Friday, June 27, 2014
In 2009, two childhood friends joined forces to form a small letterpress company — a way to turn their passion for illustration and graphic design into a business.
In the five years since then, 1canoe2 owners Beth Snyder and Carrie Shryock — who were soon joined by co-partner Karen Shryock — have turned their venture making greeting cards, prints and calendars into a thriving business with three full-time employees and three to five more part-time workers.
Their business started out as a primarily online shop through etsy, but the trio’s products are now carried in more than 800 independent retailers across the country — icluding Well Read in Fulton and Poppy in Columbia — and they have several corporate wholesale accounts with companies like Anthropologie and Paper Source.
“In 2013 we doubled what we did in 2012; in 2012 we tripled what we did in 2011,” Snyder said.
She said about two-thirds of their business is comprised of wholesale orders, with greeting cards accounting for about 75 percent of orders.
In addition to the greeting cards, recipe cards, prints and calendars they first started with, 1canoe2 now also makes a wide range of stationary products such as notepads and journals and home goods such as tea towels and glassware.
All products that are signed, such as the prints, are still created using a letter press, but Snyder said everything else is now outsourced to a printer in Jefferson City.
The company has moved from the loft of the barn at the Shryock corn maze to a small, 100-year-old barn that was built by Carrie Shryock’s great-grandfather.
Although it may seem to have happened quickly, Snyder said the growth “seemed to us like it was a natural progression.”
She said one turning point was attending the National Stationary Show in New York in 2011 and making wholesale a focus.
“After that it really kind of snowballed,” Snyder said.
She also attributed 1canoe2’s success to attention to detail and providing something different.
“Carrie’s artwork is really unique,” Snyder said. “We just try to do things really well whether it’s designing well or running the business well.”
She said running a business has been “the ultimate creative project” and her favorite part has been learning how a business works and the freedom that comes with being a business owner.
“It’s really rewarding to be your own boss,” Snyder said.
She said she also enjoys the creative opportunities.
“The very first thing I created that sold really well was our little oak recipe box — it was actually the first thing Anthropologie picked up,” Snyder said, noting her father builds the boxes. “It still sells well.”
She said Carrie Shryock does most of the illustration work, while Karen Shryock handles the wholesale accounts, customer service and marketing and Snyder does graphic design and art direction as well as other business details.
“We work really well together — we do better because of each other,” Snyder said. “We have really fun people who work here; nice, great people. It’s a good time.
“I always look forward to coming to work because I like what we’re doing.”
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