I had the pleasure of chatting with Jamie and Stephen of Salt and Ember. They are a powerhouse creative couple with positive vibes all around. Learn more about their story, their business and how they met!
TO KICK THINGS OFF WOULD YOU MIND INTRODUCING YOURSELVES AND YOUR BUSINESS TO US?
Our names are Stephen and Jamie, and we love small businesses. And by love I mean we eat/sleep/dream/shower..(is that a thing?)/live for small businesses! We've helped start ups become multi-million dollar companies while still remaining "small", and we've helped small shops become more successful and profitable. Between branding, sourcing, product development, marketing, web development, there's basically nothing we haven't encountered. We're basically the bootstrappers for bootstrappers.
FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW, HOW LONG HAS SALT AND EMBER BEEN AROUND?
Specifically the Salt and Ember name has been around for...3 months. The message has been around for over 2 years. We just finally decided to put on our professional grown up pants and give a name to the services we provide!
SO YOU ARE A HUSBAND AND WIFE CREATIVE TEAM, A FREAKING ADORABLE TEAM BTW. YOU MUST TELL US, HOW DO YOU GUYS MEET?
Busted! We met on Tinder and to make it more strange, we didn't even live in the same state! So our first two weeks consisted of (constantly) texting. Finally, we worked up the courage to meet in person and Stephen flew down and we hopped in the car for a 4 hour road trip, luckily we were just as obsessed with each other in person as we were in cyberspace! We continued to have a long distance relationship until Stephen finished college and quit his job to come live with me :) Since then, there hasn't been a business venture we haven't tackled together!
HOW DO YOU GUYS BREAK UP THE WORK BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU AND, ASKING FOR A FRIEND, HOW DO YOU KEEP FROM GETTING TIRED OF EACH OTHER IF YOU ARE TOGETHER ALL THE TIME?
We are literally together 24/7. You know how on Pirates of the Caribbean 2, the pirates on the Flying Duchmen Ship just start to BECOME a part of the ship. I feel like that is what happens when you're together this much; we're just one person now. In many ways we don't break up the work. We discuss everything and we both have a part in most tasks. I definitely don't think it's for everyone, but it's easier if you know that you're both working towards the same goal. Part of the ship part of the crew!
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST PROS AND CONS OF RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
There are some people who are just plain unemployable. We're too stubborn, too distracted, and too..possibly egotistical? We love being able to set our own schedule, have creative freedom, be our own boss, and constantly work on something new. We wouldn't trade what we do for a 9-5 in a million years.
However this does mean that there is no "clocking out" at 5. All the tasks that need to be done, they don't get done until...we do them. There isn't a team of people who will pick up the slack if we fall short, it's all up to us. It's such an empowering thing but can become difficult sometimes! For us, the reward far outweighs the difficult moments, and having each other makes it easier when one of us is feeling creatively fatigued.
WHO WOULD YOU SAY HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST BUSINESS MENTORS ON YOUR JOURNEY? (IN PERSON OR ONLINE)
We're in such a unique position that we get to work with SO many talented and inspiring people. Every small business we work with, we end up learning something new, gaining a new perspective, and getting rejuvenated. One of the people we've learned the most from would be Cara from Maskcara Beauty. We're also grateful for Cara for being the first believer in our "death to workplace" business vibe since she herself started out, and continues to work that way.
IF YOU COULD GIVE ADVICE TO SOMEONE JUST GETTING STARTED AS A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE?
At first I was going to say, don't be scared. But that's not entirely true..DO be scared. But don't let fear hold you back and don't worry about the "supposed to's". Not everything will be perfect, and those things that you are afraid might happen, might actually happen. But working through it and pushing to a solution creates such an opportunity for beautiful things to happen. Whether it's a thriving business or maybe just a different perspective on life. We literally don't know what we're doing most of the time, but we've found that nobody else really does either. You just create a solution. Be scared, but start!
YOU ARE “ALWAYS OPEN” AS YOU SAY BUT WHEN YOU ARE NOT DESIGNING WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING?
We measure our life in what Stephen calls "life coin". When we decided to make the move from Southern Utah to the beach, we went from a 3 bedroom house, to a 2 bedroom condo that cost 3x the rent. Our literal "coin" went down but our life coin went up astronomically! When not working, you can find us learning to surf, discovering a new place to eat, getting tattoos, or Disneylanding it with the two main besties in our life- Sabrina (Beans) and Charlie (Charmeleon, muhammed-chawlie, chawlie rancher, there are a lot of nicknames you can make with the name Charlie). Anything that increases our life coin, we're 100% in.
YOU GUYS ALSO OWN AND RUN ATLAS SUPPLY CO. I HAVE ONE OF YOUR BACK PACKS AND IT’S AMAZING! SHARE A BIT ABOUT ATLAS SUPPLY CO AND HOW IT GOT STARTED.
There were two main drives behind Atlas Supply Co. One, we actually did have legitimate luggage problems. Being small business owners, we hardly ever don't have a laptop or camera with us. We also felt so grade school walking into business meetings with these backpacks that just screamed "young" or "just out of college". So we felt like there was this gap between backpack and briefcase, hence we created the "Entrepreneur" backpack line and blogged our way through the process! Atlas fits in so well with what we already do because we're out to solve small business problems. We're so glad to be able to connect with even more small business creatives such as yourself!!
LAST BUT MOST CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, AS I ASK EVERYONE WHO AGREES TO THESE INTERVIEWS, IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE SONG TO REPRESENT SLAT AND EMBER WHAT SONG WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Best question ever! Past lives by Bjorn. Cause all my past lives, they got nothing on me!
Of course, a huge thank you to Salt and Ember for chatting with me. You can find them on their website, Instagram, and dribbble. I hope you enjoyed learning more about Jamie and Stephen and be sure and give them a shout down in the comments below.