Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I am Brittany Statt of Bee Paper House, a small studio powered by handlettering, illustration, and a splash of whiskey. Everything on the shop is uniquely crafted and custom lettered. My work is heavily influenced by all things vintage and local, from old liquor labels to the worn-away signs on the brick buildings of Rochester.
What are you passionate about? What makes you tick?
I have a huge passion for lettering and love that the once-dying art is making a resurgence. It’s what makes my work uniquely mine. It takes time and attention to detail that makes it all the more fulfilling when I have a final product. There are so many stages from the start of a piece to when it gets into a person’s hands; it’s always an exciting day when my work comes back from the printer. Seeing it come to life will never get old!
How did you get started? What were some of the difficulties you faced?
The biggest challenge of starting my own business was learning to wear many hats - particularly as a creative person. I was no longer just an artist, but an accountant, a salesperson and marketer, a tax “expert”, a regular at the post office, and much more. It helps to remind myself that I don’t have to play all these roles every day. There are still those rare days where I make a pot of coffee and just create for a full day, and those days make everything else worth it.
(handlettering by Ryan Grimes)
What is your biggest regret?
I wish I had taken my time a bit more before launching the business. I was so excited and eager to get it off the ground that I rushed a lot of the decision-making process in regards to things like branding and product packaging. However, I’ve learned a lot in the first year and hope to mature the brand this second year around.
What is your best advice to someone just starting out? What advice do you wish someone had given you?
My advice for future entrepreneurs is to put yourself out there and make connections. Rochester has such a strong, supportive creative community and you never know what a quick introduction will turn into. For my business in particular, doing the local craft shows are huge. There have been times where the shows have not been “worth it” sales-wise, but networking with others led to larger projects than I could have ever predicted.
What your favorite part of what you do?
This is a really tough question. There are so many aspects of small business that I love, which is how I knew it was the right move for me. I love those days where I can do nothing but create for 5 hours, but I also love the crazy days of running errands, dropping inventory off at the shops and saying hello, having a coffee shop meeting with a client, and having a meltdown over ordering the wrong size stationery boxes. I love all the crisis of learning to perfect a craft show, from realizing your tent weights are no match for Rochester wind to needing four friends and a patient dad to help you pull it all off. There is no favorite part, it’s all the highs and lows put together.
Name some local creatives/mall business owner that you really admire.
Marisa Krol of Interstellar Love Craft has been such an inspiration as I’ve started my business. When I first got my studio at the Yards, hers was next to mine, and now she’s just opened her own shop in the South Wedge! It was so helpful to see someone years into running a small business and the steps she’s taken to get it there. I admire her for bringing her own voice to her brand and the relationships she’s built with customers; I think that’s such a key building block to small business success. I can’t wait to see what she does next!