Autumn Saylor the creative genius behind Marshfellows, gives us an insight into how she turned a simple idea into a reality, the day to managing of a business and where she gets her inspiration for these fablous Marshmallow people.
What inspired you to create your Marshfellows?
It was back in 2009, so the "cute food" trend was in full swing, and I was definitely caught up in it. So one day, Just playing around with my clay materials I decided to create for myself this little chubby marshmallow character. It turned out so cute that I wanted to keep making them!
What are the advantages of working for yourself?
The possibilities are as limited as my imagination! I get to create what I like, when I like! I can divide up my day between working and then turn right around to play with my son. That's the most important factor for me, with a little one at home that needs me, it's crucial that I can be my own boss.
What are the disadvantages of working for yourself?
For me at least, since I'm still fairly new to the business world, is wondering if I'm making the best choices for my business. But so far I've been lucky that I have friends, who are also working their own business, who are willing to advise or share with me any tips and tricks they know.
Another disadvantage comes from me being an artist, and I'm pretty sure other artists will agree, sometimes people don't value your time. They think because you've created art and not something productive, that it should be cheap, and that's not fair. Sure, the end result of my creations are small, but it costs me time and money to achieve it, not to mention all those tiny details. I don't have employees or help, it's just me, a one-woman-show, like so many others and our time should be valued.
What is your greatest achievement?
It was actually a very personal and meaningful moment to me a couple years back. My father, who has since passed away, saw my Marshfellows for the very first time when I sent him one for father's day. It was a little football player, complete with a Patriots helmet and a #12 Tom Brady jersey. He called me up and raved about it. He went on to say that he talked about it to all his buddies at work and he couldn't believe how detailed it was. Then he paused and said, "Sweetheart, you are so talented. You are going to great heights with this little Marshmallow guy. I am so proud of you."
It meant so much to me because at that time Marshfellows was still so brand new and I had been having doubts about whether or not I should even continue with it. On top of that, my father and I never had a really close relationship, so his words meant so much to me.
How do you ensure worklife balance?
That's not easy having a little one under a year old, but somehow I make the time. There are 24 hours in a day and I try really hard to use every single one of them. Usually the days are kept for my son. He and I have a ball playing with his toys and reading. Then there's housework, errands and dinner, but after my husband comes home from work and we've settled in for the night, that's my time to run off to my secret lab and maniacally rub my hands together as I plan to create my next Marshfellow! Just kidding, no maniacal hand rubbing or secret laboratory. But yes, the nights are mine to create and design. I've even had nights so late I have to be reminded to come to bed. But when you're on a creative high, sometimes it's hard to put it down until it's finished.
What would be the ultimate goal for your business?
Right now, even as we speak, Marshmallows are gaining recognition. Cupcakes are O-U-T and Marshmallows, in all forms are IN! There is a little niche in the world for those of us 'marshmallow-enthusiasts' and our time to shine is now! Whether we create with food, clay, illustrations or bath & body products, whatever it may be! I guess the goal I have in mind is to be recognized alongside other great Marshmallow artisans and hopefully even collaborate with them!
Who are your customers?
The best freakin' people on the planet! I owe a lot to my customers and Marshfellow fans. They inspire me, they cheer me on, they motivate me, they challenge me. The biggest asset they provide is loyalty. There's a lot to be said for that, seeing as how I basically create Marshmallow creatures with cute little faces. If you're willing to stick around with a crazy chick like me, in support of that, you've got to be a little crazy too. So, I stick by what I said, BEST FREAKIN' PEOPLE EVER!
What advice would you give to someone starting a business?