Feb 22

Turn The Tables II – Meet My Guests!

Back by popular demand is our Turn The Tables series. Over a year ago I started the series here on our blog, The Thread, as a way for entrepreneurs, makers, founders and creatives to share advice, provide inspiration and connect with an audience hungry to hear and learn more. The series was inspired by the many dinners I have had (many with the people I have asked to participate in this series) when traveling to market, retreats, or general work outings. Everyone is always so open and honest, sharing the newest information we have about anything and everything relating to our industries. I always leave those dinners with my wheels turning, ideas forming or problems solved. I wanted to bring that same feeling to our blog and create a virtual dinner table. Each Turn The Tables series (this is this second one. Find the Turn The Tables archive HERE) features a set number of guests, with those guest remaining the same throughout the series. Instead of a traditional interview featuring one person, I wanted to mix it up and give it more of a conversational & dinner table feel, as if you were sitting down with a group of friends. Each week only one question is asked, but it is answered by up to 24 amazing entrepreneurs in all different industries. Instead of focusing on one person, we focus on one subject, each tacking it and providing unique answers. As you follow along throughout the weeks to come, note that each entrepreneur has no idea what the other entrepreneur is saying. It is interesting in that there are so many similarities and threads that tie us all together. At the end of the day, we hope this series leaves you inspired and hopeful. This first post in Turn The Tables II is all about getting to know the people that will be joining me for the next 14 weeks. Yes, you read that correctly FOURTEEN WEEKS! Isn’t that awesome! Each of these entrepreneurs was gracious & generous to share time and knowledge, so check them out, connect with them. I am definitely amongst their biggest fans… duhhh… that’s why I asked them to be a part of my dinner table!:) Happy reading! xo, Kristen Ley

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Parisian obsessed founder of LaVieAnnRose.com and the author of lifestyle and travel guide, BRIGHT LIGHTS PARIS.  Lover of All Things French in case you couldn’t tell.

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Ali, Jenni, and Pippi have a grand time imagining they are as cute as they are in Ali’s illustration of them, so this is the headshot they all agree they’re happy to look at week after week. They want to promote this Turn the Tables idea…. it’s AWESOME. One of the best things in this industry is how everyone helps each other, and this is an amazing forum for it.

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Stacie Bloomfield is the owner of Gingiber, an animal-centric gift and paper-goods brand fit for the young and young at heart! Her distinctive and colorful illustrations have captured the hearts of retailers across the globe, and her products have been featured in Country Living Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens & Where Women Create Magazine. An illustrator at heart, Stacie has licensed her artwork with The Land of Nod, Moda Fabrics, Quarto Publishing, and Chasing Paper Wallpaper, as well as several other amazing companies. Gingiber has just launched an adorable new line of Enamel Lapel Pins that are the perfect medium to show of their cheery animal designs and add some #ZestToYourVest.


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Andy and Jane are the owners and operators of Bench Pressed, a small letterpress and design company in Minnesota. Bench Pressed specializes in hand drawn and hand printed letterpress goods. They like to call their line “tongue in cheek with a little sweet”.

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Sherry is the owner and designer of esselle SF.  She designs and hand paints an assortment of geometric signage holders and coaster trivet sets for modern brides and hostesses.  

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Katie O. Selvidge is the Publisher and Founding Editor of Cottage Hill—a lifestyle blog and magazine providing real inspiration for wholehearted living. Named after a road in her hometown and inspired by her great-grandparents, Cottage Hill was realized from a desire to recognize her roots and create a more meaningful legacy. Before publishing, Katie was a ballerina (Houston Ballet) and choreographer. Through her programs Editor’s Course and Assured + Well, she teaches creatives how to produce original story-based work as a sustainable business, directly inspired by her career in the performing arts as a self publisher. Katie, her husband Nathan and their daughter Hadley reside outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they are starting a small homestead.

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Ginger Williams Cook is an artist, mother, and teacher living in Jackson, Mississippi. Ginger is known for her illustrative, whimsical portraits; contemporary visions inspired by wandering through the nostalgia dreams of dusty antique shops. She accepts commission work, most notably personalized pet portraits that capture not just a visual likeness but also the glimmer of the pet’s unique personality. The response to her offering custom pet portraits in January of 2017 has been incredible. She spent most of 2016 working on book illustration (one set for a 2018 publication). Needless to say, Ginger is thrilled to be back to painting beloved dogs and cats with her special touch.


Tonya started her first business in 2009 working out of her dining room juggling two small kids. By 2011, she had grown the business to the point where her husband could leave corporate America and come work with her. By combining her entrepreneurial spirit with his MBA and marketing experience, they were able to grow a small niche business quickly into something that could support their family.

Their company continued to flourish, but something was missing. In the summer of 2014 they closed up shop to follow their true passion of starting inkWELL Press. They launched in November of 2014 and have been able to grow their business at a rapid pace thanks to their commitment to quality, focused marketing efforts and fiercely loyal fans. Recently Tonya has launched her podcast, Productivity Paradox, which debuted at #12 in iTunes in the Business category.

Tonya has enjoyed every minute of this journey. She is passionate about passing along all that she has learned to help other creatives achieve their dreams.

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Catherine Polacek is a clothing-designer, turned letterpress-printer-and-graphic-designer. She runs Printerette Press, a letterpress print and design studio in Minneapolis – a studio whose mission is to fight the Minnesota cold with bright, bold, and happy design.

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Kim Perel is a literary agent and ghostwriter with Paper over Board/IGLA in New York City. She specializes in break out non-fiction authors.

The next books she has coming out are called How To Pack by Hitha Palepu (Clarkson Potter), which is a cool gift book on how to get organized for any trip, How to Make It: 25 Makers Share the Secrets to Building a Creative Business by Erin Austen Abbott (Chronicle Books) and a memoir called Stronger in the Broken Places by Quentin Vennie (Rodale), about a man who went from being a drug-dealer on the streets of Baltimore to finding a way out of that doomed future and into a better life using a wellness trinity he created consisting of juicing, yoga and meditation.

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Jennifer is the creative business growth strategist and founder behind the Creative Founders. She got her start in marketing and graphic design for the healthcare and tech start-up worlds, and then started her own wedding invitation design business in 2008. After five successful years in the wedding invitation business, she now serves creative business owners through a variety of learning experiences, both online and in person as Founder of the Society for Creative Founders. You can learn more and receive some pretty awesome (IMO) business education for creatives in your inbox by CLICKING HERE. Jennifer gets energized by empowering women to run their creative business with better strategy, plans, and systems for growth – and in a way that works for their lifestyle. She believes growth, abundance, and a helping hand conquer fear, scarcity, and a stuck mindset. We’re better together!

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Liz Maute Cooke is a hand-lettering artist and the founder of Lionheart Prints, a line of greeting cards and gifts made in the heart of New Orleans. As a designer, Liz has always been drawn to type and lettering, and she’s excited to be releasing a brand new series of online workshops on hand-lettering throughout 2017.

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Carey of The Idea Emporium found a niche market in the wedding world with event branding. More than paper goods alone, she likes to design and produce all of the custom hard goods of a celebration from the signage to the favors, and from the guestbook to the cocktail napkins while maintaining a cohesive design (not matchy-matchy) thought each piece. She’s also a bride herself; Getting married on April 8 to her perfect man!


Robyn Wehab is the owner and designer at lake + loft and meant to be sent — super fun lifestyle and stationery lines, full of luxe, colorful designs for your desk, home and party. lake + loft was launched last spring along with the new dream.plan.do. planner. robyn is working on the new 17-month edition of her planner launching this spring, along with a new wedding planner!

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Nancy is a floral and event designer in San Francisco, California where she lives with her photographer husband, Kevin Chin, and their sweet pup, Rocco. Nancy has always loved planning events. Before starting her own business, Nancy passionately planned weddings for her family and friends, all while holding a corporate job in retail merchandising. She would clip-out beautiful images of florals and wedding inspiration from books and magazines in her free time, but it wasn’t until after her own wedding to Kevin did she decide to take the leap and give the wedding industry her full attention. She knew she wanted to work with her hands, and took on apprenticeships with a calligrapher and floral guru. In those apprenticeships and her education at City College of San Francisco Horticulture program is where Nancy learned all about the art of hand-tied bouquets, boutonnieres and other detail floral pieces. By 2003, Nancy had a thriving business. As the years evolved, Nancy was not only creating beautiful florals, but she returned to her roots and event planning, creating a full floral and event production business. Nancy Liu Chin Designs loves creating and loves taking a client’s inspiration and turing that into something truly magical and breathtaking. Nancy and her team work out of San Francisco’s Wholesale Flower Market, and love having the ability to see what the growers and floral vendors are bringing in daily.

Nancy is also one of the founders of Oh So Inspired. Oh So Inspired is an intimate business focused retreat for event professionals designed to elevate their creative brand and build concrete businesses. The retreat happens once a year and is always looked foreword to my many people in and out of the wedding & event industry.

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Reina Pomeroy is the Owner and Founder of Reina + Co, the Life + Biz Success Coaching® Practice for creatives who are right brained and heart centered. She helps clients stop spinning their wheels and take action on what’s most important. She’s a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach with over 1,000 hours of coaching under her belt. Reina also co-hosts the Creative Empire Podcast where she interviews leaders in the creative industry. She’s based in Washington DC but her clients and creative entrepreneur community live all over the globe. You can find Reina’s work featured on Entrepreneur on Fire, Entrepreneur.com, Brit + Co, The Huffington Post, Honeybook, Forbes Top Podcasts for Entrepreneurs, The Rising Tide Society.

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Jessie Senese is the owner of Sweet Lulu, an online store offering a curated selection of party pretties from around the world.   She lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and three children.  Jessie recently opened the doors of her 8,000 square foot warehouse to the public, allowing visitors to shop the aisles alongside the “Lulus” packing up online orders.

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Married for 33 years, Steve and Jill McKenzie are founders and principal designers of the retail business, Steve Mckenzie’s and Interior Design Atelier, McKenzie Design LLC. Steve is an accomplished abstract expressionist artist and has recently licensed 15 of his works for reproduction fine art prints and stationery. These products complement their textile and wallpaper offerings, which are available not only at Steve Mckenzie’s but throughout North America.

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Hand raiser and yes sayer, Tiffany Han is a branding strategist for highly-creative women and host of the super-loved Raise Your Hand Say Yes podcast (listen to her talk to Kristen about faith and business and creativity here!). The love child of Terry Gross and Don Draper, she crafts programs and resources that help female entrepreneurs startbrand, or grow the businesses of their dreams – while also having as much fun as possible.

In her spare time (ha!), she starts as many dance parties as she can with her husband and twin daughters. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Waiting On Martha’s founder and curator, Mandy Kellogg Rye, lives by one mantra, “Life should be lived beautifully every single day.” As the ultimate creative and personal outlet for Mandy, the Blog focuses on creating a beautiful everyday through fashion, food, décor, travel and wellness. As the readers grew, so did the oh-so common question “where do I get that?” And thus, as Mandy puts it, “it only took one reader’s question to push me to indulge my dream of opening a boutique.” The shoppe was opened as an e-commerce boutique in July of 2012, has had several successful local pop-up shops since then, and is in the works for a brick and mortar location soon.

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Lesley Frascogna is the creative force and owner behind Tulip, a brand that encompasses floral services, workshops, and most recently and brick and mortar shop.  When she’s not creating artistic floral and buying for her shop, she’s spending time with her other passions: her husband Marty, kids Frank and Birdie, and dog-kids Fran and Lucy.  After having two kids and running a creative business, Lesley found it difficult to connect with other like-minded women in the same field.  She wanted to create a community of creative business owners who understood the difficult dynamic of motherhood and  business owner.  In early 2016 she decided she was going to cultivate and host a retreat for these hardworking mamas.  NOURISH is an all-inclusive restful retreat for busy “mamapreneurs” who are trying to find a work, life balance and connect with other industry mamas.  The retreat is taking place this April 23rd-26th in Watercolor, FL.  For more information you can visit www.nourishtheretreat.com.

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Christina McNeill is an award winning wedding photographer and the Managing Editor of the wedding blog, Snippet & Ink. Snippet & Ink is a wedding blog that focuses on beautiful and meaningful weddings.  In addition to the weddings features and beautiful details, this year they’re heavily promoting their ceremony content, which includes loads of examples of full ceremony scripts (religious, non-religious, playful, interfaith, etc) as well as wedding vow examples, wedding readings and traditions!

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Mary is a creative director and founder of Very Mary Inspired and The Sketchbook Series. Her purpose is to empower and inspire creatives by blending art, design, community, education and imagination through a variety of workshops and creative consulting for creative entrepreneurs. The Sketchbook Series is a collection of luxury sketching workshops across the nation teaching event design and enabling creatives of all levels to bring their ideas to life. Enrollment for 2017 workshops are now open with The Huntington Hotel in Los Angeles as the first stop. More tour dates and locations are available on our website, social channels and of course, feel free to give Mary and team a shout with any questions.  We are pre-enrolling for our other cities via www.thesketchbookseries.com.

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Erin Godbey is the co-founder of the Makers Collective, a non-profit arts organization. The Makers Collective exists to support and empower creative entrepreneurs, and works to further the makers movement through events like Indie Craft Parade and the Makers Summit. When she’s not directing these initiatives, Erin can be found hosting an impromptu party, perfecting her chocolate cookie recipe, or relaxing at home with her husband, baby, and their pack of stray cats.

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