This is the third in a series of interviews with smart people who are crafting a business. Part friendly chat, part case-study, all helpfulness!
If you know someone I should interview (even you!) let me know.
Today I'm talking to Lindsay of Simon and Ruby, a shop full of gorgeous, handmade jewelry. I was inspired to interview Lindsay after learning she gives freely and generously.
I noticed (right away!) that you give 5% of every purchase to World Vision. I love that! Can you tell us more about why?
I’ve been involved with World Vision in various ways since 1996 or so. Consistently, this support began before I created Simon and Ruby, but I wanted to make sure that I had the means to continue to contribute to an organization that stole my heart.
My husband and I began supporting a little boy from Haiti (who is now not so little) back in 2004. His name is Blondeng and he just turned 16 years old in May. We’ve written back and forth with him for the entire time we’ve been married and we always joke that maybe one day he’ll come visit.
By using proceeds from Simon and Ruby to continue this support, we’ve also been able to give to others in our private lives as well. For a long time, I wanted to go work for World Vision. I truly believe in what they do in communities and would love to be a part of that.
To be involved, even on a small scale, is a huge pleasure for me.
Just to give a little background, World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities providing emergency and hunger relief, long-term community development programs, agricultural development assistance and leadership training. Check them out at: http://www.worldvision.org
I just recently read a quote that said, “Generous people have more to give”. Do you think this is true? How has it been true in your life?
Gosh, I’d love to have more to give than I currently do. I think that if you have a generous heart, you find ways to give, even if you don’t have the financial means. You give your time, your ear, and your energy.
I have a close friend that completely exemplifies this phrase. She’s a consistent inspiration in this regard. She opens her home, her heart, and gives more time and compassion than you can imagine. I think that if you really want to give back, you’ll find a way. Life has this funny way of working out so that you can.
I love your little descriptions about the people you've named the item after (“Rayen learned to do the hula last summer.”) Are these real people? Imaginary people?
The people in my life inspire some of my pieces and anecdotes, but many come from books I read, songs I listen to, or movies that I watch. I’m an avid reader and adore watching movies. Much of my inspiration comes from these.
Does the person inspire you first? Or do you make the item and then name it?
Most of the time, I begin with a color scheme or vague impression of what a character would wear and the design forms from there. I take the inspiration, but the name usually doesn’t come until later. Sometimes I’ll make a piece and look at it later and a friend immediately comes to mind. Then it becomes her necklace.
When I was little, I wanted to be a writer, so the anecdotes that accompany my pieces give me the chance to let out that 12 year old version of myself every once in a while. I’m no Carolyn Keene, so I’ll stick to the basics.
One of the most common questions I get is “How do you manage all the tasks involved in a business? How do you organize your time?” So…how do you?
Hahaha. Time management. I like to think I’m pretty good at it. You have to be. Juggle a full time job, a full time creative passion, your home life, and a few hobbies… you have to become good at it. Otherwise you’ll end up letting something slide. I’m not willing to do that. Each week, I take a look at what needs to be done and make my list. I love making lists. And more than that, I love checking things off my list. Then, I wake up each morning and form a game plan for that day. I’m still learning that sometimes what I think will take an hour actually takes two. Or that phone call in the middle sometimes sets me back a bit. Life finds a way of fitting itself in the cracks. Some days are better than others, luckily I have some very understanding, patient friends and family. One day, I’ll be able to pursue my creative life full time. I imagine my intense schedule won’t be left behind, but at least I won’t have the commute!
If you enjoyed this interview, let Lindsay know! She's @simonandruby on Twitter.
My favorite bits of Lindsay-wisdom:
- “I think that if you have a generous heart, you find ways to give, even if you don’t have the financial means. You give your time, your ear, and your energy.”
- “Life finds a way of fitting itself in the cracks.”
You can support World Vision by shopping with Lindsay or (and!) you can support Pancreatic Cancer research by shopping with any of the generous crafters in Kim Werker's Pancreatic Craftacular (even if you don't plan on shopping, read Kim's story, it's powerful.)
Generosity is hard, especially when your energy is focused on just paying the bills. But I'd like to invite you to join me in challenging ourselves to generosity.
What can you give? What would really stretch you (and your biz)?