Makers to Know: Susannah Brinkley

Susannah interviewed me for her blog feast and west two years ago, and it was the first little blurb that anyone ever mentioned me in (Susannah, you have no idea how excited I was). Ever since, I've followed along in her adventures on her blog.

Her new project Garnishing Co is the focus of today - she's doing some awesome things that should help out all of you fellow small business owners out there! 

Can you explain, for those who don’t know, what Garnishing Co. is?

Garnishing Co. is a resource for bloggers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, artists and makers who are just starting out, are on a low budget and need help with graphic design and branding. Graphic design is an investment, and that kind of expense is not a reality for everybody. I offer brand coaching to help people work through DIYing their brand. I am working on a few e-courses, e-books and a Facebook group as well. 

Tell me a little about yourself - what's your background? Why did you decide to start Garnishing Co.? 

I’ve been interested in graphic design ever since high school, when a teacher convinced me to join the newspaper staff the following year. Over the summer he invited me and several other students to a summer journalism camp in my state and my eyes were opened. It was so fascinating to me that a tiny, subtle detail, such as the curves of a font or the juxtaposition of photos and text, could influence a whole design and change the way the viewer reads and interacts with the product. After that, I was hooked! 

In college I worked on the newspaper and was the yearbook editor in addition to my graphic design studies. Then, I took a job at an ad agency, where I learned so much. I was laid off after a couple years and have been freelancing ever since. 

In 2013, I started my food and travel blog Feast + West and started meeting other bloggers and learning the ins and outs of blogging. It’s not uncommon for me to get emails from other bloggers that say, “What do you think of the new logo I made?” or “What plugin do you use?” or “Can you help me decide on a color scheme?” Just about every summer since college, I've been teaching at the same journalism camp I attended in high school, and last year it hit me — I should be helping people learn graphic design instead of doing it for them. 

Reading your blog, I can see that you are a total font nerd. Dare I ask, what is your favorite font? 

Oh my gosh! Yes. This question made me laugh. Let me put it this way, one does not simply go into Anthropologie and have a favorite sweater. They’re all gorgeous. However, I can claim that Anthro is one of my favorite shops! (For the sale rack, of course.) So, in that vein, I am always collecting fonts I love and that are right for certain uses and styles. Instead, I will list some favorite font foundries, which are like book publishers but for fonts. Hoefler & Co. has a lot of my favorites — I love everything typographer Jonathan Hoefler does. (And his former business partner Tobias Frere-Jones too!) LatinoType has some really playful and beautiful fonts that feel so wordly. I also love the Lost Type Co-op, which is a foundry that supports independent font designers. 

I’ve subscribed to the Garnishing Co. newsletter and I can’t wait to dive into all of these excellent tips & tools! Explain to all of those who are new here, what is the benefit of signing up for the newsletter? What exciting things can we expect to see? 

The newsletter has taken a bit of a backseat lately while I took a little time off. But I am working on bringing it back. I want it to be a bit of inspiration for my readers! When you sign up, you get access to my resource library, which is filled with free ebooks and worksheets. And you’ll be the first to know when I launch something new! 

We all have our good days & our bad days. What was the biggest obstacle for you as a designer/blogger, and how did you overcome that? 

I feel like I am always battling burnout. I have a freelance business, a food/travel blog and a design blog/coaching business. And I try to have a life, too! It can get to be too much sometimes. I think burnout is really necessary, though. You need to work hard, take a break, work hard. It’s part of the creative cycle for me. You can’t do a crazy upside-down loop on a roller coaster if you don’t go down first and re-build your momentum. I try to take breaks from work. I’m trying to stop working on Fridays. And I make myself go to yoga, even when I really, really don’t want to! Self-care is really important in preventing and remedying burnout. 

Finally, can you share three of your favorite bloggers or creative entrepreneurs?  

Oh man. I could make this list so long. First, I would have to say Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge. Hers was the first real blog I ever read, and I always head there for inspiration of all kinds. I also love Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess. I really admire their business savvy, multiple revenue streams and all around-creative style. Lastly, I really enjoy everything Danielle Spurge-Swavely of The Merriweather Council puts out. Not only is her embroidery art so beautiful, but she is an excellent business mentor for makers. I don’t have an online shop so I don’t need her services, but I just love her attitude and style and everything she does. And one more for good measure: Caitlin Bacher is the queen of social media and I learn so much from her every week. 

She's doing some awesome things, go find her and follow her out there: 

Instagram @garnishingco
Twitter @garnishingco
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