The last month or so, I’ve had the opportunity to share interviews with some amazing businesswomen – Taylor Brown of the Styled Press, Lex Daddio of Restoring Radiance and Morgan from construction2style to name a few! Each interview has been so fun so I hope you check them all out!
Today is a spitfire of a woman that I’ve personally had the pleasure to collaborate with! I can’t remember where we initially met (#babybrain) but I had the opportunity to speak at one of her Merry Hour events. That solidified that I love what this girl is doing in the world. She brings joy and laughter to everyone she meets and is someone who truly understands the meaning of collaboration. I can’t wait for you to meet Sara Schultz!
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself (family, work, etc).
Hello friends and future friends!! My name is Sara and I love doing stuff I love; from a 2+ year trip around the world just for fun to running a handful of small businesses to cheering others on, I’m always finding ways to live a fun and energetic life that truly fuels my happiness tank. I’m 5 years married to a fellow Libra, which makes for an everyday adventure. We just purchased a triplex that we’re renovating; we’ll rent out the up and downstairs units and live on the main floor unit. We’ve talked for years about owning a rental property; it’s an exciting and scary realization!
I‘m a corporate dropout who loved the structure and opportunities provided by a Fortune 100 enterprize, but always had my eye on doing my own thing. When I was a kid, I dreamed up ‘Studio 13’ and imagined what my brand would look like and how I would run my business. I don’t even remember what Studio 13 was supposed to be? An interior design studio?
I’m always trying something new and love to learn. I don’t read directions and appreciate a trial-and-error process (with lots of errors!). I have more projects started than finished, and that’s ok with me. I’ve always had big dreams and lofty goals, and I practice self-forgiveness to learn and move on from my inevitable mistakes.
I love to laugh. Like, really loud. I think life should be fun, and if it’s not, it should be changed. I am happy. I’m not afraid to share my opinion. And I really love meetingnew people. Being in a crowd gives me energy! If we haven’t met, I would love to hear more about YOU!
2. How did your business get started?
My business evolved slowly: while I was in corporate, I designed my wedding stationery and proudly displayed it at my cube. To this day, it’s still my favorite paper project! I’ve never spent more hours on anything. EVER. Coworkers started inquiring if they could hire me to make their paper goods. If something was grander than I’d ever done before, I said YES anyway and figured it out. By the time I had left my job to travel full time, I had a steady stream of clients wanting design help.
While traveling, I launched my website, saraschultz.co, as a place to display my work. As we were traveling for fun full time, I had plenty of down time to work on projects from wherever we were. At that point, I was still designing mostly stationery goods, which logistically was utterly insane. I’m VERY thankful for my parents for helping. One day, remind me to tell you about the 40 custom holiday card orders I designed from obscure islands in the Philippines. Sounds like a dream until you’re up all night every night troubleshooting with spotty wifi.
As we prepared to come back to the States ‘for good,’ I was confident I could make it full time and was excited to try running a design business as my sole source of income. My stationery clients started calling for branding for their small businesses and big dreams, I’ve shifted my focus to branding and rebranding businesses and bloggers who want to captivate and capture their ideal consumer, creating a business + life my clients desire (AND DESERVE) to achieve.
Before we got back, I was feeling super lonely on the business front and had SO MANY QUESTIONS about running a business. Taxes? Web platforms? To blog or not to blog? LLCing? Quickbooks? Leveraging social for business?… it was so confusing and overwhelming. I knew I wanted a community that could help navigate these waters, be inspirational and supportive, and a safe place for women to show up with their A-game but be A-OK and accepted wherever they were in life, business, mommyhood, WHATEVER. Et Voila! The Merry Hour was born as a selfish way for me to find some love. Apparently, lots of others needed it, too, because we’ve hosted about a dozen events with some exciting growth plans, too! I have a business partner for the Merry Hour, Rachel Seifert of Rachabella Photography, and it’s super fun to work closely, brainstorm, and share workload with a badass soul like Rach.
Almost there, folks… you with me?! ThisFem launched in February 2017 as a place for men and women to express their unabashed belief in equality. There, we sell both a MN and MI unique design (I’m from MN, my husband is a Michigander!) that we’re super proud of. It takes a second for people to get, and I really like that. I struggle understanding why the necessity of equality is still a core conversation in 2018. I also do not think equality of any form should be a political conversation; it’s simply about humanity! So, we’re charging on to share that Feminist isn’t an F word and that equality is a no-brainer. When people tell me: “I’m not a feminist, but I love what you’re doing.” I reply with the simple: “Do you think men and women should be treated equally?”
“Well, SURPRISE! You’re a feminist, then! That’s all it is… a belief in equality!”
I could go on and on, but ThisFem is here to help shift the negative connotations of ‘Feminist’, encourage open and productive conversations around equality of ALL forms, and share the massage that we’re better, together. And, we give 10% or proceeds back to organizations in our community that promote equality, too. We’ve supported organizations including the local Planned Parenthood chapter, The Her Initiative, Dress for Success Twin Cities, and The Trevor Project. It’s a passion project and my side-hustle, but I love it!
3. What is your favorite part about having your own business?
I get to steer the ship and decide what to take and what to leave. I choose how to define my success (hint, it’s not associated with a dollar sign, although I do have financial goals). I get to make the rules. I’ve loved watching my three businesses evolve and I love the balancing act of all three. I get to play creative director for all three brands, which is what I love and where I soar, and then partner on or hire out the things I don’t dig doing. I’ve met a ridiculous amount of INCREDIBLE women since pouring my time and energy into my businesses full time. I love to share what I know and also ask a ton of questions of others.
4. What does community over competition mean to you?
I think it’s super simple: we’re better, together. So let’s just work hard and have fun!!
Here’s the thing about community over competition that I think gets confused: this doesn’t mean we’re all meant to be BFFs. I am not for everyone. You are not for everyone. We all have our strengths and quirks and special magic that make us so amazingly us. So, when you see someone doing something similar to what you want to do, make, sell, share, etc., and you feel that pang of jealousy, or fear, or self doubt, or impostor syndrome, pause and remind yourself: you can still cheer for that person AND succeed, too. These things aren’t mutually exclusive. And if cheering for them is tough, bc maybe they aren’t you’re person, THAT’S OK! Just realize, you can still be successful! Don’t focus on them, focus on you. Then go kick ass and encourage other women (ESPECIALLY other women!) to do the same.
5. What have been some of your most favorite collaborations to date?
For the Merry Hour, we work with some super talented people. The food for our Birthday Bash was curated by So Happy You Liked It. She partnered with so many amazing local business owners and foodies to make a tasty spread. I’m also a huge sucker for Lindsay Kummet’s balloon installs. She did a killer rainbow install for ThisFem at PRIDE this year that I LOVED.
6. How do you feel collaborations have helped your business?
In SO MANY WAYS. Collaborating gets the creative juices flowing. Working in a group is way better than alone, especially when strategically bringing amazing, specific, and purposeful people together. The finished product is always stronger. Better, together… it’s a real thing!
7. What are ways someone could get started with collaborations?
Simple: START ASKING TO COLLABORATE. I was so nervous the first time I asked for sponsorship donations for our first Merry Hour I avoided it until I finished my 2nd glass of rose. I quickly realized the power of collaborations, and now the rose is just for fun! I’m always cognizant that every party benefits, and I assess collabs I’m asked to participate in the same way; is the value mutually beneficial? Does it help me achieve my goals? Yes? Then YES! I’m in!!
8. Who are people you feel are killing it in the collaboration side of business?
I work from ModernWell a few days a week and I super appreciate the brands and businesses they partner with and share with the community. I had a meeting the other day and and a lovely Chow Girls Killer Catering spread was there for our enjoyment! What a lovely way to feed members + encourage and remind a group of business women to call Chow Girls to cater their next event.
9. What’s something we need to know about you (anything random, fun, etc)?
Hmmm… well, I’m a super good parallel parker. I want numerous houses to host epic parties and house friends and family for work and play (lip sync battle on a SE Asian beach, anyone!?). I have super weird thumbs. I’m way cooler in my thirties than I was in my twenties (I’m so happy for aging and learned wisdom… and look forward for more lessons to come!). I don’t think I’ll ever ‘make it,’ because when I’m ‘THERE,’ I’ll have a whole new round of aspirations. So, I plan to enjoy the crazy, wild, exhilarating ride. I’m an open book, I could go on and on!!
10. How can we find you? (website, social handles, etc)
Find me all the places!
www.saraschultz.co | IG + FB @saraschultzdotco
www.thisfem.co | IG + FB @thisfem
www.merryhour.co | IG + FB @themerryhour
Thanks, Sara, for joining in on the fun!