For full show notes and access to additional resources for this episode, visit: prooftoproduct.com/004
Kristen Ley is the sole owner and founder of Thimblepress, a lifestyle brand that focuses on creating products and experiences that make you smile and want to celebrate life's moments, big and small. Kristen created Thimblepress out of her garage in 2012 and the company has seen tremendous growth since then. She now has a team of 15 full-time and part time employees and the company occupies 7000 square feet that includes 2 brick and mortar retail locations. Kristen’s products are now sold in over 1500 retail stores internationally and she continuing to work with brands to create unique collaboration and partnership opportunities! Kristen attended Tradeshow Bootcamp in 2013, prior to launching to the wholesale market. On today’s episode we’re talking about hiring from within, fostering a team environment, things to consider when entering professional partnerships and how she fell into business backwards.
ON TODAY’S EPISODE:
[01:00] Thimblepress’ story
[02:00] Two ways to start a business: Intentionally or falling in backwards.
[03:00] Naming Thimblpress
[05:30] Making the jump to wholesale & googling what wholesale means.
[08:00] HIring and growing the Thimblpress team & promoting from within.
[12:30] Using partnerships & collaborations to diversify revenue streams
[13:00] Setting clear expectations in partnerships with contracts.
[15:30] Collaborating with Hallmark
[17:00] Negotiating & protecting yourself when big brands want to work with you.
[18:30] Transitions, shifting in business & what she credits her success to.
[23:00] Kristen’s advice on product development and how she gathers new ideas.
[26:00] Thimblepress’ social media tips, planning tools & how far out they schedule their posts.
[33:30] Creating sub-brands to reach different markets
[39:00] Taking a break from trade shows this year.
“I think there's two ways you start a company. You literally fall into it from a hobby or you start with a purpose of wanting to start a company.” - Kristen Ley
“Sometimes our line is very eclectic and just all over the place. Honestly, that's my personality. I used to get really down and out about it. I was like, "Man, I wish I had a more cohesive look to all my products, like Megan Bellannion." I feel like she has a great cohesive look. I sat there one day and I thought, "You know what though? This is totally my personality." I'm wacky, and crazy, and weird. I love lots of color. I love drawing. I love painting. I love trying new things. Truly, this line is my personality come to life.
Because I never wanted to ask for help, but I've learned how to now.” - Kristen Ley
“We're very picky with all of our products and make sure they're the highest of quality standards.” - Kristen Ley
“I never want to stop learning and stop trying to make Thimblepress better. Because I think when you stop, you become complacent.” - Kristen Ley
Running a business can get very uncomfortable at times because you are making tough decisions that play into the longevity of the business, the sustainability of the business. If you’re not feeling a little uncomfortable in whatever you’re doing, then you’re doing something wrong. - Katie Hunt
“Your products need to solve a problem for your customer” -Katie Hunt
“Social media is intended to be social. It is a place to have conversations” -Katie Hunt
“You don’t need to do trade shows to have a successful wholesale line.” - Katie Hunt
“I’ve always done things how I wanted to do it. March to the beat of my own drum and not let the industry decide for me.” -Kristen Ley
Thimblepress for Target (the secret March release she alluded to!)