Taking the Plunge

Taking the plunge into entrepreneurship

How do you know when it’s time to go out on your own? We asked Karen, the owner and Creative Director of Fiore Design how she decided it was time to leave her corporate job and start her own design studio.

When did you decide to start your own design studio?

I had spent 15 years in the design department of a large corporation and was a new mom. I figured it was a good time to strike out on my own and see if I could make it work. The most stressful part of starting Fiore Design was leaving a steady corporate paycheck and good benefits. My goal was to be able to work enough to pay my mortgage.

Did you take any business courses?

I hadn’t taken any college courses on running a business. I learned purely out of necessity. As any freelancer will tell you, doing paperwork is the worst part of the job. Suddenly you go from having one job, to having to focus on sales, HR, and accounting on top of designing and copywriting. The paperwork only doubles when you grow enough to hire employees. I had to learn pretty quickly and come up with systems to make it easier.

What is one piece of advice you could give to someone starting out?

Take the time to consult other business owners to get their best practices. My best advice to give someone else starting out would be to always provide estimates and talk budgets before starting work. Keeping clients aware of where the project is in relation to the budget is also important since no one likes surprise bills.

Another tip specifically for designers is to always double check your files before releasing them for production. When I first started I was awarded an awesome project. In my haste to make the deadline I released the files without bleed. The printer ran with it and luckily was able to scant trim the finals so that the work was saved. Having good business vendors you can count on also helps.

Was there a moment you decided that you had made it?

Since we continue to grow, I would not say we made it as I think that sounds as if you have stopped moving forward. As a small business we continue to balance and grow. Having great people working with me for many years, freelancers that are always ready to help and clients that have stuck around for as long as we have been in business shows that we are doing something right. I am proud of the work we do and enjoy providing solutions for our clients.

Fiore Design’s first office space at 24 W Lancaster Ave in Ardmore.