I’m excited to introduce the next shop in our Etsy feature series, Swanky Press. I think the timing of this feature couldn’t be better! Last week I wrote about my latest craving for colour to combat the winter blahs (read about it here), and this shop definitely fills the need. In addition, Swanky Press has some of the most adorable Valentine’s Day supplies that you and your kids will love, along with much more!
Who’s Behind Swanky Press?
Elizabeth Holliday is married to her college sweetheart, Brad, and has 3 awesome kids. Although she started out her career as an engineer (with degrees in both Nuclear and Environmental engineering), she decided that being a stay-at-home mom was more important after their first baby was born.
Even after being home full time with 3 kids, Elizabeth never grew tired of being a SAHM. She started Swanky Press first and foremost because it was a ton of fun, and it seemed to fit well with her at-home mom lifestyle. Even now, she still works from a home office. This way she can work as much as she needs to (and at crazy hours), but when her kids and family are around, she can shut the office door behind her and head out to spend quality time with them. That flexibility of being at home for them, but still working full time, is something that would be very difficult for her to find back in the traditional work world.
The true start of the business, the “spark” that created it, was when her 7 year old son, Davis, declared that all the stationery she had purchased was “too baby” for him. She really wanted her kids to understand the importance of handwritten thank you cards, but if he felt silly writing on the cards, it was a hard battle to fight. Elizabeth’s very first designs were notecards created to please her own picky kids. From there, she expanded into their birthday party invitations and their family Christmas cards. After a few years of creating for personal use (and some encouraging feedback from friends and family), she decided there might be a market for some of her designs.
Elizabeth’s background as an engineer helped (and so did her slightly obsessive tendencies) as she realized she didn’t just need to learn more about graphic design, but also about selling online. As most mompreneurs know, it’s not enough to just understand your craft, you also have to learn the ins-and-outs of running a small business, websites, marketing, and more. She spent about 2 years with this learning curve, and then built a tiny website and started selling a couple of items here and there to “fund” her new hobby. Just after her 3rd child was born, she decided she was finally ready to dive in and give it a shot as more than a hobby. Elizabeth is paying this learning forward with a blog she co-authors with her husband called ShopGirlMBA, dedicated to the mompreneur and small business owner.
The Etsy Shop
Elizabeth knew Etsy was a good fit for her designs because shoppers there really understand the value of handmade goods. Because she creates her own invitation designs, she can be very flexible with colors and layouts so that each client gets exactly what she needs.
Elizabeth takes her inspiration from her children and those around her. As her own kids have been into motorcycles, art, bumblebees, and gnomes, she has created invitations and stationery in those themes. She has friends who like modern, clean lines (and birds!) and you will see those themes carried throughout her adult designs. Most recently, though, it has been her long term clients who have provided inspiration. She’ll get emails from them asking for ideas for a specific party theme, and then she gets to have fun coming up with ideas for invitations, food, and décor. A lot of these ideas can be found on her Pinterest boards.
Elizabeth also writes a blog, called Simply Swanky, that she started to gather all her party ideas. With 3 kids and a business to run, she realizes that we can be too busy to obsess over every party detail, but we still want to throw fabulous parties. Simply Swanky takes out the mystery, research, and work out of the party planning process by providing ideas, DIY projects and recipes. The idea is that a swanky party doesn’t have to cost a fortune or keep you busy for weeks getting ready. It just takes a little inspiration and a few nudges in the right direction.
At Swanky Press, Elizabeth has expanded her designs past paper printing to include melamine plates, aluminum water bottles, luggage tags and more. She also carries PSA Personalized Stamps.
What does Elizabeth love most about starting Swanky Press?
“I love having a creative business from my home that has really enabled me to be here with my kids, which is where my heart is. I’ve been truly blessed to get to do both at the same time.”
Elizabeth is generously giving away a$50 credit towards merchandise at either her Etsy shop or her website. The winner will have her choice of invitations, melamine plates, personalized stamps, notecards or anything else her little heart desires!
*This giveaway is now closed. Winner is Marissa.
For additional entries:
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Your information is kept strictly confidential and is used for award purposes only. Open to residents of Canada and US (void where prohibited). Contest closes Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 8 pm MST. Winner will be announced on Friday, February 10. If winner does not claim within 48 hours, another name is randomly selected.
I truly admire Elizabeth for having the courage to give up her engineering career and starting a family-friendly business that’s inspired by her kids. Remarkable, wouldn’t you say!
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