Creativity – In the Studio With Todd and Kim Ferrier
In this series on The Southern C, I am thrilled to introduce our readers to some of the great Southern creative minds we run across on our social network and at The Southern C Summits. These individuals are the artists, designers, makers and doers that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Go behind the scenes to get a glimpse into their studio, read what they are working on, discover the path that led them to this moment and find out 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.
This week, I would like to introduce you to Todd and Kim Ferrier, the creative couple behind Lifeguard Press, a stationery and gift company that produces and distributes products for licensed artists such as kate spade new york, Lilly Pulitzer, Jonathan Adler, ban.do and more. Working together as founders of Lifeguard Press, they create and manufacture products that exude style and personality and really tell the story of the brands represented.
Both hailing from the South, Todd and Kim headed west to California many years ago. A fortuitous trip up the California coast led them to founding Lifeguard Press and feeding their entrepreneurial spirits in the process. With their design house based in LA and the Lifeguard Press company headquarters in Bowling Green, Kentucky (Kim’s hometown) they are able to have the best of both worlds… sounds like a Southern creative to me!
Todd and Kim Ferrier of Lifeguard Press
Describe your brand and how it got started:
Both Kim and myself grew up in the South and had moved to California where we met. After law school I knew that I wanted to start my own company – and little did we know a road trip up the California coast to Carmel, almost 15 years ago, would prompt the launch of a company.
We started with one calendar – 5×7 calendar on an easel – with a local Carmel artist. We then began doing more stationery products and learned a lot about product development, sourcing and wholesale. That knowledge and experience allowed us to design the company to begin doing the same for other companies! We have licensed with Vera Bradley, Lilly Pulitzer, Jonathan Adler, Dylan’s Candy Bar, kate spade new york – as well as private labels for several major lifestyle and fashion brands. And, in 2012, we acquired our sparkly sister company, ban.do.
I split my time between our design house in Los Angeles and our company headquarters in Bowling Green, KY. So, most days are spent on the phone and email conferencing and communicating with our team in both locations with business strategy meetings, sales and product development meetings with our teams and licensed brands. No two days are ever the same!
It wasn’t this! I went to Vanderbilt for pre-law and then Pepperdine for law school. Upon graduating, I knew that law wasn’t what I wanted to do as a career but, I definitely use my law degree daily with business strategy and licensee contracts. I did know that I always wanted to work for myself and enjoy using both strategy and creativity in this business.
Kim grew up in Bowling Green, where we are headquartered. Her father was an entrepreneur who started Camping World and although my father was a surgeon, he also invested in some Atlanta area restaurants as an investor. We both had families that pursued those entrepreneurial dreams in one way or another.
We find inspiration everywhere! Kim and I were both raised in the South – where our homes were filled with parties and our roots were deep in Southern tradition, so we find inspiration there. I also often find inspiration when I’m not looking for it – a great sign at lunch, a conversation with another industry leader, my kids.
The rare day off -what do you do to unwind?
Living on the beach provides wonderful opportunities to unwind when we get a chance. Our family loves the beach and all water sports … and you can find us there almost every Sunday.
Think big and stay humble.
For more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s click the names below:
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!