I have known about Sally since almost the beginning of her career. I discovered her at a time when I was starting get back into creating (mainly sewing) myself. Sally’s husband suggested she take a sewing class being offered at the Columbia Museum of Art. One class ignited a passion which eventually turned into a career allowing Sally to transition to working for herself full-time.
I approached this interview wanting to know more about the business side of Nana by Sally
On Expanding and Simplifying
Sally is known for making colorful, eclectic purses. She has retired some styles but continues to keep different items at several price points to cater to all customers.
Most recently, she has started to make all leather bags. For Sally, starting to work with leather was a natural progression. The response has been positive resulting in almost having a new company.
(photo taken from Nana by Sally Facebook Page)
(photo taken from Nany by Sally Facebook Page)
Being Self-Taught (This was more of a personal question. I constantly struggle with self-validation)
I asked If she ever felt any intimidation due to not having formal training and without hesitation she said no. Sally feels anyone can do anything. She states we are moving towards a DIY era. Hobbies are starting to become businesses. Listen to your customers. Let them help dictate (to a certain point) what you should and shouldn’t be making. From there, focus on doing one thing (or skill) and doing it well. Sally explained she is obsessive by nature, and has put in as much time as anyone who may or may not have had formal training therefore she is confident in the product she is creating.
Tips and Tricks Learned Along The Way
Give yourself realistic time (ex. 1 hour) to get something accomplished and stick to it. Time management is crucial. (side note: Like myself, Sally has two younger children (girls). Time management is something I have to work on everyday. To make sure nothing was rushed we split the interview into two: first at Soda City and the next part at her studio.)
Sally worked on cutting out leather pieces while I asked questions and snapped away. And my “assistants” were with me gleefully occupied with snacks and toys. Nana studio is a kid-friendly studio!
Commit yourself to doing something that will help get your name out to the public. For Sally, it’s participating in Soda City, a weekly local farmers market. Sally can be seen there almost every Saturday. This has helped create personal relationships with her customers resulting in continued motivation to work. To Sally, her customer interaction is one of the most important aspects of her business. While she may sell nationally, it’s her loyal fan base in Columbia and surrounding areas which have helped her business grow; which is why there is always an open door policy at her home studio. There are visitors on a daily basis.
A loyal customer stopped by and picked up their custom made cross-body bag.