q6) If you could co-star with your husband in any show what would that be? Why?
I’d probably go with us playing Robert and Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone (even though I’m so wrong for that role!). The show is kind of old-school, and Ryan comes from an old Vaudeville family, so he’d be hysterical in it. That, plus I’d get to wear lots of sequins!
Q7) What is the DIY project you are the most proud AND the one you will NEVER do again? Why?
For the last few years we’ve crossed paths with Allison Bailey as we’ve dropped off product at Shop Good and other places around OKC. As a retail consultant we’ve seen first hand some of the projects and shops she’s been involved with and we can honestly say that she’s been an intricate part in planning some of the biggest community centered events for the local districts around town. If Allison is not the brains behind the operation and organizing the entire event, you’ll also find her volunteering her time when it’s something she truly believes in.
What I love about Allison’s perspective is that she’s not just a girl who likes to “shop” (don’t let those blonde curly cues fool you) but everything she does is smart and strategic. Her passion is to truly support local retail shops by helping them establish a shop philosophy that they can continue to grow from and create a shopping community like culture that customers want to be a part of again and again. What originally started as a love for supporting local retail in the form of the blog Shopcrawlr has now become Allison Barta Bailey a full fledged retail consultant business for independent shops and districts.
Q1) How does one become a retail consultant?
A1) Honestly, I’ve only met one other retail consultant that works with independent retailers. We both took different routes to our careers. She started as a shop owner. Although I did work retail, I started from a completely different angle. I began recruiting shops to my start-up website, Shopcrawlr.com and gradually transitioned into managing marketing efforts, events and promotions for some of the shops that I became familiar with.
After consulting on weekends and evenings while I worked a corporate job, I had a revelation and decided to quit my full time job and jump into consulting for small shops full time. That was over two years ago and I still get excited thinking about that moment.
Q2) When a potential customer walks into a store what are the three key elements that can make or break their purchase?
- Environment: Does a customer feel welcome in the shop space? Is a shop owner friendly without acting like a salesperson? Candles, music, wall color, walkway space… all add to the initial perception. For example, Black Optical (in the image featured above) pays close attention to detail and makes it easy for a customer to feel comfortable trying on dozens of pairs of glasses.
- Product Rhythm: Product arrangement, how do the products’ prices and purposes translate to a customer’s path through the shop? How is the shop philosophy shared?
- Although this actually occurs before they enter the shop… Availability: Is your shop open when customers want to shop? If you aren’t open, does your window indicate the next time that you will be open?
“What you need to do is get clear about the life that you want. Then you need to re-focus your priorities until you can see that life and then you just run like hell at it! You just go for it!”- Susan Petersen with Freshly Picked
We couldn’t agree more!
From the Farm
We first met JD last year when we participated in the OKC Deluxe Indie Craft Bazaar. I don’t know how she finds time to balance it all (and right around the holidays) but JD and Sara Cowan (her BFF) put on Deluxe every December in addition to their own personal creative endeavors. After teaching in the Oklahoma City Schools for several years JD resigned to being a full-time creative. You can find her today working in her studio and weaving in time for her 18 month old.
Q1) How did Deluxe get started?
A1) Deluxe was created out of a need for a different kind of craft show in OKC. As crafters ourselves, we were hungry for the kind of show that would showcase our creative work and not lump us in with resellers and other non-handmade products. We wanted something a little more selective both for our vendors and our shoppers.
Q2) Define what makes a good craft show?
A2) What makes a good craft show is going to change from person to person. For us, it’s all handmade with the opportunity to talk with the maker. A good craft show for us also changes some from year to year. We like to bring back some of our favorite artists and also new ones, keeping the show fresh each year.
Q3) When you select artists for the show what are three key factors that can make or break the selection process?
A3) Selecting artists is probably the toughest part of putting on Deluxe. We love all of the handmade work that we see but we have to filter some out to keep the show in line with our vision. Three of the many factors we consider are:
- Is it handmade? First things first! If it’s not, it’s not going to fly at Deluxe.
- Would we buy it for ourselves, our home, our families?
- Creativity. Is it something we’ve seen a million times or is it new and something we think the shoppers will appreciate?
Q4) What advice do you have for others interested in starting their own handmade show?
A4) Get started. You learn a lot in the process. It helps to have a partner with complementing skill sets. Someone that can do the tasks that are out of you aren’t as comfortable with. It is also a good idea to go to other shows, see what you like, take notes, pictures, whatever will help you later. It’s really nice if you can get some experience as a vendor and a shopper.
Have you ever met one of those artists who’s work just reaches out and grabs you… we’ll, that’s Hailey. We were first introduced to Hailey when Cale purchased a handmade gift for me through her shop, Ozetta. He didn’t realize until later that he was ordering a cowl from someone right here in Oklahoma! We we’re so impressed with Hailey’s handywork we decided to order several of her pieces for gifts last Christmas. They were of course all hits and since then we’ve been Ozetta addicts.
Get ready to fall in love with Hailey and everything in her shop.
Q1) How did you get started knitting?
A1) I started crocheting when I was ten years old, but took a long break from it and picked up knitting. However, I have found that both are equally important in this industry. So, I do both. This art form appeals to me because you start with yarn and needles. That’s it. And with great care and process I begin to create something. It’s amazing what you can create with so little and make something so extraordinary. When I work on an order, I like to look at it as something entirely different than just an order. It means so much more to me than that. Each piece I create is full of meaning, love, and high attention to detail. According to my father-in-law I am building a piece. And I guess in reality, I really am.
Q2) Define what makes a great knitted piece?
A2) The definition of a great knitted piece depends on what you are trying to create. Each piece I envision I sketch, create a swatch, and then start on the bigger piece. When creating a specific look, it comes natural to me what stitch I should use. When the piece is finished I test all of them by wearing them out and about, I like to know how it will feel and if something is not perfect, I start over. It is a process of trial and error. My favorite material is a chunky super soft blend, this combination creates the most perfect scarf.
Q3) What is the inspiration behind your shop name?
A3) Ozetta is the middle name of my great grandmother. What’s surprising is the name was never really an issue; I always knew my shop was going to be Ozetta. My Memaw was the brightest person in any room. She had the best advice, was so very patient, and dropped subtle hints of what she knew you could become. She would always say “little Hailey, you can do anything”. I would sometimes stay for weeks with her in the summer months. We would wake up early to cook a huge breakfast for the two of us, watch movies, curl up in her handmade quilts while crocheting and talking talking talking. I think she always knew what I could become with my creative abilities. I wish she could see the skill that she alone taught me from just a chain stitch, has grown into something bigger than maybe even she imagined. Well, maybe she knew all along.
We first ran into the Smith’s when their loft apartment was featured on a little blog known as Apartment Therapy (no big deal!). Cale and I ooed and awed at a do-it-yourself modern home renovation right here in Oklahoma! After that we were hooked. We started stalking er, umm following the Smith’s blog and found ourselves enjoying their love for family and self-employment so much that we had to use our latest Creatives Near You interview to get to know them a little bit better.
Meridith is a stay-at-home mom who runs Smitty Baby, an online Baby shop. She does pretty much everything, from dreaming up product ideas to actually making them come to life while Jason helps out on the marketing and business side. Jason dabbles in just about anything he drums up in that ginger head of his—but right now he pays the bills mainly from writing bail bonds/bounty hunting, freelance video and music (recording, editing, marketing) via HOLY CLAP! and printing/publishing independent authors.
Q1. How are your personalities alike and how they are different?
A1) For the most part, Jason’s the type A guy and I’m more type B. While he’s busy drawing up plans for his next project, you can find me out on the back deck watching the kid’s swim listening to Kings of Convenience Pandora radio. However, we are both very flexible and low maintenance and tend to enjoy the same things…mainly creating.
Q2) How do you balance a healthy home and running your own business?
A2) Still trying to figure that out. Usually, we just make sure to play catch up with things that got left off last week’s agenda, weather that’s SB orders, time at the park with the kids, or swapping stories with each other.
I have to be honest and say since the first time I visited Jeremy & Kathleen’s blog I was hooked! Kathleen is a freelance art director, design and lifestyle blogger while Jeremy is an electronics engineer. The perfect left-brain/right-brain combo Jeremy & Kathleen are young dreamers who love family and all it’s annoying quirks, appreciate the ideas of simple living and love design in every form and fashion.
I know this might sound juvenile but they are honestly the type of people that just by knowing them you somehow feel cooler! I (Meg) was never in the “cool” group in high school so it’s exciting to get to introduce you to some of our “cool” friends…