Today, I’m featuring miss Lindzi Shanks from The Trendy Sparrow for this week’s #WCW! When I think of #GIRLBOSS, Lindzi is definitely the person that comes to mind. Lindzi designs the most amazing tops and home goods that range from fun and cheeky to empowering and inspirational.
I met Lindzi a few years ago when we were both vendors at a holiday event at West Elm Chicago, and I have since been so impressed with her drive and passion for The Trendy Sparrow. She is definitely an entrepreneur you need to know.
Lindzi does it all from running her online shop, to posting on-trend looks for The Trendy Sparrow blog. Read on to learn more about how Lindzi got started with The Trendy Sparrow and what she finds most challenging and rewarding about being an entrepreneur.
Name: Lindzi Shanks
Company: The Trendy Sparrow
Years in Business: Almost 2
When did you realize the Trendy Sparrow was going to be your full-time business?
I was sitting in one of my graduate school classes at University of Chicago and noticed all of my classmates getting up to leave. Class had ended, but I didn’t even notice. I couldn’t recall what the professor said or anything we learned in class. I had spent the entire duration of class designing new products for The Trendy Sparrow and answering customer emails. It just sort of dawned on me that it was pretty clear which path was making me happier…and it wasn’t school. So I graduated with my MA, decided to not go get a PhD as I planned, and started running The Trendy Sparrow full time before I even graduated. I didn’t even attend my graduation ceremony!
What was the most challenging part of starting The Trendy Sparrow?
Learning the accounting side of things! I’m still not great at it, and finally opted to hire a full time accountant. I don’t have a degree in anything business related so having to learn the traditional (and important) aspects of running a business such as accounting and proper lingo for things were a big struggle for me.
What is the hardest part about running your business now?
Intellectual property issues, for sure. I deal so often with other businesses both big and small attempting to duplicate my work. It’s so incredibly frustrating! Unfortunately, it’s something I realized was never going away. Instead I hired an IP attorney who does her best to secure trademarks on everything we make and send cease and desist letters on my behalf. It’s still one of those things that really gets me down though, and makes running a business so much harder.
On the flip side, what is the most rewarding part of running The Trendy Sparrow?
I love seeing my products in the hands of customers! It’s why Instagram is my favorite social media platform. I get giddy every time someone tags our products in their photos because I love knowing that something I created is making someone happy, or inspired, or stylish. Similarly, I love reading reviews people leave on the site. I want to see how people use the items, why they love them, or how we can improve.
What’s a typical day in the life of Lindzi?
One of my favorite things of being a business owner is that I don’t really have a typical day. I have certain things that I accomplish each day such as drinking tons of coffee, making sure my emails get answered, and packing up orders. Other than that, my day really changes quite often. Some days I’m designing, others I’m focusing on photography and social media, and some I’m out at meetings. Each day is quite different, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned thus far as an entrepreneur?
Although it’s important to delegate and surround yourself with amazing people, at the end of the day…it’s all on you. I once heard someone say, ”I want to be an entrepreneur so that I don’t have to answer to anyone”. The reason is, you answer to EVERYONE. As a business owner, your paycheck is a direct result of your success and hard work. If something goes wrong in any aspect of your company, it affects you more than anyone else. So know that you are going to where multiple hats. You never get to say “that’s not my job” because at the end of the day, everything involving the business is your job.
Who would be your dream customer?
Oh gosh…I would pretty much flip if I saw a photo of Leighton Meester with one of our Blair Waldorf mugs or Alexis Bledel with a Gilmore mug! But mostly my ideal customer is a girl who is a total boss, feels like taking on the world, and wants to look incredibly stylish while she does it!
What’s next for the Trendy Sparrow?
The next big thing is a huge new line. I can’t give away too many details on it, but expect a ton of new items come Fall 2016! In the meantime, I am focusing on growing my social media presence, my blog, and revamping our online site.
What do you like to do in your spare time and how do you unwind?
Because I spend most of my day working in an office alone, I really like to get out and see friends to unwind. Even if that means a dinner, a quick drink or coffee, or some gal pal shopping time…it’s getting to spend time with the people I love the most that helps me recharge and unwind.
What are you obsessed with right now?
Oh gosh…I feel like I get “obsessed” with things all the time! Right now I’m really obsessed with fashion illustrations. I’ve started drawing some myself. I let myself draw a little bit every night to help the creative juices flowing. I’m also really obsessing over jumpsuits. I have to try so hard not to buy every jumpsuit I see when I go shopping!
I totally agree with Lindzi that it’s a vital lesson as an entrepreneur to learn that the outcome of your business is the direct effect of the amount of work and energy you put into it.
Thanks so much to Lindzi for letting me interview her for the #WCW post! Make sure you follow Lindzi on Instagram at @thetrendysparrow to get the scoop on her new products and sales while getting some major desk envy and outfit inspiration.