“It’s key to have a team of people, instead of one single person doing all the art, business, marketing, booth building, everything. It’s hard to be truly creative if you have all the hats on your one little head.”
Beth Snyder, NSS exhibitor and founder of 1canoe2
I have always wanted to work for myself, and creating a business is the ultimate project. I love to paint, craft, and do lots of creative things, but starting this business and figuring it out has been the most rewarding work so far.
1canoe2 started between myself and a long-time childhood friend, Carrie Shryock. We always did creative stuff together, and when I got a little letterpress for Christmas one year, I asked her to help me draw up a couple of designs to print. We played around, but my undying entrepreneurial spirit shone through, and I urged her to help me start an Etsy shop. The rest is kind of history. We named the company 1canoe2 because we like the spirit of kinship that is embodied with two girls and one canoe.
We came to our first Stationery Show in 2011, and had great success. We originally had 10 wholesale accounts, but after attending NSS, we had no idea that wholesale would take over our whole business. Some of the customers who bought from our tiny 10×6 booth the first year are now great friends of ours in addition to being customers. Being in a booth where we can make personal connections with the show-goers has made all the difference in our business. It’s not like we would have met those people out here on the prairie! I have so many genuinely great friends that we’ve made in the stationery industry. Other designers/manufacturers, shop owners, bloggers. It’s great to have connections with people with whom you have so much in common. And NSS is the grand annual party where we all get to hang out!
Now, I own the company myself and we have a team of people who partner to create artwork, write cards, and grow the business together. My mom has an incredible work ethic, and her competitive spirit is probably the basis for my hustler attitude. We try to be influencers, not be influenced, but we’re inspired by our Midwest surroundings and find joy in the little things. If I could offer advice to others who are looking to be a part of this industry, I would say be as unique as possible. There are so many great ideas that are yet to be discovered. The only way to truly get ahead is to have a unique look. It’s key to have a team of people, instead of one single person doing all the art, business, marketing, booth building, everything. It’s hard to be truly creative if you have all the hats on your one little head. As for creativity, it comes with practice. You have to practice it every day. I’m so honored to have a team of brilliant people who want to work for 1canoe2. People are everything.