Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Meet Savvy Speaker Whitney English Kolb

Welcome to the Savvy blog Whitney!
We think of you as a huge celebrity in the stationery world and I can't believe we are lucky enough to have you as a speaker at the Savvy 2012 Workshop in Alys Beach!

Thank you so much, Marsha! I cannot tell you how THRILLED I am about being able to share with the attendees at the Savvy Workshop!

You have built a brand that is adored by many and after meeting you at the Savvy 2010 workshop in St Michaels, we were thrilled to get to know the person behind the brand. So many of us are still searching for our style and waiting to built a brand based on what we discover.

Can you tell you how you came to find the style behind  your brand?

Style is all about what fires you up, but the backbone of a really strong brand is purpose. It was hard for me to define my visual style without first defining my WHY, and the reasons behind why I do what I do, as a mother, a designer, and an entrepreneur.

Can you give us a quick recap of how you became a stationery designer~

Sure! When I was fifteen years old, I started working at a local stationery store in Oklahoma City. I continued to work there through the summers, weekends, high school, and college, and eventually returned after a short career stint in Dallas and kept working at the store full time. After eight years of retail stationery experience, and tons of custom projects through clients at the store, I started branching out into wholesale imprintable stationery in 2002. Over the past decade, it's been a fascinating journey to watch the evolution of printing technology start to merge the worlds of photography and stationery with digital photo cards--which are now one of my favorite things to design.

We'd love to hear more about the recent Stationery Academy 2012 did you come up with the idea?

I've always loved sharing my experiences in business with others, but never really knew how to create a format and platform to support that passion. The Stationery Academy turned out to be the perfect avenue to share those experiences, as well as create an entirely new experience for the attendees. I classify myself as a conference junkie, and I love traveling and meeting other creative entrepreneurs, so even though hosting the Stationery Academy is a lot of work, it's very rewarding to my heart and spirit.

What did the attendees seem to love most about the Academy?

I think the thing that surprises attendees most about the Stationery Academy is that they come expecting to learn about stationery, and they leave learning about the heart of their businesses, and how to create a sustainable and profitable structure to put around their dreams. They learn how to define who they are, and what drives them, and they go through exercises that help pull out their dreams, face their fears, and create a strategic plan for moving forward.

What did you love most being a speaker at the Stationery Academy?

I absolutely love learning about each of the attendees. I love hearing their stories, I love listening to their dreams, and I love encouraging them to face fears, take leaps, and learning to love that feeling of flying--even if it's by the seat of their pants! I love the connections and community that are created when a group of talented, brave, creative women come together for a few days, and find the courage to kick dreams into high-gear.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a women entrepreneur running a successful company while being a mom to two (soon-to-be three) little ones?

The new little one is officially here! Charlton Ann arrived last Wednesday, and I am so grateful to have her here! It's safe to say that having three little ones to manage is a full time job. Juggling the doctor's appointments alone makes me feel like a full time personal assistant to three little executives! Honestly though, I think the hardest part about being an entrepreneur and a mom at the same time is facing the fact that I CANNOT do it all--and that I HAVE to say no to things sometimes. I've had to learn how to recognize and value opportunities differently, and I've had to find the courage to say no, and focus on opportunities that generate the most value for my brand. It's hard to say no--you feel like you're hurting people's feelings, or you're missing out. I've had to learn to remind myself that I'd rather miss out on those opportunities than miss out on my children's childhood.

What advice would you give moms trying to balance it all?

Don't try to balance it all! Balance what MATTERS. Put first things first. Know your priorities. Start at the top of that list every day. Realize that it won't ALL get done, but what MATTERS will get done. After that, learn to forgive yourself, quickly and easily. Ask for help when you need it. Don't be afraid to use your network. If you don't have a network, build one--quickly! The quickest way to build a support community is to attend a workshop or conference like the Savvy Workshop. If you haven't signed up yet, do it TODAY!

We are so excited you will be teaching at the Savvy workshop! Can you give us a summary of what you will be teaching us at Alys Beach?

I'm going to be talking about facing fears, acknowledging your dreams, defining your purpose, and then building a sustainable strategic plan that will lead to a profitable business--both in financials and in flexibility! I'll also be happy to meet with attendees to do a quick brand critique, if they want to bring samples of their current collateral.

What is the most important thing you hope the girls will incorporate into their business after attending the workshop?

The most important thing anyone can define is their purpose, their mission, their vision, their WHY. I'm going to be talking about this at the workshop a lot--and asking the attendees a lot of questions to help them uncover their purpose. If they come home from the workshop with anything, I hope it's with clarity of purpose--everything else will fall into beautiful balance after that!

Thank you Whitney! We loved meeting you and can't wait to learn more from you in October!

I wanted to share the newest creation from Whitney, the Day Designer. I love this "yearly strategic planner for the Creative Entrepreneur" . You can purchase one here


1 comment:

  1. Hi! I just discovered your blog this week. I must tell you I have been back daily to continue looking around. There is such a wealth of knowledge here! Thanks so much for sharing all you do. I have been extremely interested in photography since I was a little girl. I am just on the edge of taking the leap of faith to pursue my own photography business. This is a great source of inspiration from like minded individuals. Wish I could come to your workshop sounds like a blast! Maybe next time:) ~ Carrie