As you know by now, I love sharing about companies and products we love on the blog and our Instagram - and most especially those made right here in New England. Next in our series of interviews from New England Makers, we have Jennifer Fisher from Simply Equine Design!
Jennifer Fisher is the woman behind Simply Equine Design - she is best known for her incredibly realistic, hand-painted horse stall portraits and signs.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.
Jennifer Fisher: I am a graduate of Colby-Sawyer College and have been a full time graphic designer for the last 13 years. I've been running Simply Equine Design (SED) on the side officially since 2012. Through SED I've branched off into photography — I often would travel to people and photograph their horses for painted portraits. From there, I frequently received photo requests so 2 years ago I decided to split the two and keep SED strictly for art. So currently, I quietly run the two simultaneously alongside working full time and being a mom — it's crazy haha. Holidays get hard, as my turnaround time often takes 4 weeks from start to finish, but I'm very strict about deadlines, and once the order deadline for holidays is up, that's it. I generally will close the shop after the cut off to reduce the number of requests I continue to receive. But it's fun.
How did you start Simply Equine Design? Had you been making stall signs for awhile or was this a new leap for you?
JF: I made my first sign in 1999, for the horse I was leasing. I wanted him to have a fancy sign, but I couldn't afford one, so I hand carved and painted one myself. It wasn't long after that I was asked by other boarders to make signs for their horses. I ended up painting signs for the entire barn that summer. Ten years later, when I bought my first horse, I revisited my signs and due to the amount of interest, I decided to open up my Etsy shop.
What does a typical day look like for you?
JF: Currently, SED is a weekend job so weekends can be a little chaotic. There is no typical day for me, I grab a time to work wherever I can find it — thank goodness for nap times!
What is your favorite part about owning your own company? And least favorite part?
JF: As what I do is completely custom, I love connecting with clients and learning their stories. Each portrait is very personal to the owner. Whether it be a simple stall sign or a memorial portrait. Knowing their stories is part of my process and makes each portrait a little more personal.
My least favorite part? Finances.
What has been the most exciting moment for Simply Equine Design since you started?
JF: The majority of my business comes from word of mouth, even now as I don't do any sort of advertising. So I would say one of the most exciting moments was to receive my first international order.
What advice do you have for people just starting out with a handmade business?
JF: Work hard, and keep pushing on. Small business are HARD and a lot of work.
What is your long-term goal? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
JF: I see myself expanding my product base to include a handful of non-custom products. I'd love to be able to attend some larger events such as the Equine Affair in Springfield, MA.
Who are some of your favorite New England Makers?
Keep up with Simply Equine Design
All photos courtesy of Simply Equine Design
DO YOU OWN A NEW ENGLAND-BASED BUSINESS AND WOULD LIKE TO BE FEATURED IN AN UPCOMING INTERVIEW? OR WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN HAVING ME STYLE, REVIEW, AND FEATURE ONE OF YOUR PRODUCTS?
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