In this series on The Southern C, readers get to “meet” many of the interesting and creative Southern entrepreneurs we know online through our social network and also in “real life” at The Southern C Summits. These individuals are the CEO’s, founders, creative directors, artists, designers, makers and doers that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Take a peek into their day to day life, find out what they are working on, discover their “a-ha” moment and gain insight into what motivates and inspires their work and lives.
The subjects and their niche may vary but many share the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions. We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region. According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious”, and this is one thing we are happy to spread.
Amy Fritchman and Sarah Meyer
This week, I am excited to introduce our Coterie to two of my friends that began the coolest business a couple of years ago. Amy Fritchman and Sarah Meyer joined forces, after years in the corporate world, to create a bright, cheerful, beautiful product-packed hub of a website featuring the work of artisans in Haiti and Ghana. If you love unique, handmade items, and want to have a charitable impact on the world, then 107 Market Street is the site for you!
You will quickly discover this isn’t just any online store as evidenced by their motto “Where Style Meets Need”. Instead, it’s a store with a mission to see artisans working around the world connected with the people who want their products. After traveling extensively from workshops to homes in small villages to observe the work first hand, Amy and Sarah continually heard the same story that skilled artisans don’t have the time and know- how to adequately market and sell their items to create steady streams of income. In many countries, a selling platform does not exist for the artisan so they formed 107 Market Street (directly inspired by Psalm 107 – “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story”) to serve as a bridge between artist, retailer, buyer and distributor.
Describe your business:
At 107 Market Street, we seek to unite your need for style with an artisan’s need for sustainable business. We are passionate about celebrating our artisans’ gifts and talents and extending the reach of their handcrafted goods. We then carefully curate each piece we offer to ensure we are bringing you unique, fashionable, high quality goods.
In developing countries, we believe that together, we can help to build dignity and responsibility by paying fair wages for artisans to practice their God given talents. We support family preservation and the elimination of economic orphans by giving families in these countries sustainable business. In an effort to further their influence, we partner with organizations who share this passion.
Describe a typical work day or how do you handle the work/life balance:
SM: A few years ago, God let me know that my family was a gift – one that I had asked for and one should not ignore. Because of this realization, my family and their needs come first. I find time to work around them, but I it is my goal to be present when we are together.
AF: Sarah and I spend a solid Monday brainstorming, updating, creating, and making our ‘to-do’ lists. I spend the time while my children are in school, calling shops and boutiques, making connections, and curating new products and organizations for us to work with and represent.
Tips to a successful partnership?
SM: Communication is key. Trust will grow out of that and both of these are critical in my book.
AF: Communication and trust. Sarah and I decided to co-found 107 Market Street together after lengthy discussions and lots of prayer. We frequently view situations from different perspectives but at the end of the day we know we always have the same goals.
What did you want to be when you grew up and how has your background influenced your work?
SM: As a kid, I always wanted to be a flight attendant so I could travel the world. I went to school for International Business, Finance and Economics and my work experience in Finance, Sales and Marketing have all been significant in landing me where I am today.
AF: I always knew I wanted to work with people. Connecting people is one of strong suits. My master’s degree is in Speech-Language Pathology. After 20 years in this career, it became clear how God had prepared me for this next stage of life.
Any “a-ha” moment that made you take the leap?
SM: I initially was not at all interested in starting a business selling goods. I believed I was supposed to “serve” in my work – whatever that meant. I realized as God was revealing this path to Amy and me that this is how he wanted me to serve. Every skill I had developed and even the dreams I had as a child prepared me for what He was calling us to do: sell the goods of these artisans to help create a sustainable living for them.
AF: The adoption of my daughter from Ghana, West Africa. And honestly, I had begun to find my identity in my former corporate position and I knew it wasn’t healthy. After 14 years, I felt it was time to move into a new season. And what a leap it was… the leap into the fair trade market! I love making connections between people and the artisans worldwide who are working hard to provide a sustainable living. It’s a very rewarding experience.
Favorite biz tool, apps, artists or business books?
SM: Favorite business book is Ordering Your Private World. It teaches principles that are foundational to keeping your eye on what’s important while growing successfully.
AF: Good to Great and The Advantage for books. My favorite app (so far) is PicLab for preparing our IG feed!
Where do you find inspiration… blogs, magazines or person?
SM: The Psalms… so inspirational to me!
AF: Honest blogs by real mamas. I’m partial to funny people so Jen Hatmaker is pretty high on my list of favorites. I also am inspired by the organizations that we partner with.
The rare day off – what do you do to unwind?
SM: Cook, go to the beach, hang with my sweet family.
AF: Go for a run or walk on the beach and lunch with good friends.
Best business advice you ever received?
SM: What is most urgent may not be what is most important. Be sure to keep your eye on what’s most important and that will lead your priorities.
AF: Be true to yourself.
Sarah – Five Favorites:
Book – 1000 Gifts – Ann Voskamp
Movie – right now it’s War Room
Song – Touch The Sky by Hillsong United
Drink – Macon Villages Chardonnay
Indulgence – Lindt dark chocolate bar
Amy – Five Favorites:
Book – Interrupted – Jen Hatmaker
Movie – Shawshank Redemption – it’s all about HOPE!
Song – Oceans – Hillsong United
Drink – Anything fruity!
Indulgence – Chocolate ice cream with a scoop of peanut butter with chocolate sauce… yum!
Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors.
This series – “In the Studio With” – offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!
For more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s click the names below: