Tell us your bold boss story!
I have always known that I was a crafty lady at heart, but didn’t realize how much it defined me until a friend at work asked me about my favorite job. I didn’t even hesitate on my answer - I told her it had been when I was a candle maker in high school and college. I would go to work in sweats with my hair pulled up in a messy bun, then design, pour and finish hundreds of candles during the course of the day. At the end of my shift I would survey the candles standing proudly on the table before me. Nothing was better than seeing all of that hard work pay off in such a creative and tangible way. I still get butterflies when I think about it and that job was 16 years ago.
And yet there I was talking with my friend, standing in business attire with over a decade of marketing under my career belt. That is when it dawned on me. If I was being really honest with myself, I knew that I didn’t want to settle for a lifetime of office work in front of a computer when a messy (but organized!) studio was where I was happiest. So, in 2013, I decided to start Create with Coco, a lifestyle design studio based out of Bellingham, WA in the Pacific Northwest.
The first few years were slow going, mostly because I was nervous about making mistakes, lacked confidence, and was juggling a full-time marketing job while trying to launch my business. But, over time, I became more comfortable with the concept of me as an artist and boss and started investing in my dream. I forced myself out of my comfort zone, set some serious goals for my future and worked towards them one step at a time, and found that the more I believed in my business the more that other people did, too. This past year has been amazing in terms of learning the ropes of a small business owner. While I am still a marketer by day, I know that I am on my way to a lifetime of making things in my studio, which is a pretty incredible feeling.
We're all about bold boss moments, tell us about one of yours!
A defining bold boss moment for me was when I stopped thinking of my passions as a hobby and gave myself permission to recognize them as my career. Shifting my mindset changed everything. I started to hold myself accountable to a higher standard for my work and my goals. I became more confident in my choices and tried things that I never would have explored before, such as approaching local businesses about pop-up shops, consigning with regional boutiques, hosting booths at markets, and taking on commission work. I also started researching other business owners and networking with my peers. While I had been a registered business for years, it was at that moment that my business was truly born.
What advice or words of encouragement do you have for the Bold Boss Tribe?
Every step counts, no matter how small it may seem. On those days where you feel overwhelmed or disappointed with your progress, pause, and look back on where you were a month ago, a year ago, five years ago. More often than not, you will be amazed at what you have achieved. Each day that you work towards your dream is a success and you should be proud of yourself for that. It’s during each of those small steps (and not at the finish line) where you grow as a person, a business owner, and an artist. And, on the days when things don’t go as planned, maniacal laughter never hurts.