Alumni Spotlight: Stephanie Turner
We are so excited to talk to Stephanie Turner today for our Creative Founders spotlight! Stephanie is the designer behind Duffy Design Co., and invitation and custom design shop. She is a graduate of our Intensive Program and lives in Michigan. She has always loved design and after getting a degree in the medical field, decided to go after her passion and become a graphic designer. Read more about Stephanie's journey below!
Why did you start your creative business? What was the spark? Tell us your story.
From the time I entered high school as a freshman, I knew I loved to make things pretty. The world around me at that time was dark, scary, uncontrollable and ever changing. But, one thing that remained constant was my love of design. Back then, I don't even think I considered it "graphic design", it was just a part of me that I knew was never going to go away. From scrapbooking, card making, party planning, you name it... I had my hands in it. I wanted to go to college and get a degree in design, but was heavily advised against it. The counselor told me to go into the medical field instead, which I did and hold a degree in. I never stopped designing though and eventually held a job as a graphic designer for a church before opening my own Etsy shop. I opened my shop with a seed of faith and some very cheap prices to get my name out there. My sales started to grow each month, I read every thing I could and I upped my design game by taking courses and learning from tutorials that were game changers. Duffy Design Co was created to inspire people to celebrate life. I believe there is magic in even the most mundane of spaces waiting to be recognized. I don't want to just live life, I want to design it, decorate it and celebrate it!
What has been the highlight of your year?
...can I have two highlights? ha! I would have to say passing 1,000 sales this summer (Whoop!!) and taking the Society for Creative Founders The Intensive course. This course was a game changer in so many ways. I'm an introvert, so logging on each week to a video chat to discuss my thoughts, homework and plans was a little bit intimidating at first. I'm so glad I did it! The amount of information that is given to you is more in-depth than I could find words to explain and there isn't a day that goes by running this business that I don't hear Jennifer saying certain things to me in my head (I mean that in the highest compliment). It's guided me from an Etsy shop owner to an entrepreneur mindset. Etsy shop owners are entrepreneurs, but the course helps you think BIG picture... beyond just Etsy. Because of that, I got my business trademarked, joined my local chamber of commerce, wrote big dreams of having my own online platform and brick and mortar shop. This past year has been such a whirlwind and I'm so blessed and humbled by the SCF community, Jennifer and her coaching and the success of my business so far. I cannot wait to see what 2017 brings!
What has been the hardest decision for you to make in or for your business?
The absolute hardest decision so far is when to quit my full time job. I do work full time currently and my husband is constantly urging me to quit. He's my biggest cheerleader and I'm so blessed that his belief in me is over the top. But, I am a numbers girl and I don't take risks easily. Never take me to a casino... because I will just keep the money and walk right out. :) I'm burning both ends of the candle and I know this isn't sustainable. I also don't want to delegate or hire out, because I'm a control freak. Just keeping it real. I'm planning for some changes in 2017 and hopefully by then I will be able to make a solid decision.
Who or what has inspired you the most from the creative business owner community? From whom do you seek advice?
The Intensive course led me to so many groups and pods of entrepreneurs that I could learn from. First, Jennifer was not only our course instructor and coach, but I consider her a friend in the business who gives solid, results-driven advice. I also met Andie Hemmersmeier (of A.M. Paperie) who was paired with me in the course and she has been a great sounding board as well. Meeting weekly with these talented women on video chats helped me to really connect and develop a relationship with them. I also love the Rising Tide Society Facebook groups and subgroups because I get to see all types of questions, tips or advice that I normally wouldn't get to see so easily. I love seeing the SCF's Instagram's and how much they highlight their alumni. I am truly inspired by the talent that has come through the SCF conferences and where they have grown to.
How do you measure success?
My definition of success is fluid and as I grow older it changes. Ten years ago, I would say money or title. Today, as a Christian woman who strives to find her identity in Christ, not coins, I would say I define success by how I impact people. Yes, I would love a solid paycheck and to be able to design all day with super amazing clients. But, I don't want to just be successful at things that don't matter. Jennifer asks us to imagine ourselves at 80 on the front porch and to ask ourselves "what would we want?". I think for me, I would want everyone to know exactly who I am, who I believe in, and that I had the courage to fulfill my role in God's story. The rest is just extra frosting on the cake.
What’s in your future? Tell us what you have up your sleeve.
Ah! So many things! For this next year, I'm working on designing some physical products (stamps, journals, Luxe paper lines) in addition to my stationery lines. I just joined the chamber of commerce for my city, so lots of networking breakfasts to attend! I am working on my own website and plan to be able to meet with local clients to design custom invitations and stationery pieces.