Small Businesses Rule
When I was growing up, my mom had always kept me within the confines of a brand bubble. If we were out shopping together (which was absolute torture) it seemed as if I was under constant surveillance on what brand’s I was allowed to choose from. If I had picked a no-named brand, my mom didn’t trust it and therefore wouldn’t buy it. (C’mon money tree, can’t you shake that branch just once?) That one cute top I wanted from so and so got left behind in the cold. What a sad consequence for being different…
As a (semi) full functioning adult, I’ve grown very fond of small businesses. I live on the internet which is where the majority of my go-to small businesses market themselves. If I see something that someone else is raving about, I click on that website and go to town. I will suddenly get this overwhelming wave of happiness because I have found a small business that is ACTUALLY creative and goes the distance with their ideas. The quality, the care and the passion behind their products is what sells me from the get-go, for example; my friend Amanda crafts vegan horror themed bath products on Ghoulish Delights Bath Shop. I can’t walk into a mall and get something like that. So, what did I do? I stepped outside my mother’s crafted brand bubble. I bought her VooDoo Queen Brown Sugar Scrub and it has transformed my legs like no other. I tried her product and now I’m a fan for life. She specializes in creating unique bath products that cater to my tastes. She’s passionate about what she creates and doesn’t short change you on the result. I dig that.
Whenever I go to my annually scheduled conventions, I’m always on the look out for the next small business I can obsess over (and shower my money on). I look for things I rarely find online or in the store. I’m always on the lookout for stuff to add to my growing horror collection. Scanning each booth as I walked past, I stumbled upon Little Shop of Gore . I was immediately drawn to their products. Their table was packed with Hannibal Lector Notepads, Stickers, Figurines, Magnets, Tote Bags, Mugs and more. I was beaming. I wanted it all…
A few weekends back, I got an invite of a lifetime. I was invited to a craft day with the Little Shop of Gore. A full on day of crafts and snacks? Sign me up. The Little Shop of Gore is based in Burbank, California. They specialize in all that fondness of 80’s and 90’s nostalgia from films we all know and love.
I stepped into their home which was stacked with the type of memorabilia that left me feeling nostalgic and groovy. Creativity oozed from their walls and truly showcased who they were as individuals. Needless to say, I was in heaven. Their craft room was packed with paint brushes, sculpting tools, clay, paint, etc. It was the ultimate dream. I was just excited to be there. It felt so relaxing.
Salina, the co-owner of Little Shop of Gore tends to trap herself in the confines of her craft room diligently working on various projects. Once she gets started on something, she doesn’t seem to take a break for much else. If she isn’t sculpting, she’s painting. If she isn’t painting, she’s processing orders. She’s constantly spinning her wheels and letting anything and everything inspire her. Ryan, her co-owner, helps put certain pieces together as well. Both of their work is packed with unbelievable artistry. They work as a team to make sure they provide quality content to their customers. Both of them share a uniqueness for the strange and unusual…
“One day, I just started sculpting while watching Beetlejuice.” She said. “I would look up at the screen, sculpt and then look back some more. I kept working at it.”
|Harry the Headhunter sculptures
If you take a close look at her Harry the HeadHunter sculpture, you can see the level of detail put in. Everything from the hair, to the wrinkles, the result of her original sculpture is uncanny, but she begs to differ.
“I had to put in a lot of work to get it the way I want it.” She said. “I’ve learned to paint them a certain way so it wouldn’t take me so long. I just kept working at it until I was able to knock them out quicker.” She explained.
|Salina-Co Owner, Little Shop of Gore
|Ryan’s Evil Dead 2 Hands
|Ryan’s Pennywise Bust
“I’m always thinking of things to create that a potential buyer could want. And I always asked myself, why isn’t someone making this? And that’s what I did, I made what people would want. And what I find neat as well.” She explained.
Salina and Ryan are filled to the brim with creativity. They are always coming up with fresh ideas. In just a short period of time, they have already succeeded at being original, innovative and creative. And as a result of all their hard work, they have been rewarded with many successes. Salina and Ryan work well with one another. I was extremely elated that they allowed me to interview them in regards to their small business…
How long have you been small business owners?
We Started Little Shop of Gore about a year and a half ago
Has it always been your dream to own a small business?
Kinda, I never enjoyed working for anyone else. I always had my own ideas of how the workplace should be run and wanted to profit off of doing something that I actually enjoyed. Ive always loved art, but I didn’t really know how to make a living off of it.
What sparked the idea for Little Shop of Gore?
We both had our own ideas and projects in the works. Ryan asked me to split his table space at Son of Monsterpalooza 2015 to see how our stuff did together. To our surprise, we sold out of almost everything we brought and decided to partner up and become one little shop that makes gore and nostalgic products.
What was the first item you have ever created?
Salina-“The first item I created for is Harry the Headhunter, he took me a few months to finish, but he was totally worth it. We first made a small batch of them to see how well they sold and each time we listed them online or had them at conventions, they sold out! To this day he’s still one of most popular items.”
Ryan-“For LSOG, The Pennywise bust.”
What were some of the challenges you had in the beginning?
Definitely time, space and money. We both had fulltime jobs when we started so as soon as we got off work, it was straight home to do more work. We set up shop in our dining room so our work space was very tight. We were constantly exhausted but it was all worth it once we saw how our hard work paid off at the conventions.
What are some of the challenges you have now?
Time and sometimes, space. We now have a workshop set up in our spare room so we are able to get most of our smaller projects done at home. Our bigger projects are done by Ryan out of a larger workshop. We didn’t expect our shop to do so well this fast, so it’s a bit challenging to keep up with it’s growth with just the two of us running everything.
If you could go back and change one thing in this process, what would it be?
We probably could have started the shop sooner if we had known that we could have made a living making the things we love.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from your experience so far?
What is your advice for others who want to start their own business?
You can never plan enough, especially if your a fast growing small business. Believe in your work and the products you create. Accept criticism and be very open to suggestions, they will help you have a better understanding of where you can improve.
I admire small businesses so much. I can’t even imagine all the hard work it must take. You have to be sure that your products are completed on time for conventions, securing shipments, the list goes on and on! Be sure to shop nostalgia on Little Shop of Gore especially if you’re a huge fan of Stranger Things, The Lost Boys, or Beetlejuice…
Step outside of your brand bubble. Shake the money tree. Support small businesses. If there’s a small business that you are a fan of–be sure to leave it in the comments!
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