Featured Designing Moms: Little Korboose

by Cat on November 9, 2010

How did you go from doodling as a child to making it into a business?
Art and design have always been extremely important to me and my family has always supported my strong interest in art ever since I was a child. It seemed like I had a drawing tool of some kind in my hand at all times when I was younger and that is still the case today. I actually used to make my mother drive me around from grocery store to grocery store looking for coloring contests to enter which I was sure I could win…the support of my family helped me to believe I could do anything I put my mind to! So it was only natural that my interest in art and design grew over the years through grade school, then high school, until I eventually got to college (Kent State University). When I arrived there was no question in my mind or anyone else’s for that matter, if I would select a major that focused on the arts. I found the Visual Communication Design (graphic design) program and was instantly hooked! I very much enjoyed the technology and communication aspect of this degree in combination with the arts. At Kent I focused on Swiss design and typography as well as corporate identity illustration and interactive design. Having a career in graphic design seemed like it would be a perfect fit and it was! I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Upon graduating from Kent State University with a BFA in Visual Communication Design and a minor in advertising, I took a position with American Greetings which was head quartered in my home town of Cleveland Ohio. Over the next several years I gained knowledge about the social expressions industry and consumer behavior insights, as well as a thorough understanding of all printing techniques and finishing operations. I traveled nationally and internationally conducting trend research as well. At a certain point I wanted to try running my own business with products focused around my own vision, and so I started Little Korboose: a design and illustration shop whose collections reflect modern and eco-friendly products. Reminiscent of childhood, these collections range from unique screen-printed tees for tots, to recycled note cards to picnic-friendly melamine plates, bowls and trays. The sophistication of clean, simple lines and minimalist design, inspire a wide selection of baby, toddler and home decor goods. Little Korboose creates unique and beautiful spaces for both children and homes. So far the results of starting my own business have been incredible!

Inspiration behind your little characters?

Many of my characters have been inspired by certain things that I enjoyed when I was a child myself. Bicycles, ice cream, kitties. All of which I still enjoy today…I am definitely a kid at heart! I try to bring a little personality to each character by implementing a quirky smile or facial expression. It’s important to me that the consumer feels that the character has life and a personality!

Describe a day in your life at your studio?
If it were a day that I was solely working on Little Korboose this is what it would be…  In the morning I fill orders from the previous day and get those ready to ship out. I usually catch up on all email and phone correspondence by the afternoon and make sure my inventory is current in the books and on etsy. This is SO important to anyone who is thinking about starting their own business. Document and organize everything. All receipts from orders, materials, sales, etc. It will help you to know the value of your business and understand why it is failing or succeeding. By this time I am ready to ship out the previous day’s orders and if I can carry everything, I usually ride my bike to the shipping facility. When I am through shipping and back at the studio I get to making! I either start screen printing, sewing + stuffing pillows, drawing new designs…you name it. Having a healthy stock is also very crucial. The next large wholesale order could be right around the corner. I always like to have plenty of stock for craft shows and exhibits as well. I usually create and make into the night as I feel much more creatively charged at that time.
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Erika {Delphine} November 12, 2010 at 9:22 am

Welcome to Mom Inc., April. So happy to *meet* you! Your job at American Greetings sounds so fun (especially the trend research travel bit). I’ve never heard the stationery biz referred to as the “social expressions industry.” Make me giggle a bit on this gloomy morning. Love all the work you’re doing now. Isn’t is so fun being your own boss?
-Erika {Delphine}


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