We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandy Shannon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandy, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
There were a few different factors that led to me decision to start my own business. First, I was not a 9-to-5 gal. I didn’t like being managed and found being stuck inside an office cubicle all day mentally draining. Second, I knew when I had kids I didn’t want to be working out of the home, and wanted something that would bring passion and purpose while also allowing me to be with my kids. But I think the most important factor in starting your business is identifying a hole in the market or a need that hasn’t been fulfilled. For me, it was the experience of picking out my wedding invitations. I walked into this local paperie and as I flipped through the “books” of design options, I thought, “This can’t be all there is, right?”. I loved planning my wedding (particularly the paper goods), and wanted to make wedding stationery a key component in the decor + overall creative story for other couples as well.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I didn’t go to art school, and instead came back to graphic design after working in marketing and production and feeling unfulfilled. But what I lacked in formal education I made up for in passion + drive. I signed up for online design courses and just kept working constantly on my computer to improve my skills. I also was willing to sacrifice knowing it would pay off in the end. I spent so much time on my business in the beginning, that I didn’t have as much time for friends + family, or just sitting on the couch watching TV. But my hope was that if I put in the time now, having my own business would allow me more flexibility than I could dream of in the future. And I was right!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I moved here just three years ago from the east coast, so I don’t have as much knowledge as a native Angeleno! But I love living here so much, and spend a lot of time exploring and researching places. My friends from the area joke that I am the one they come to for restaurant recommendations! The first stop is Zuma Beach, because driving up the PCH is like nothing else. Next we’d do The Griffith Observatory and a hike where you can see the Hollywood sign. I’d take them to the Arts District for lunch at Guerrilla Tacos + that gritty art experience. For a day of peace + natural beauty, we’d tour Huntington Gardens then get authentic Chinese food at Chengdu Taste in Alhambra. I could go on and on, but the beauty of LA is that there’s something for everyone!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I was first starting out, my first act of building was to write handwritten notes to local wedding professionals. I got a response from one wedding planner who said my taking the time to write an actual note really struck her, and that planner was Amy from Amy Champagne Events. She was “new on the scene” as well, and we decided to work on a styled shoot together. That led to meeting Brooke Sforza of Brooke Allison Photo, and we ended up sharing a studio space together. Meeting them showed me that great things were possible, and having the energy of other passionate + driven women was a game-changer. I credit their friendships with teaching me that even when you’re a business of one, there is no success without a community around you.
Photos 1, 2, 4 + 5: Peterson Design Photo Photo 3: TBM Photo Photo 6: Jessica Haley Photo Photo 7: Julie Shuford Photography Photo 8: Monica Linda Photography