From Hobby to Profitable Creative Business with Carina Gardner

business entrepreneurship podcast profit Jun 26, 2024

 In this episode, I had the delightful pleasure of chatting with the brilliant Carina Gardner. Carina is a multi-talented designer who has ventured into a variety of creative industries, from fabric design to digital scrapbooking and beyond. I can't wait to share some of the amazing insights she provided in this episode.

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About Carina Gardner

Carina has a Ph.D. in Design from the University of Minnesota and taught there for 5 years before starting her design business. The Carina Gardner brand has been on dishware, jewelry, prints, clocks, sewing patterns, and holiday products. Carina also is a well known fabric designer for Riley Blake Designs and die cut designer for Silhouette. Carina was the Creative Director of Carta Bella Scrapbook papers. Her kids brand Mini Lou has sold products for Nordstrom, Peek Clothing, and 500 independent retailers and museums in the US. Carina is the CEO of Design Suite, a surface pattern and crafting design program that teaches designers how to make money as they learn to design. Her popular Make and Design Podcast teaches aspiring designers how to make the transition from crafter and hobbyist to profitable designer. Carina is originally from Clarksville, Tennessee. She currently lives in Sandy, Utah with her husband and three children.

Episode Insights and Takeaways

One of the first things we dove into was Carina’s inspiration. Inspired by iconic historical fashion figures like Coco Chanel and Christian Dior, Carina discovered her love for design early on. This passion propelled her through the tough initial years of running her own business. 

As we delved deeper into her journey, Carina discussed a transformative formula she developed for designing products. Imagine a recipe book, where each chapter features an artist and can be adapted for various creative businesses. This fascinating approach makes it easier for budding entrepreneurs to break into the industry. And guess what? She’s offering a free masterclass filled with videos, downloadable worksheets, and invaluable insights into making art that sells, including savvy distribution strategies.

One of the major highlights of our conversation was Carina’s emphasis on perseverance. She recalled her early struggles, balancing a doctoral program, raising two small children, and supporting a husband in law school—all while earning just $300 in the first year of her design business. By moving her products to a larger online platform, she saw her monthly income skyrocket to $4,000. Her story is a testament to the power of resilience!

Carina’s journey is fascinating not just in terms of her achievements but also in how she manages her day-to-day operations. She starts her day at 7 am, limits herself to 2-3 meetings a day, and dedicates Wednesdays and Thursdays to deep work with no meetings allowed. Her disciplined schedule clearly contributes to her success.

We also chatted about her recent book, “Make Art That Sells,” and her belief in the power of positive energy and volume in production. Carina stressed the importance of creating a high number of products to increase market desirability—a strategy often overlooked by business owners.

Carina’s take on dealing with creative blocks was insightful too. She believes in getting out and enjoying life, whether it’s traveling or visiting museums, to seek inspiration. Personal challenges and external pressures can lead to creative blocks, but having a bigger vision and a duty to serve her audience helps her push through.

Finally, I want to thank Carina for taking the time to share her incredible journey with us. And to my listeners, I hope this episode inspires you to take that leap of faith in your creative pursuits. Don't forget to share this episode with anyone who might benefit from Carina's insights. And stay tuned for our upcoming episodes—I’ve been recovering from a bout with Covid, but I'm bouncing back with some incredible content for you all.

Watch this episode on YouTube

Show Links

Connect with Carina:
Free masterclass: code:MakeArt

Other Show Links:
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Until next time, keep striving for success, and remember, it's always within your mind.
Warm regards,
Teri Holland




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