Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Maia Leppo, Founder of Safran Everyday, located in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Safran Everyday is a small-batch home goods company in Pittsburgh, PA. We are a two-woman operation selling recycled steel, thoughtfully designed powder-coated home goods. We make regionally local, US-produced functional items for your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, entryways, and more. Our customers are renters and homeowners who are seeking lasting materiality, sustainability, and colorful, minimalist home design.
Tell us about yourself
I had the idea to create Safran Everyday first from my own home needs and unique individual skillset. I bought a house a few years ago and found myself needing home basics - the boring stuff - paper towel holders, toilet paper rolls, hooks, etc. Everything I could find was overly ornate or cheaply made. Plus, most of my available options required supporting ethically questionable big businesses. I came from a career in jewelry making, so I had a decade of design skills to apply to the task of creating my own home goods. It was a production process that made a lot of sense to me. I am excited by forms that are not overly complicated and streamlined wares that add function and color to a space. I'm motivated to keep finding simple design solutions to life's frustrating problems.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One big accomplishment is being able to make the items I need for myself. It's super satisfying to recognize how the flow and user functionality of a space could be improved and then to make products that support a space's transformation. Home life and organization can get so hectic in the day-to-day, so I love imagining systems and objects to set in place that make life easier. Ease in terms of meeting home necessities but also visually ease - replacing eye-sore objects in your home that you thought you didn't have alternatives to. I feel at ease when my space actually looks good as well as functions well, and it's great to be able to facilitate that home experience for myself and others.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
It's hard not to see instant success in business. We have super quality, well-made items people love, but we haven't figured out the best way to tap into our market yet. Growth is a slow and nonlinear process, and we're hoping in a few years, the financial realities of running a small business won't feel so weighty.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find the right people - the people you collaborate with will make or break your success and day-to-day experience.
- Don't get discouraged and keep going - it's a marathon, not a race.
- Know when to ask for help and seek out people to support your weak spots.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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