Monday, October 20, 2008

Marketplace Mavens: Hannah Breshears of Red Tandem Studio

note: Marketplace Mavens is a weekly column highlighting the spectacular talent of women entrepreneurs.  Whether they are hobbyists, full-powered business owners, or somewhere in between, these ladies are sure to inspire you to venture into the marketplace yourself!

I had the privilege of recently sitting down over a cup of coffee (well, I had tea) with Hannah of Red Tandem Studio, and am very excited to showcase her business as this week's Marketplace Maven.

Hannah specializes in graphic design and letterpress, creating custom imaging, stationery and invitations for her clients.  It is easy to see why she is successful--her designs are great!  They have a mix of whimsy and sophistication all rolled into one (especially her signature tandem bicycles).  

After leaving a full-time job with a local newspaper to pursue her own business, Hannah shared with me some of the in's and out's of operating your own business.  Here are some of the best tips I tucked away from our conversation:
*  When taking a leap into your business, be prepared to continue working a "conventional" job while your venture is still young. Hannah, for instance, works part-time so that she can continue earning but still have time to pursue her new business.

*  Word of mouth is a gold mine for any business.  The majority of Hannah's customers find her via word of mouth--she hasn't even had to pay for advertising yet!  In other words, relationships and good customer service mean everything!

*  Eventually you have to get into the nitty-gritty-business-stuff, like taxes, licensing, etc.  I got an education about sales tax just in the short time I talked with Hannah, which means that she's done her homework.  Mavens don't let the technical aspects of operating a business hold them back--rather, they dive in and learn as they go.

*  Sometimes small is best.  Contrary to the "bigger is better" mantra that is preached in business circles, small can be a good goal.  Hannah wants her business to grow--but not too much.  In other words, like many Mavens out there, she wants to find enough financial reward in her creative talents to support a flexible, family-friendly lifestyle, but isn't interested in building an empire.  

As with all the Mavens who are featured on this blog weekly, Hannah values the support and encouragement of friends, family, and women like you.  So please take a few minutes to visit her website (click here), her online stores (click here and here), and her blog (click here).  Know a friend who is getting married and in the market for beautifully designed custom invitations?  Pass on Red Tandem Studio to her!  Or consider sending Hannah an email to thank her for being a Marketplace role-model!

Have you missed previous mavens?  Then check out these ladies:
Interested in reading about more Marketplace Mavens in the weeks to come?  Then don't forget to subscribe to this blog to receive automatic updates!  (click here to learn more)

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