Oh my goodness, I honestly have to say this is probably my favorite Miss Independent interview so far! Meet Kate Gabriel, artist behind Scathingly Brilliant and Flapper Doodle! Her answers were so honest and good-spirited, it sounds like she really knows how to be a true Miss Independent! She also has some great advice for those of you who have been wondering how people who work from home get it all done!
You can find adorable artwork and cards at Flapper Doodle, featuring her signature 1920's flapper girls!
1. What made you decide to start your own business? (what was your biggest factor that helped you commit to the decision)
It was kind of an accident, actually! I posted a doodle on flickr, and someone messaged me to ask if they could buy it. I listed it on etsy, and before I knew it, Flapper Doodle was my full time job. I didn't plan it at all, but I'm so glad it happened.
2. What was your biggest risk or fear about starting a business?
My parents have owned their own mail order business since before I was born, but in the mid 90's sales started falling off and it hasn't picked up since, so they're always struggling to make ends meet. So my biggest fear is knowing this can all disappear in a heartbeat. When you're running your own business, you don't usually have things like a pension or 401K, so if things take a turn for the worse you're sunk. I'm putting money away in savings just in case, and keeping my fingers crossed that there's always a market for my little doodles! It's probably not a wise business decision, but I also don't have any credit cards or take out any loans. I use only the money that Flapper Doodle generates to keep the business running and growing.
3. How did you know what you wanted to do?
Since I was four I knew I wanted to be an "artist" but when I was younger that meant having giant paintings in museums and living in Europe with the other world famous painters. If I had the talent and courage to withstand brutal critics and constant rejection I'd probably still be chasing that dream, but I'm kind of a wimp lol... so I've adapted, and I'm pretty happy with it! Making my living selling my illustrations is definitely a (slightly modified) dream come true :)
4. What support system do you have for your business to help you stay motivated?
My family is SO supportive! My mom helps me with my bridesmaid card orders, my brother helps me pack orders and my dad takes my packages with him to the post office, so I have a great team. They also support me emotionally, too. During the rough patches they listen to me whining, and they provide plenty of high-fives and fist bumps when things are going good! I also have a great tight-knit group of friends online who keep me motivated and are a constant source of inspiration and encouragement!
5. What is your biggest challenge about running your own business?
Motivation. Especially since my studio is actually in my bedroom, it can be oh so tempting to lay down for a while, nap, watch tv or play with my cats when I should be getting work done. The toughest part of being your own boss is making sure your employee gets to work on time and doesn't goof off ;)
6. What is the best advice you have for someone wanting to start a business?
My advice would be to get in the habit of setting a strict schedule for working. Finish at dinner time, and don't go back to work until the next morning. Don't work on Sundays if you don't really have to. I have a problem with this myself, and it's the one thing that I loathe about being self-employed. I sometimes find myself replying to etsy convos at 4 in the morning or ignoring dinner so I can finish up a design project, and I always regret it afterwards. You need to take time to spend with your family and friends or else the dream of being your own boss could end up being a nightmare. If you strike a balance between work and life, though, it can be very fun and very rewarding!
Isn't her work adorable? I'm ready to make about 50 of those custom-made Bridesmaid cards, even though I'm not getting married anytime soon... It's almost like playing with paper dolls again! A big thanks again to Kate over at Scathingly Brilliant and Flapper Doodle!