Kristen Ley, founder of Thimblepress® shares her wholesale secrets from being in the stationery businesses for more than a decade. Thimblepress is an international lifestyle company that encourages kindness and inspires fun, through her artisan cards, Push-Pop Confetti, and viral hits like the “Your butt looks great in those jeans!” card. In their interview with attorney for creators Brittany Ratelle, Kristen dives into her creative process, how she launched Thimblepress and grew it to a internationally successful company as a passionate creative, business woman, coach and woman of faith. Kristen has grown Thimblepress as a reflection of her life, love of her family, and reflecting back one her favorite places in the world; one of them being her home in Jackson, Mississippi.
Creative Counsel Episode 75
In this episode, you will learn
- How Kristen got started with an antique letterpress
- The journey from side hustle to “burning the ships behind her” when she left a safe corporate job
- Pros and cons of trade shows (and how Kristen did her first few all on her own!)
- How she decides what she wants to offer for wholesale – and how she coaches other people through these decisions
- Pricing for wholesale profitability
- What sparks her creativity for new art products
- Why Kristen shares about her faith alongside her business
- How Kristen teaches her coaching clients who want to get into licensing or wholesale
- Kristen’s advice for overcoming “noise” on social media
- How to hire the right way
- The three things your customers want – guaranteed!
Online wholesale outlets Kristen mentions (where you can find Thimbepress):
Kristen’s questions for creatives who want to expand:
- Where are you actually making your money?
- Where are you spending your time? (What you’re doing over there – is that actually making you money?)
- Are you excited about it? Don’t invest in something that doesn’t excited you, just because others are. What about YOU?
- Have you done the “time, heart, money” analysis like Katie Hunt from Proof to Product recommends?
- Have you developed a brand book?
- Can you make a pitch about your work?
“I have been running this business since 2012 and it looks very different than it did, but the integrity and the core values of our brand have always remained the same.”
“When you hire, if people don’t align with your core values, it’s going to make communicating with them and them going out and communicating for your brand super difficult.”
“You need saved three months of being able to pay your employees in a savings account because those times will get hard – things can happen out of your control.”
“One of the worst things I’ve done in my business is having to let people go – and that usually comes from hiring too fast.”
“I feel like I’m making a difference in people’s day-to-day – even if they’re little small differences. I visualize all those little small products, like every greeting card that goes out, those hundreds of thousands of push-pops of confetti, out into the world. And I think of every time we send something out, it’s like a little red heart. So I picture all these little red hearts everywhere.”
“A legal lesson I learned the hard way – if you file for a provisional patent application, make sure you follow up within a year later and file the actual patent, or you lose that right forever.”
“Don’t look around at what everyone else is doing and make the right decisions for you, your family, your company, your faith, all those things like are so important.”
“Don’t make work your idol – make it part of your life, but not the hero. Because you’re the hero – not what you do.”
“I always say people don’t ask for what they want enough pitch yourself as much as you can. The more you ask – just mathematically – the more yes’s you’re going to get.”
“You have to big be your biggest cheerleader. If you’re not going to be excited about the things that you’re doing, how do you expect anyone else to be excited for you?
“For promoting yourself, sometimes you have to yell when even when you think it’s a whisper, especially on social media. Sometimes, I feel like I’m saying things over and over again, and that I feel like I’m yelling at them but truthfully, it’s not that because we’re all inundated with noise.”
“I always say it boils down to three things. People just want to feel seen, loved and heard. If you can make your customers feel seen and loved and heard, I would say job well done.”
Wholesale Agreement Template
Pop-up shop Agreement Template
Connect with Kristen
Business Coaching by Kristen Ley (1:1 creative call, monthly mentoring and weekend workshops)
Other Related Episodes
Contract Templates mentioned in this episode
Interested in securing and protecting your own brand name? Chat with Brittany about whether you are ready for a federal trademark registration to protect your brand assets.
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