Boss Lady: Kendra Edwards

Kendra Edwards looks over her sunglasses in this black and white photo

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we talk to Kendra Edwards. Kendra is the eCommerce Director of J/Slides Footwear, an original footwear company inspired by the streets of New York City and its local surf spots.

1. How did you discover J/Slides Footwear and what prompted you to choose them as your next career venture?
Not too long ago I had started my own consulting company, K.Consults, and was looking to take the leap into working for myself full time. Around the same time, I was invited to meet with the J/Slides team and we instantly clicked! I’m a fan of the product and I knew this was a brand that I could grow with. I also knew that I would be coming in at a critical stage in their Ecommerce growth. I felt like this brand HAD to be a closet staple every NYC girl owned and I wanted to be a part of making that happen!

2. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
I am naturally a very driven person, so when that drive is met with a brand and/or product I truly believe in it sparks a fire in me that is exciting and intoxicating. Doing what I love and seeing a brand grow to its potential before my eyes, is the most gratifying feeling. It’s addicting, to be honest. It’s like this baby you get to mold into the dopest, flyest human being and send them off to take over the world. I can’t really describe the feeling. When you are on the right path of working with a brand you believe in you can’t turn the creativity off. You find yourself inspired by everything and New York is the perfect muse.

3. As Director of Ecommerce, what does your day usually look like?
Every day presents its own set of challenges and accomplishments. From the moment I wake up, I’m checking all our media channels to see if we’ve gotten press hits. Then to my email and the website to make sure there aren’t any major tech issues before I’m en route to work. As soon as I walk into the office I need to be on my game! There are times when I arrive and I have to spearhead an impromptu photoshoot because a new shoe went viral and we need to continue to promote and create content to drive sales. However it doesn’t end with the visuals, with all of our content production comes the need to edit our marketing calendar, update email templates, social media sites and homepages all before I’ve had a sip of coffee! But this is what keeps you on your toes in this industry.

4. What is J/Slides’ most successful form of marketing?
Organic and word of mouth marketing have been overwhelmingly successful for us. We have a loyal following that loves to share and post their love for J/Slides! Most of our online followers will hashtag us and then we gain new fans through them. From homemakers to teachers to travelers to influencers – they all have their own style and show how truly versatile the brand can be. It’s a beautiful thing and it really shows the essence of the J/Slides brand.

5. How do you stay ahead of the latest marketing trends and strategies?
It takes a village. J/Slides owners Jay Litvack and Dimitri Mavridakis are incredibly creative with years of experience powering some of the world’s biggest footwear brands. Their wealth of experience and foresight keeps us current and on-trend. I also have an amazing tribe of stylish international friends in a wide range of industries that keep me on my toes when it comes to what’s trending. Networking is also key, a casual conversation over coffee can get your brand included in a top publication or TV segment. With all of this in mind, I would argue that the most important part of our company’s strategy is consumer insight. Listening to our customers, responding and making the necessary changes to attain and retain customers.

6. Share one piece of advice you have for someone getting into the Ecommerce industry.
It’s a rollercoaster ride! The highs are high and the lows are the best teachable moments you will have in your career. The best thing about Ecommerce is the ability to carve your own lane, put your creative stamp on your brand or the brand you work for and see the fruits of your efforts in real-time. The best part about my job is I get to single-handedly shape the way our consumers shop and interact with the brand.

7. Who is a boss lady who inspires you and why?
I don’t have just one, I have many. I am inspired on a daily basis by my Girl Gang made up of badass women that are killing it in their respective careers. It’s inspiring to be around other creative women who push me to explore my creativity and boldness in the digital space. They uplift me in moments of self-doubt, hold me accountable to my goals and aspirations, and are always on standby with a dirty martini to celebrate my accomplishments 🙂

Just for fun!
How I take my coffee: Medium Roast with two sugars with a splash of almond milk
My favorite book is: Becoming by Michelle Obama
The tv character I’m closest to is: Maxine from Living Single
A song that I can’t help but dance to is: Anything by CiCi Peniston or circa 1990’s.
The last new thing I tried was: Kundalini Yoga

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BOSS LADY: BECKER WHITE


Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we talk to Becker White. Becker is the owner and illustrator of Made by Becker, a collection of bold line art inspired by fashion. “She uses an atypical style to distort and therefore deemphasis the female form while still capturing the beauty and confidence that women exude when wearing clothes that they love.”

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
In 2015, I graduated from the University of Georgia with a BFA in Photography and decided to pursue modeling while taking work as a freelance artist. Since then, I’ve had jobs in corporate fashion working as a stylist, graphic designer, and creative director. I moved to Atlanta last year and later began painting full-time. I sold my first big collection, and that was a terrific launch for my business and client base. My work has evolved a lot over this past year, and I’m currently focused on creating fashion-inspired artwork!

2. How did your career as a photographer and model influence your work?
Working as a photographer and model deepened my appreciation for the artistry behind fashion and design. My love for both has always been a huge part of who I am and how I express myself. Wearing so many hats within the industry has fueled my passion and kept me coming back to fashion illustration time and time again. Whenever I have a blank sheet of paper, I end up sketching women in bold ensembles!

3. What’s your preferred medium?
It’s tough for me to choose a favorite medium. I get bored quite easily, so it’s important for me to change up my creative routine! Working with my Wacom tablet is great because I have the luxury of being able to pick up and go. On the flip side, I feel like there’s more at stake when I work with paint or pastels. The sensation of putting a mark on paper feels exciting and adds energy to my brushwork. I love that!

4. How did you feel when Rosetta Getty shared your illustration on Instagram? (I love her designs!)
That was an exciting moment for me! Rosetta Getty’s brand is so understated, elegant, and modern. I’m a huge fan of her designs, and being able to connect with her through my own artwork was very rewarding.

5. Who are some of your dream collaborators?
I’d love to work with Darling Magazine, Tibi, and Alexa Chung. I adore Alexa’s style and sense of humor!

6. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
When it comes to personal work, I like to scour Pinterest for street style photography or fashion editorials, and it’s usually an expressive pose or the vibe of a person that makes me want to capture the shot on paper. My work is as much about the people as it is about the clothes they’re wearing, so I also draw inspiration from people-watching in coffee shops and exploring the city.

7. How do you decide what pieces get color, when to keep it monochromatic, and what words to include, if any at all?
I work very intuitively, so it’s not a very refined process. Whether painting or working digitally, I’m constantly adding and deducting color until I feel like the piece is complete.

Adding words to my work is a rarity. I’ll add a line of text now and then if I’m feeling playful, but I usually prefer to let the image speak for itself. I tag posts on Instagram if my illustration is inspired by the work of a photographer, model, etc., but sometimes I also draw in the names of a magazine or designer because I like to provide further recognition for their work.

8. Share one piece of advice you have for an aspiring artist and entrepreneur.
It seems so simple, but make artwork that you enjoy. As artists and entrepreneurs, I think we can easily fall into the trap of creating what we think will sell. We look outward rather than inward to define our subject matter and style. The best way to ensure that you keep on creating (and love it!) is to start from within.

9. What do you see for the future of Becker White Art, any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
Right now, I’m primarily focused on taking my own advice: to create artwork that brings me joy. My short-term goal is to visit more art events, and I’d love to collaborate with local entrepreneurs this year!

I can’t comment on any current projects, but I recently completed some Valentine’s Day illustrations for Rosetta Getty, which came about through our connection on Instagram! You can check them out on her feed, @rosettagetty.

10. Who is a Boss Lady who inspires you and why?
Oh wow, I could list so many! Sarah Dubbeldam, founder and editor-in-chief of Darling Magazine, is a big inspiration of mine. Her magazine does a great job of challenging our cultural ideals of beauty while sharing content that is meaningful and relevant to all types of women.

Just for Fun!
Best way to drink coffee: With cinnamon and a splash of foamy milk!
Go-to shade of lip color: I’m all about that 90s brown! If you’re looking for a steal, check out Gone Greige by Maybelline.
Last magazine you read: Vogue’s February Issue featuring Florence Pugh.
If you could travel anywhere, it’d be to: Right now, my dream trip would be to visit London and then train to Scotland.
A song that always makes you dance: I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston. There’s a reason it’s a classic!

FOR MORE ON BECKER
WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

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Boss Lady: Meg Golz

Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we talk to Meg Golz. Meg is the Director of Marketing at Parabo Press, a print service that fills “your space with joy, by turning your photos into personal, design-forward home décor, photo books and more.” 

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.
Hello! My name is Meg and I’m the Director of Marketing at Parabo Press. We are an online photo printing company and we specialize in bringing digital memories to life with thoughtfully-designed photo prints and décor.

I started working at Parabo Press in 2016. My focus started with social media and paid advertising, but now I’m responsible for all things marketing. I love that I get to wear many hats and get to work with a small and brilliant team of women who inspire me each day. I also love working in the vibrant city of Madison, WI, with the beautiful capitol building just a few blocks away.

2. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?
In my personal life, I am always creating – whether that’s playing music, making art, baking, building, etc. I think that lends well to being a creative marketer. So much of marketing is the process of trying and failing and trying again, but always being inspired by and learning from what you’ve tried and what is next.

3. What makes Parabo Press special to work for, as well as to shop with?
Parabo is pretty special to work for because of our amazing team. We are a small team, and everyone plays a major role in our growth, leading us to be super connected with and supportive of one another and our photo printing mission.

I think we’re pretty special to shop with because our products are such high quality. We focus on thick matte paper, archival ink, and clean design – and we print everything in the USA.

4. As Director of Marketing, what does your day usually look like?
My days are always different – and that’s what I love about working for Parabo. One day I can be planning a social media giveaway – working on landing pages, copywriting and campaign graphics – and the next day I could be working on a targeted ad campaign via Instagram or new product design and launch strategy.

5. What’s your favorite form of marketing?
To reach existing customers, email marketing. There’s so much you can do with email marketing. You know it’s going to a users inbox, wherewith social media, it’s often tough to beat the algorithm. It’s also free!

To reach new customers, paid advertising through social channels. If you have any budget for marketing – use it here! The targeting and testing features that are available on these platforms are spectacular. Plus, you can see a direct correlation with what you are spending and the return you are getting, so you can really make an impact with that spend.

6. We love how your Instagram account looks so bright and family-oriented! What’s your strategy for maintaining a singular online vibe while still making sure to reach a wide audience?
Thank you! I will start by thanking our customers. Our products definitely have a design aesthetic that is very shareable. They share photos with us that we then share on our feed – we love showing off the beautiful photos our customers print and display. I think that user-generated content really connects with a wide audience and should play a part in anyone’s social strategy.

We also work with another brilliant Madisonian, photographer Nikki Hansen, who really understands our clean aesthetic and does an incredible job taking photos of our products. Having one photographer to create a streamlined image portfolio is a big help.

7. Where did you develop a passion for marketing?
I began my journey studying audio engineering – recording music for bands, audio for commercials, etc – and along the way, I realized how much marketing plays a part in any of those recorded pieces. For example, if a recording artist doesn’t take the time to properly market a new track, no one will hear it. As a musician, that really connected with me, so I was inspired to dig deeper.

I got my degree in the media business with an emphasis in marketing and dove headfirst into running social media for a musical instrument retailer. Throughout my education and time in that role, I kept discovering additional ways to market beyond traditional channels. I guess I’ve just never stopped trying to learn what else is out there.

8. Who is a Boss Lady who inspires you and why?
A Boss Lady who inspires me is my sister, Sarah. She is a high school environmental science teacher. Not only is she working toward making an impact on young lives each day, but she is an incredible leader. Though she is in a completely different field than I am, I learn so much from observing the way she leads in her classroom, balances her work and family, and provides support to all those around her.

Just for fun!
In my spare time, you can find me: Playing in my indie rock band Seasaw or baking cookies and recommending music on my account @cookiebytes.
Favorite Instagram account: @borderlandsbakery – I’m an amateur baker who makes sugar cookies, and Lisa’s account is so inspiring.
The last movie I saw in theaters was: 1917 – absolutely brilliant in every way.
Mountains or the sea: Mountains
How I prefer my coffee: Medium roast, black. I love our local cooperative, Just Coffee.

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Boss Lady: Molly Hatch


Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we talk to Molly Hatch. Molly is the artist, designer, ceramicist, and owner of Molly Hatch, a tableware and home goods company featuring whimsical and contemporary heirlooms.

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

I started as a studio potter and was making my living selling functional pottery and handmade things out of my studio 10 years ago. An executive with Anthropologie saw my work at a gallery in New York at Greenwich House Pottery on Jones St. and thought this would be a great fit for them! I was a team of one and was starting to bump into the fact that what I was doing was more labor-intensive than I could afford. Anthropologie could manufacture everything, which would make it more affordable for me and for customers. I wanted to build that up and at the same time buy more time to create. Anthropologie was the real opportunity to try that out without taking the financial risk to do it on my own, it was an amazing opportunity and the perfect marriage. Clearly, things went well between us. They sold the first collection of mugs really well and very quickly. After that, we were doing glassware, my best-selling items. We’ve been working together since then. They’ve sold over 500 of my product designs and gave me a platform to launch the brand and work with other partners.

I intended to sell pottery and be a professor. It worked for a while, but the business of being a designer and artist took over so much I stopped teaching five years ago. I still teach workshops, but I focus on designing one of a kind objects. I’ve almost always been in New England, I fit in that world, and it makes more sense to me aesthetically. You can see that in some of the collections, like the New York Breakfast Icon Collection with Bloomingdales we’re putting out next year.

2. What prompted you to start Molly Hatch?

I’ve always been interested in ceramics as a surface for drawing, I fell in love with the idea of things being functional and beautiful. As a studio potter, you can make anything you want. You can make anything handmade and Anthropologie gave me the platform to launch my career. Everything starts with a hand-painted drawing and I’m filling a need for something that doesn’t exist already. The stoneware we love in America is a heavier, cozier mug and those designs are reflected in what’s being manufactured. You get the same integrity and design as a handmade mug but at a more affordable price point.

Molly Hatch was launched because I couldn’t continue to make pottery without the help of the industry. I couldn’t afford to make pottery without making it more affordable for customers to buy. If I could make one mug by hand and send it off to the factory to reproduce, I’m still making them the same, but handing it off to a manufacturer with licensing has given me the opportunity to become an explorer of ideas instead of explorer of making things, in a fun way.

3. What inspires you and fuels your creativity?

I’ve looked to history a lot. Whenever I’m stuck I go back to history and reinterpret it in some way. A lot of designs and motifs are something old I’m making new, like adding a new color or a contemporary saying or drawing historic imagery with my own hand and changing it so that it fits into our lifestyle. History is a huge source.

4. What was the first piece you ever sold and where did it go?

I sold it in college, either at an open studio or holiday sale, but I have no recollection of what the first sale was. In starting this, I wanted to make something to give as a gift, maybe I’m just a gift designer. I wanted to make something useful and artful, I love making people happy and giving things. I believe in gratitude and generosity. That drove me to make things to gift to people that they would love and appreciate the function of. Ceramics is such a clear way to do that. Money wasn’t the driver; it was more the ability to give a gift.

5. What’s your most effective marketing strategy, either to customers or to potential stockists?

Our most effective marketing is driven through Instagram; it’s been an account I’ve worked on for a long time. We also work with a PR marketing agency and the most effective press from them is through a gift guide or larger magazine article. When articles are written, the customer makes a personal connection and I’m very much part of the brand and the brand story, it’s my name, after all. It’s important that people have a personal understanding of who you are, so people are seeing and making a connection with a person and not just a brand. A story behind the brand makes it more meaningful. Marketing is an ever-shifting thing and I just try to connect with the customer personally.

6. How did you decide to start teaching classes and workshops?

It’s part of the personal connection. I’m an open book and I didn’t get here by myself. People who have taught me along the way have been just as important to me as the customer. Anytime I can get people to come into my workspace I can connect to them, and I get great ideas when I teach! I miss being a professor, so I wanted to make sure I stayed connected with teaching through workshops and interaction. I really enjoy it.

7. What do you see for Molly Hatch’s future? Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

We have a bunch of new icon collections we’re working on in the new year. We’re expanding into paper entertaining and collaborations that will be coming later in 2020 with new brands in party & entertainment. We’re expanding on anything to do with the table. We’re trying to give people more of what they’re telling us they love.

8. Who is a Boss Lady who inspires you and why?

I look to Anna Bond with Rifle Paper Co. She and her husband, Nathan, craft paper goods and created such a huge business out of that. It’s exciting! Fine artist and illustrator, Lisa Congdon is doing interesting things and allowing her politics and personal life to be a large drive-in to how she thinks about her relationship with her customers. Her personal passions and messages are such a huge part of why she’s so successful. It’s inspiring to see someone take huge risks and put themselves out there. Jane Mosbacher Morris of TO THE MARKET is connecting manufacturers and retailers with ethical and sustainable manufacturing practices abroad. She’s working to end human trafficking and slavery in the contemporary world. It’s something we need to become a standard in the industry. We’ve been working together and I’m hoping to launch our projects soon. She’s inspiring, motivated, and an answer to a prayer. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this on my own, and someone who is taking it straight to the market (ha!) is really impressive and exciting and so genuine. I hope she’s able to do more of the good work she’s doing.

Just for fun!
A new (or new to me) restaurant I want to try: Le Coucou in NYC would be amazing.
In 2020, one goal I have: spend more time drawing and painting
My favorite winter outdoor activity: skiing
If I wasn’t an artist, I’d be: an art historian or curator or florist or all of them!

More about Molly:
Website | Instagram } Facebook

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