Whether it’s building a website, developing jewelry designs, or creating paper and stationery products for her shop, Allison Biggs does it all with creativity, style, and passion. She started her first business, Midnight Firefly in 2004, creating gorgeous handmade and limited edition jewelry. In the last three years, her style and skill in jewelry design has grown significantly, to a point where she has finally felt like she has come into my own. She is also a freelance graphic designer who enjoys working with other small-business entrepreneurs in a variety of web, print, and media design projects. From her interest in design and a love of paper products, she began designing stationery products which are available at her Etsy shop.
Combining Her Background with Business
“I have a bachelors degree in graphic design. This has helped me with my graphic design business, and paper/stationery, but it also helped a lot with my jewelry design business as well. I believe all the same principals and aesthetics apply themselves to jewelry design, but in a three dimensional way. It helps immensely to be able to do my own branding, websites, and business cards."
A Balancing Act
“I work part time as a graphic designer at a local newspaper, but I still consider working on my businesses as a full time job. Balancing time can be tricky. When you work for yourself, sometimes you feel guilty if you’re not spending every single minute doing something related to your business. There are some points when you just need to walk away and make a conscious decision to take care of yourself, because in the long run, you’ll get much farther.”
Believing in Your Business and in Yourself
“I think that most challenging part of starting your own business is believing in yourself and your ideas. When you start your own business, a lot of people will make you doubt yourself. As long as you believe that you can succeed, and use that belief to build and better your business, there’s not really much that can stop you!”
“For Midnight Firefly, I’ve sent out press releases to highlight different events in the business, such as our donation to the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. This was picked up by a local paper that did a story on the business. For my paper/stationery design, I was able to participate in the media only portion of The Sampler, where they send separate samples to different media contacts.”
“Promo swaps and swag bags are a great way to get your product out to people, just make sure to pick the right venue! Also, there are many online blogs that are very affordable for the amount of exposure they give you.”
“Gaining exposure. Advertising, no matter how big you get is a continuous task. Even if you reach hundreds of people, there are still billions more out there who have never heard of you, and you have to convince them that they need what you have.”
“Knowing that I don’t want to live an ordinary life. Having goals and a purpose constantly keep me moving. And nothing is a better motivator than a small taste of success.”
Recommended Business Resources
“The Switchboards have been an invaluable resource since they day it began. I also recommend reading Guerrilla Marketing. Not everything is 100% applicable for every business, but it gets you thinking about your marketing strategy in an entirely different way. If you’re a woman in need of some business inspiration, defiantly visit Another Girl At Play. It will get you out of a funk when the road ahead seems more than daunting.”
“I take a lot of my inspiration from nature and fine art. Depending on what I’m working on, my inspiration can come from the materials themselves. I love to let my imagination run wild and see what happens. My ideas hardly ever end up the way they began, but that’s one of the things I enjoy the most!”
Words of Advice-Be True
“As an artist, I’ve found that nothing is more important than being true to your ideas. Once you start designing because you think something is trendy or in style, the magic and soul of your creativity is lost, and so is the joy of the process.”