I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My Dad was a 80’s rock star, turned his passion for music into a recording studio and later invented a smart home system in our basement from reading books. With no college education, he built successful businesses one after another and learned how to be an options trader as his most recent career. My Mom was a model, my step mom, a signer (signed by columbia records) and my step dad a Detroit Revitalizer - people like to refer to him as the original hipster of Detroit. He currently owns a hip hop bar in Detroit and has done everything from owning a travel agency, growing music festivals to working as a city planner (not to mention, a master gardener). I’m telling you all of this to give you an idea of where I came from. I was raised to literally follow my dreams. My parents never pushed a specific career, they told me to follow my passions and money would follow. And they were right! I was raised to have an inner trust with God (or the universe, whatever you want to call it) and that if an idea was all I could think about, there was no reason to ignore it.
My parents always encouraged the arts, They told me a craft could never go to waste. I began selling my artwork at a young age to my parents friends, local art galleries, festivals and it snowballed from there. I realized my paintings brought me happiness and generated income to support the lifestyle I wanted.
While studying Art and Design at the University of Michigan, I was on a mission my freshman year to travel to Africa to take photographs. I was stuck on this idea! I talked about it all the time, told all my friends, reached out to professors looking for opportunities. And then a miracle happened - I heard about a group called Students of the World, an organization that sends students to developing countries during their college summers to document positive change through video, photos and blogs for large corporate companies in connection with the Clinton Global Initiative. I submitted my photography portfolio and earned my place as the team photographer in a group of 5. We spent the summer in Kenya, spending time in the slums, getting to document stories of positive change regarding issues of water borne illnesses and programs that were making a difference. I was hooked.
I loved using my talent of photography to share a story, to make an impact. The following year, I traveled as the team photographer and producer to Tanzania to document preventable blindness. I dedicated all my time to the camera, practicing my craft and finding new ways to see the world. That year, our short film from Tanzania premiered at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, a photo of mine was showcased on a billboard in times square and I sat in a room to watch the premier with Obama, Bono, Ashton Kutcher (my forever crush), Brad Bitt, Angelina Jolie and 126 world leaders. People cried, donated and wanted to get on board with the project. I realized then that my photography was more than a passion but a way to make a difference.
During my time in college, I started using my photography skills to take portraits and weddings. The first wedding I photographed was a barn wedding, handmade with the most beautiful details designed by the bride (and artist) Kelly Ventura. The images were picked up by Martha Stewart Wedding Magazine and my business blew up almost overnight. I quickly had to learn business skills, how to build a business, sell prints and navigate the financial and legal system. This business really ignited my entrepreneurial spirit. I loved all parts of it, from the spreadsheets to the branding!
With a serious travel bug, I was determined to live abroad after college. I landed a teaching job with the Spanish government and moved to Malaga, a tropical beach town in southern Spain with my best friend. We traveled all over europe and I began focusing on my photography blog and working on editorial and documentary stories. Again, I had a new ‘dream’ in mind. I wanted to travel to 10 countries that summer. My funds were slowly dwindling but everynight before bed, I envisioned myself in remote locations, staying at top of the line boutique hotels - using someone else's credit card (I mean, I didn’t have the money!). I kept the vision clearly in my mind. I received an email one day, the subject line read ‘Looking for the next world travel photographer - this summer, 14 countries! Apply now!’. I stayed up all night writing my script and making my application video. And I won! I went to Africa, Europe, Central + South America that summer, with someone else’s credit card - staying in fancy boutique hotels, just as I had imaged. Little did I know what I was doing with my ‘envisioning’. I was subconsciously using the law of attraction. I know truly believe that what we hold our focus to, will manifest into reality.
After traveling extensively, I ended up landing a more permanent position as a Visual Merchandiser for Anthropologie and put my creative brain to work! I had always loved retail, sharing stories and creating experiences. With a strong understanding for the Anthropologie brand, I began designing patterns that I thought their customers would like. With designs in mind, I pitched my business to investors and launched bunglo - a home decor brand to enlighten the home. I launched my first bedding collection at Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales and - Anthropologie. I left my day job and dove in 100%,, learning about international and local manufacturing, textiles, finance, marketing, ecommerce, trade shows, wholesale and building a team. The ride wasn't easy to say the least. There was so many failures along the way. Inventory stuck at ports,, canceled PO’s, learning how to manage people with varying personalities. I felt like I had fallen on my face. From the outside, everything looked dreamy.
On the inside, I was dying from overwhelm, not knowing where to focus my energy all while creating management systems and working 12 hours a day - 7 days a week. I kept telling myself ‘I wish I had an guide on how to start a creative business’. I searched and searched. I took digital marketing workshops, tradeshow courses and hired consultants in finance, wholesale and marketing. I realized that none of these workshops, courses or consultants were going to be able to connect all the areas of the business and see the larger picture. So I began documenting my experience with the hopes that one day my guide would help other creative entrepreneurs have an easier time starting a business that was organized and profitable from day one!
As bunglo grew, I opened a warehouse, hired 10 employees and began working with large corporate companies, I realized that wasn’t what I really wanted. I wanted a business that would be a place for my creativity to run wild and support my nomadic lifestyle. After a lot of thinking and headaches, I turned bunglo into a virtual company. I got a professional team to ship my products, focused on digital marketing and hired virtual assistants. It was one of the hardest transitions. But boy was it worth it! Today, my husband and I are expecting a baby and I’m so grateful to be able to stay home with our baby due to my virtual company. I can take as much time as I need, plan ahead and truly immerse myself into this new chapter - all while continuing my passion and generating income! I live my life in alignment with my soul, I follow the magic and give everything a try!
Are you interested in learning how to take your dreams into reality? I created the Creative Entrepreneur Guide for people like you! I’ll walk you through all the steps of creating a business plan, finding the perfect legal structure, design products and set up manufacturing, how to set up a website, photograph your products, digital marketing 101, finance templates, press outreach and wholesale strategies through a series of worksheets, resources and videos.. I’ve documented my entire process of creating a profitable, creative business so you can do the same - I like to think all the stress and overwhelm I put myself through was taking one for the team! To save you the headache, the fear and always guessing, what’s next! I’m passionate about helping people following their dreams. My parents supported me to take the leap and I hope to help do the same for you!
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FACTS ABOUT SHAY
I married the love of my life in Thailand—we eloped! We were both born on an Aquarius new moon and met on a new moon.
I spent 2 weeks at an Ashram in India and got a parasite that lasted 6 months!
I’ve been a vegan for 7 years and feel better than ever!
I launched a marketplace of curated goods for the modern bohemian in April of 2018 called Indigo & Sage.
I believe our minds and hearts are way more powerful than we think!
I have a goal to see all 7 continents before 50, Australia and Antarctica are last on the list!
One of my favorite trips was camping in the Sahara desert in a boudin tent, watching the sunrise with fresh mint tea in hand.
I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan but couldn’t handle the cold!