Entrepreneurs Show and Tell
Lisa Albin BArch 90 explains how she developed Iglooplay, her award-winning furniture design company.
entrepreneurs, starting a business is much like a three-ring circus. The
ringmasters of their own livelihoods need to choreograph efforts, manage moving
parts and – without a visible hitch – deliver a product or service to an audience
that waits (hopefully) with bated breath. Simply put, there are a lot of balls
floating in the air.
“It’s almost manageable. But
soon, it [can get] out of control,” Lisa
Albin BArch 90 warned students, alumni and others attending last Saturday’s
Mindshare, a full-day conference/inspiration
session hosted by RISD’s Career Center. Mindshare brings together experts in design and technology to speak
to future entrepreneurs.
“You can be seen as a slave
for your service – and it can be backbreaking,” Albin went on to explain. But there
is a way to make it all work – and
get a bit of shut-eye in the process, said the founder of Iglooplay, an award-winning design company that makes “playful
furniture for all ages.” For those nurturing start-ups, remembering to balance demands
is the name of the game, she said.
“You have to know when to put
[the work] down” – before it becomes “an obsession.”
The alum, who majored in
Architecture at RISD, knows a little something about becoming obsessed with
work. Iglooplay quickly gained recognition thanks to positive reviews in the
national press, including a shout-out from New York
Magazine , which named the
company’s “mod rocker” the best child’s chair in 2008. Enjoying the wave of
acclaim, Albin even sent samples of her work to First Lady Michelle Obama. “It doesn’t hurt to shoot for the top. You can’t be
shy, right?” she asked with a wry smile.
The real-time testimonies shared at Mindshare are invaluable for students and future leaders hoping to run their
own business one day, notes Gregory
Victory, director of RISD’s Career Center. “It’s a springboard for RISD
students and alumni. They can tap into the entrepreneurial
spirit of successful artists and designers.”
CEO of Citia, a company that works with publishers to develop speed-reader
versions of their books in app form, also told Mindshare folks that they need a
business plan with a vision – in fact, one that includes a frank understanding
of the power of capital.
“People in the arts are
allergic to [money]. But if you want to run something, you have to get over
it,” Holliday said, adding that in order to start her own business, she needed
serious capital. “If you want to do things on your own, like I am, you have to
be clear about money... [without being] greedy for it.”
Holliday was also quick to
point out that bringing in the Benjamins shouldn’t be the only thing on an
entrepreneur’s to-do list. In every job, she learned valuable skills that she
has deployed later. For example, during her waitressing days, she got a
crash-course in human psychology. While editing commercials for a broadcasting
company, she gleaned the importance of attention to detail. Even learning how
to change oil shouldn’t be a missed opportunity, she said.
“Nothing is not worth learning,” Holliday pointed out.
“You can put those skills in your bag of tricks. It ends up connecting, the
more things you know how to do. Curiosity is your natural gasoline.” —Abigail Crocker
· RISD Entrepreneur
tags: News by Department