Christina is a powerhouse of imagination and creation. Her Etsy store literally stopped my in my tracks with my mouth open as I gawked at her beautiful (and bright!) jewellery and purses. I like bold, statement stuff and so I was pretty excited when she graciously agreed to be interviewed. I am so excited to share Christina’s rise to self-made business woman as she transitioned from architectural graduate to style icon.
Can you take us on the journey of your creative career path so far?
I began Boo and Boo Factory as a way to make some extra money to pay for architecture school.
Supplies, models and computers can get expensive so any extra income was welcome. I continued to craft on the side all throughout architecture graduate school.
I began to notice that my shop was growing very quickly and due to my heavy school schedule, had to start declining work and projects for Boo in order to keep me focused on my studies.
After I had completed my thesis in 2012, I decided to pursue Boo and Boo Factory full time instead of going back to work in architecture
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far in your business?
The largest challenge for me is how to find balance between designing, making and many of the other tasks of running a business.
Since I am a one woman shop I tackle many elements daily that a larger business would outsource.
I source my own supplies, work with retail shops as well as manage wholesale, I do my own taxes, accounting and book keeping, inventory, design and upkeep my website, answer emails, network, market and all of this on top of designing and hand making each piece.
It can be really tricky trying to do it all and it never seems like there’s enough time in the day
What has been the biggest ‘fist-pump’/successful moment for you so far?
My biggest successful moment was when Etsy had their first pop up shop in Soho during the holidays and they asked me to be a featured maker there.
They flew me out to New York and set up a work area for me to meet customers and sell my goods.
It really was one of the most amazing experiences.
Do you ever have doubts as to your future creative direction? Are there things you yearn to achieve, but haven’t yet found the time for?
I don’t have any doubts as to my future creative direction.
Every day I learn something new in regards to business and I’m constantly trying to learn new techniques to help me push my product lines and experiment with new designs.
As I had mentioned previously, time is always an issue.
I always feel like I don’t have enough time for one thing or another, I just try to do my best.
Are there times when your creativity and inspiration seem to disappear? How do you handle that?
Every now and then I go through creative slumps.
I think that’s something that all creatives can relate to. If I feel stuck, I go outside for a walk, go to a different part of the city I don’t usually go to or sit at Lake Michigan.
I find that ruts hit me when I’m swamped with work and tired. So taking a break and seeing something new usually does the trick to spark creativity.
You have to learn to take time for yourself and your well-being because if you don’t your business can suffer.
How do you balance your work with the rest of your life ~ what does a typical day in your life look like?
Every day is a little bit different and depends on how many open orders I have. If I have a rush of orders I spend the whole day making and then try to package and ship at night.
If I don’t have too many orders, I use that time to make new products, photograph and list them in my shop. Usual business tasks are also spread out depending on my work load.
Working for your self is way more work than working for someone else.
I work 7 days a week sometime from 8 to 14 hours a day.
I love it and don’t mind putting in those hours.
I am so grateful that I am able to do something I truly love for a living. It is really one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced.
What has been the best marketing move you’ve ever made for your own business?
Instagram has been the best marketing tool for my shop!
I started it only a year ago and love it! I meet other creatives and network with people all around the world on a daily basis. I also receive most of my wholesale orders as well as fun custom orders through Instagram.
The other thing I like about Instagram is the instant feedback you receive on products.
Whenever I’m working on a new design I’ll put up progress shots all the way up to the finished design and receive feedback on all stages of the work.
It’s so helpful and is a really fun way to try something new that you maybe wouldn’t have done before.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give fellow makers about running a successful creative business?
I think that a lot of creatives try to learn everything there is about business before they open their shops.
The truth is you won’t be able to learn everything and it doesn’t have to be perfect when you open.
You’ll learn as you go through experience and you never stop learning.
Of course it is very important to research before you begin but it’s also very important to take the leap and get your products out there for the world to see.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself in 5 years in a dedicated studio space outside of my home with employees!
It would be so amazing to hire help for the business side so I can spend more time designing and making pieces.