Boss Lady: Sarah Zero

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Sarah Zero, founder of Wellstruck, a Delaware based brand design company. Sarah shares with us what it means to empower women to live positive and organized lifestyles along with advice for future #bossladies.

Boss Lady - Wellstruck - Sarah Zero - Social Stylate

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.

I’m based in Delaware, where I live with my husband and pup (#SmallsPup — yes, she totally has her own hashtag). Lately we’re into day trips near home, sitting at the bar when we go out to eat, and binging on Master of None.

I have a degree in Visual Communications and over 10 years of professional branding experience. I’ve worked in-house at a brand department at a large corporation; on a small team at a boutique agency that specialized in nonprofit branding; and even as adjunct faculty, teaching Visual Communications at the college level.

That led me to found Wellstruck, a brand design company. I love branding because it helps entrepreneurs get clarity, confidence, and credibility. It’s rewarding to connect business owners to clients who truly value their expertise.

2. What is a typical work day like?

I spend my mornings at my local coffee shop, Brew HaHa! I get there around 8, order a large green tea, open up my laptop, and knock out all of the frogs on my to-do list. By the time I leave the coffee shop around 11, I feel like I’ve already had a super productive day.

Then I head home, take the pup for a short walk, and watch mindless TV while I make myself lunch. I’m a big believer in recharging to maximize productivity.

I schedule client calls for the afternoon (from my home office), along with any intense creative work that requires my big monitor or lots of desk space. When my husband gets home around 5, that’s my cue to wrap up work. I check back on my to-do list and set my priorities for the next day, then close my laptop around 6.

3. What was your inspiration behind starting Wellstruck?

I have always wanted to own my own business, even before I knew what I wanted to study in college. After falling in love with the world of branding, I was even more interested in starting my own business because of the lack of women-owned branding agencies out there. Branding is a very male-dominant industry that glorifies working insanely long hours — I want to play a role in changing that up. I believe I can do great work without sacrificing everything else in my life.

4. What has been your most successful form of marketing for the company?

Our most successful form of marketing has been Wellstruck Lady Boss. I founded Wellstruck Lady Boss in 2014, and have hosted these intimate monthly gatherings for women business owners since. It started as a passion project inspired by my genuine desire to build a community with real relationships. I think the fact that we don’t think of it as a marketing effort is exactly why it has been so successful. Genuine relationships take time, but they’re worth it for many reasons.

5. What advice would you give to women who aspire to be entrepreneurs?

You will never start with a finished product. Get over it and get started! The sooner you start, the sooner you can iterate. Iteration is how you perfect.

6. What are your favorite roles to play in the company?

I love when a client sees her potential from our perspective. There’s always a moment — sometimes it’s when we finish defining her brand; sometimes it’s closer to the end when everything is more refined. When it happens — ooh! Goosebumps every time!

7. Where do you hope to see the company in 5 years?

I want Wellstruck to be known, and I’m interested in growing it from a lifestyle business (that depends mostly on me) to a legacy business (that depends more on my methods). Right now I have solid methods formed, and I’m figuring out how to systemize as much of it as possible without sacrificing any of the goodness that comes from one-on-one client experience. I’m excited to eventually add smart, talented designers to the team and teach them the methods!

8. Who is a #bosslady that inspires you?

Allegra and Rasa from Birchtree Catering! They are strong, smart, hard-working, and damn good at what they do. I look up to them more than they know!

Photography by Brittney Raine

 

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Musical Inspiration from Cuba

Vocal Clave de Sol will be at the Ladybug Festival in Wilmington, Delaware on July 20-21st.

Vocal Clave de Sol, a musical education program in Havana, Cuba, founded by Nuria and Yamilé García in May 2009. The program started with 9 members and by 2016 had grown to an impressive 256. The lack of local recreational and artistic options for children combined with the lack of a nearby cultural institution made its creation an important initiative.

Clave de Sol - Social Stylate

Among its goals is promoting traditional Cuban music and culture, inviting children to learn through their interests and helping to grow their abilities. This is accomplished through the disciplines of practice, deadlines, cooperation, respect, and community, while contributing to the development of their musical intelligence and skills. Through choral singing and guitar (as well as Charango, Tres, Cuatro, standup Bass, and various percussion instruments), children aged 7 to 16 years have developed their gifts, their self-esteem, and changed their lives’ trajectories… by becoming lifelong learners. The value of learning through one’s interests in this program cannot be overstated. Students have gone on to ISA (Universidad de las Artes – the premier Arts University in Cuba), University of Havana, as well as careers in medicine, teaching, and the arts. Children wishing to join the program need only be interested and have an instrument. Sometimes, having an instrument is the only difficulty, so we are looking to raise awareness and to help put instruments in the hands of children who would like to get involved with this special program. Clave de Sol embraces the child, the child’s family, and the whole community. As it does, it engenders respect for the value of Cuban musical heritage and the Cuban dedication to the arts, in addition to other cultures, arts and… education. They have been invited to tour of the Martin Guitar Factory with one of the company’s guitar designers. Additionally, there is talk of developing an exchange program both with Blair Academy and a local private school in Delaware.

Clave de Sol - Social Stylate

On Sunday, July 23, they will perform at Drom in New York City.  Imagine being a girl or young woman and having the opportunity to travel outside of your country for the first time and welcomed guest artist. Special thanks to Carlos Alejandro for sharing this gift.

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Boss Lady: Frances Thrasher

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Frances Thrasher, creator and founder of Kindred Skincare, a Wilmington-based company with 100% organic oil cleansing skincare products. Frances shares with us the journey that led to her passion for health, which ultimately became a successful skincare line.

Boss Lady: Frances Thrasher of Kindred Sknicare

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career?
I went to Georgia Tech and studied Textile Engineering. One summer I was overexposed to chemicals in a polypropylene plant, and this created a lifetime of skin sensitivities and allergies. The change in hormones during my pregnancies intensified the problems. By my second child, I couldn’t even use any soaps or shampoos. I was developing allergies to additives, thickeners, and foaming agents. I did some research and I started using olive oil.  I got tired of smelling like olive oil all the time so I took an online bio course and started playing around with soaps and moisturizers (all oil based). Eventually I created the Kindred Skincare line. I just made it for myself and then I realized that there was a big market for it. My plastic surgeon friend used the products during her pregnancy and saw amazing results. She, along with my mom and sister pushed me to create the line.

Where did your name and brand come from?
The name Kindred symbolizes the extension of family through kindred spirits and our universal interconnectedness. The look and feel of the packaging reflect both the science and the personalized customer care reminiscent of a classic neighborhood apothecary where the local practitioner knew the name and the families of the each and every person in need of effective holistic healing remedies.

What is a typical workday like?
There is no typical workday. I am a one-woman band so it really depends. It depends on the amount of orders I have, the amount of supplies I have to work with, and everything else that I have going on in my life. I hand batch everything and that takes a long time. I could also be in my shop dabbling in other products, delivering local orders to stores like Houppette, or I could be sending my products at the post office to my clients in Brooklyn, Florida, or Oregon. My family is incredible and helps me if I’m ever in a pinch.

Where do you get your ideas and inspiration?
I get my inspiration from all over the place. I’m always taking in feedback from clients and trying to work with them to develop new ideas. I also love to go horseback riding in my free time and that is a big influence for me. Being in nature really inspires my whole lifestyle. One of my favorite practices is Shinrin-Yoku, a term that translates as “tree” or “forest bathing.” Research has determined that when you immerse yourself in nature by “walking through the woods,” the body responds, practically communing with the surrounding environment, giving way to a host of benefits: a reduction in both stress and blood pressure, an improvement in mood, energy and sleep as well as an accelerated recovery from illness or surgery. I believe in natural and organic approaches to caring for your body. Your skin is your largest organ, therefore what you put on your body Is just as important as what you put in your body!

Who is a Boss Lady that you look up to and why?
I can’t choose just one. I have so many. Everyday I meet such talented and passionate women. They’re in the stores I go to, they’re clients, and they’re all so different. They all have had completely different paths that I am just in awe of. I have really grown to love and have deep friendships with these women. To me, you don’t have to be a flag-carrying woman. We’re all little pieces of the bigger picture. We are all empowering with our shoulders back and our heads up. I have so much respect for these women that I interact with every single day. They’re all juggling a lot, and yet they are keeping a good attitude and just doing it well.

What is your best form of marketing?
I definitely use Instagram to gain traction with my company. I’m not super into Facebook or Twitter or even hiring a sales team. On Instagram I’m able to not only showcase my products but who I am as a person. I think it’s really important that people invest in that aspect as well. I can really show them that I live up to the lifestyle that I’m so passionate about. It shows a real-life aspect to my company so people know I’m not just a business tycoon. I’ll make cold-calls to people to get their input and throw my name out there. I also get a lot of business through my website and e-commerce. After people buy products they’re always telling their friends. Word-of-mouth has helped my business tremendously.

What do you think is in store for the future of your company?
I like the small, apothecary feel to my line. I’m a small business so I’m looking to build smart growth that won’t be too overwhelming. It’s a big market and I know the more I open people’s eyes to the magic of oil based skincare products, the more they’ll be all over it. I’m starting small with the Indie Beauty Expo in Dallas where I’ll show off my product. I want others to see the necessity and power of good oils. I am so excited for what the future holds because I really took a leap of faith with this line and it has given me so much.

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Boss Ladies: Kaylyn Minix & Michelle Trincia

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Kaylyn Minix and Michelle Trincia, co-founders of bloom daily planners, a Newark, Delaware based company with chic planners for women of all ages. Kaylyn and Michelle share with us what it means to empower women to live positive and organized lifestyles along with advice for future #bossladies.

bloom planners | social stylate

1.Tell us a bit about yourself and the company.
We were both born and raised in Delaware and have been planner lovers and list makers our whole lives. We both attended the University of Delaware where we met, interning at our future company! bloom creates daily planners and a variety of other organizational that inspire and empower women to live a positive, organized lifestyle. Our goal is to help our customers lead a more healthy, fulfilling life and be the best versions of themselves! We are so grateful for the platform that we have created, our amazing team and useful products but most importantly our bloom girls who inspire us every day!

More from Kaylyn: My fiancé and I are new home owners and love working on and decorating our home. We are currently planning our dream wedding in Mexico and Honeymoon in Europe! I love spending time with my loved ones most. Traveling, fashion, shopping, my exercise classes, cheat meals, crossing things off my to do lists and filling up my planner with all of these wonderful activities!

More from Michelle: I am recently married and live with my husband and a giant golden retriever. I love traveling (we just got back from our honeymoon to Paris/Amsterdam/Italy!), new music, new food, new experiences! I am a busy body who is, in addition to bloom, have too many side projects including three Etsy shops and a dogsitting business! I am always on the go and thinking of new things to do/try/create. I love listening to interesting podcasts, reading books by inspiring business owners, and I also try and relax sometimes with family and friends.

2.Where did the name “bloom” come from?
We felt bloom was the perfect metaphor for our brand! Our products are designed to inspire and empower women Dzbloomdz into the best version of themselves. Blooming is a continual process and a lifelong journey. Our logo is a daisy which is a symbol of purity and new beginnings. We believe each year, each day, each moment is an opportunity to start fresh and strive to be better. The name bloom also captures the brightness and colorfulness of our brand and patterns, and it makes for a lot of fun flower metaphors. Wins all around!

3.What does a typical day at the office look like?
Every day is different! There is always something fun and exciting going on! A new deadline, a product upload, a new shipment or event to cover. We are always working on new designs and product ideas, attending trade shows, and making new relationships to help bloom continually ‘branch out’! Our office is very collaborative and open concept, so we’re constantly generating new ideas (designs, products, social media campaigns, etc.) Something really unique about our company is we are able to take an idea from conception to delivery to the public. We’re always brainstorming new product ideas, new designs, and new layouts then working together to bring them into existence. We always say it’s like Christmas when we get our new samples. To then see our customers be helped by these products we created is the most rewarding thing in the world. Our products are truly our babies!

4.What is your best source of inspiration for your designs?
Following the trends that we see in the fashion world, stationery market, Pinterest, travel, really anything that inspires us! We also pull most of our inspiration for new patterns and products from our #bloomgirl community. We take their requests and feedback very seriously and are always tweaking current products and even making new ones to fit their needs! We recently started a cover contest where we literally let our users design their own covers and then let the community vote. The winner gets their design printed, a cash prize, and planners for life! We love incorporating our users into our day to day decisions because we wouldn’t exist without them!

5.What would you consider your best tool for marketing?
Social Media! Twitter has been an amazing tool to create more personal conversations with our bloom girls. We try to connect with girls who love to be organized or need a little inspiration in their lives. It makes our day to brighten someone else’s. We also rely on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest! The best part of our day is interacting with our bloom girls!

6.If you could do a collaboration for a line of planners with anyone, who would it be and why?
Kaylyn: I would have to say Mary Kay! I am actually a Mary Kay rep and see how closely bloom and Mary Kay’s values align. We both focus on inspiring women to be organized, follow their dreams and achieve their goals. I think we could have a great line together to empower women across the world tobe their own girl bosses!

Michelle: I would love to work with TheSkimm or Sophia Amoroso on a custom #GIRLBOSS planner! We love that book and it would be so great to incorporate those concepts into a yearly planner!

7.What is one of the biggest challenges you face as a business owner and how do you overcome that?
Juggling everything in our personal and professional lives is certainly a challenge. It inspires us that bloom creates products to help make a hectic, (but exciting!) life more manageable. Everyone wants to appear that they have it all together but that is not always the case. We have some pretty intense work, travel and social schedules but we ultimately thrive off of this. We know what to expect, we make the most of it, remain grateful for these opportunities and get it done! The environment we have created at bloom has helped us keep a positive and grateful mindset to accomplish this and live a more fulfilling life. This is our goal for women around the world.

8.Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
bloom is growing so quickly. The sky is limit! We are adding more products and employees by the day so we see major growth in all of our current sales channels, new sales channels, new distribution relationships, nationally and internationally, and a much larger team to help us accomplish this!

9.What is some advice that you could give to someone trying to start their own business?
Follow your dreams and never give up! We love the quote “Don’t stop until you’re proud.” Remain focused, proactive, and organized and it will happen.

Set goals, stay accountable, read books, listen to podcasts, always try to expand upon your knowledge. Find a creative outlet to inspire you and help relieve any stress. Keep a healthy professional and personal balance so you don’t get burnt out.

Trust the process. We have had many ups and downs but things always seem to happen for a reason, and for the best!

10. Who is a #BossLady that you look up to and why?
We love Sophia Amoruso and the founders of the The Skimm, Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin. They have all paved their way from the ground up and we can really appreciate their stories. With passion and determination anyone can be a #GirlBoss!

Kaylyn’s Moodboard

Kaylyn Minix & Michelle Trincia Boss Lady | social stylate

Michelle’s moodboard

Kaylyn Minix & Michelle Trincia boss lady | social stylate

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