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Season 1 Ep 45: Chat With a Card Maker: Lindsey and Mike Smith of Black Tabby Studio




This week on the xoxo, jess Podcast I’m talking to Lindsey and Mike Smith of Black Tabby Studio which is a family-owned company, founded by Mike and Lindsey, who use their combined talents to offer an ever-growing selection of high-quality greeting cards, thank you cards, and more! They’ve been in business for 10 years now and sell their products across a variety of platforms and I have so many questions for Mike and Lindsey. Listen to us chat about being in a partnership in business and in life, sticking to your style, taking leaps in your business, and so much more! Listen to the episode above, on iTunes HERE, or read the transcription below.


Episode Transcription:


Jessica Walker

Welcome back to xo xo jest where we dive deep into the world of greeting cards, the highs and lows of entrepreneurship and the mindset tools needed to start creating the business of your dreams today. I'm Jessica Walker, your host here with another Wednesday episode. And this week, I'm speaking with Mike and Lindsey Smith of black Tabby studio, which is a family owned company founded by Mike and Lindsey. And they use their combined talents to offer an ever growing selection of greeting cards, thank you cards, tons of pull products, you'll have to check them out after this. I'll link everything you'll find them. And they've been in business now for 10 years, they have some great tips that I'm excited to share with you guys. And they sell their products across a variety of platforms that I haven't had guests sell on before. So I've so many questions for Mike and Lindsey. So I'll just go ahead and get started. Without further ado, welcome you guys. I'm so happy to have you today. Thanks, Jess. Excited to be here. Yeah. Okay, cool. So let's just dive straight in 10 years ago, congratulations. That's very exciting. How did black Tabby studio start? Did what got you into the greeting card world.


Lindsey and Mike Smith

Uh, it's, it's really funny. One of those things, I think, for me was that, um, I've always been really crafty. And with like giving gifts and everything, I've always tried to make things very personal. And I hated like going to like the grocery store and picking up a card, you know, I'm saying so like, anytime I had to get a gift, I would like hand make a little card with like scrapbook paper or like, you know, you know, crappy things. I just make my own greeting cards. Um, and it just so happened that like, I went to college. And for my senior thesis project in school, I majored in studio art. They're like, for art. They're like, do whatever you want, pick something, do it. And I was like, Oh, okay.


Michael has a full time job at a paper company. So I was like, well, you want to know what, like, I'll make greeting cards. They'll make a line of greeting cards that make company out of it. So that was my senior thesis project. And I was like, you know, he's got paper, he's got envelopes. It'll be like, super easy. And so it just started off as like, me creating a little company and I had a brand and make a website, do all these things for my for my senior thesis project. And then it we got I graduated, and it was just one of those things. Michael was like, hey, let's like make an actual business. I'm like, Sure. Let's do it.


Jessica Walker

like a match made in heaven. So you guys, did you go to school together?


Lindsey and Mike Smith

No. So we met in high school? since high school.


Jessica Walker

So you founded you founded the business together? was it was it Lindsay's idea and Mike, did you have to get like convinced to get on board or something you were like in it to win it from the start? No, it was like, I was definitely in it to win it up. Like, I like to take products and put them up there like get them up online. I've always been I've been involved with e commerce since I was actually in high school. Oh, wow. My parents company, which we we've had an e commerce business since like, the year 2000. So like, while I was in college, I was not really internship being there, but kind of, you know, yes, working there during college, and really getting to understand everything about selling online. And, you know, we had our own online shop. And then I got us on Amazon in like, 2007 for my parents company, and then I kind of took all that knowledge and applied it to her business in like, 2011


Jessica Walker

Wow. So it seems like honestly, it feels like you started from an outside perspective with all the tools built it. Like you had the design from Lindsay, you had that art? Yeah. You have the business and the e commerce background and just like together in the paperback, right, like that's, yeah.


Lindsey and Mike Smith

It all it's kind of like fit together. And it was weird that like, we didn't see it coming. It just kind of like happened. And then we're like, oh, that worked out. Oh, that worked out. You know, it was just like, we're like, oh, yeah, you you don't want to do that. Let's, let's do it.


Jessica Walker

Oh, what was that point? Like? What was the turning point when you realize like, this could be a thing. Like, this is an actual business that I want to explore more so than the project that started us.


Lindsey and Mike Smith

Um, it was definitely you know, after I did my senior thesis project, and it was like, oh, like, yeah, this is cute. Like, I have like, now I have these cards. I actually I think in my graduate when I first graduate, I worked for you guys that summer. Right? That's summer. Yeah, yeah. So I actually a couple months because it was the year that like it was it was in 2010. Nobody was getting jobs. No, like it was like nobody was getting hired. And so I was kind of like working part time for them while I was like job hunting. And since they have a paper company and they fell online. It was one of those. I remember we listed some of our products on desktop. We did yeah, on their website. So that was like when we kind of were like, you know, I saw I made the More reading cards we like listen on their website. And they, you know, they, you know, they did what they did, but but it took some time she actually ended up getting another job with another company for until 2013. And throughout that time, we were just it was a side business. Yeah, really. We were selling on our website, you know, getting a couple orders a month from friends from like, friends, family. And even then we got into Amazon, right. But we were just, again, we had just thrown up the packs of greeting cards, and it wasn't really moving until like 2013, I would say, right. And that's that happens to be the year I got assigned to the fulfill by Amazon, you know, and which prime prime m prime Yeah, Amazon Prime. Exactly. So, which basically like 10x, the amount of sales we were getting immediately, just by following that program. So that was when we realized, wow, this is like serious. And yeah, you know, and it's pregnant.


Lindsey and Mike Smith

Oh, yeah, I was I was pregnant. And it was one of those things where I was like, you want to know what like this. I want to pursue this because I want the flexibility once we have our daughter to be able to be home with her when I need to. So it's more about like, you know, let's get this done. So we can change our actual the way, our lifestyle and like so I can be home, if I need to be home, it was tough for me at first because I was like, well, you're making what, you know, good salary, we're able to sustain this side business, and make whatever but thank God, she decided to take it more serious than I did, actually. And she went ahead and quit the job. And just pursued the green car business full time, it was great having the newborn child and being able to spend her time designing greeting cards and not have to worry about getting to a certain job from nine to five or working even remotely at the time a little bit. But it really it fell into place the perfect timing in our lives. And like I said, I thank her for going moving forward. All the time he he played the safe.


Jessica Walker

I love that. And I've actually I have some people that are in my community and actually myself as well that my businesses to a point where I am looking to bring my