Vendor Love // Andra Delores Designs
First let me tell you that the heart that this girl has is one of the biggest and kindest I have met in the industry. Along with her love for design and Carabou Coffee she built a successful business from the ground up. AND – that wasn’t enough for the Girl Boss – she started another design company with her new friend Kelly. This business is With Grace and Gold – a branding from the ground up design company. This girl is a hustler and goal getter for sure! I have so much respect for her hard work ethic and awesome design skills she is on my short list of vendors I tell all my clients about. I am so happy to share her heart and business with all of you. I have had the honor of working with her on a shoot last year, and she took my vision for the stationary to a whole new level. This shoot was also published on Glamour and Grace – WHOOHOO!
Read below with a hot cup of coffee and donuts and get to know this wonderful and talented woman!
Full Name: Andra Delores Barkey
Current title/company: Andra Delores Design & With Grace and Gold
Educational background: Bachelor of Arts-Graphic Design (UW-Eau Claire)
What was your first job out of college and how did you land it? Actually, believe it or not, my first job out of college was my own wedding stationery business, Andra Delores Design! But don’t get me wrong…it was a long journey to get there! In college, I worked for two different business owners in the wedding industry. By working with them, I gained immeasurable insight and a behind the scenes look at owning your own business-and I learned so much! I was also so blessed to be able to build a network while working with them, which allowed me to launch full-time post graduation! I have never felt so blessed to be able to do what I love full-time, especially right after graduation at age 21! It’s truly amazing!
What has surprised you the most about owning your own business? Oh girl, I feel like owning your own business is always full of surprises! I knew going into business that I would be developing amazing relationships with my clients, but I never knew that they would turn into life-long friendships! One of my absolute favorite parts of owning my own business is that I get to do it on my own terms, so I can create a client experience that is raw and memorable. This means that I can make the greatest friends and connections a girl could ask for-it’s amazing!
Do you have a favorite stationary set you have designed? I probably have to be honest (and biased) and say my own 😉 But this is mostly because it was the hardest stationery suite I have ever designed! Designing for yourself is nearly impossible! I had way too many ideas, and I feel like I like way to many styles! Once I finally had it nailed down (after many long hours of designing and re-designing!), it was super rewarding sending them out!
With owning two thriving business – what is your biggest struggle? Balance! I feel like it’s a constant struggle for every business owner, but I really try to make an extra effort with this! One of the most important things I can do for myself as a business owner, is make a list of my priorities…and stick to them! For me, those are faith, family, and friendship. When things are feel off-balance with business and life, I always remind myself of my greatest priorities, and start there. It makes business ownership totally worth it!
What do you like about your career? Serving others, for sure! The most rewarding part of my career is that I have the opportunity to serve others, whether it’s couples with stationery design, or women in business with With Grace and Gold! Nothing brings my heart more happiness than knowing I am making a true and real difference in people’s lives. I also love the freedom that owning a business brings! While it is a ton of work, I get to do it on my own terms, and on my own time (usually!)! This also means that I can focus on my priorities, and work when I need to!
Where would you like to see yourself in five years? In five years, I’d love to be continually growing my businesses, and serving more and more couples and women in business! Kelly and I have also been doing a few speaking engagements, so we would love to see ourselves doing more teaching, and reaching more and more women. It always amazes me though, because no matter what I say, I know that life will surprise me, and bring me something even more amazing than anything I could have imagined!
Best advice you’ve ever received? My mom always told me growing up, ‘be yourself, but be your best self.’ That stuck with me, because I always believe in being true and authentic to you! It’s by far the most important advice I could give in running a successful business, but I also think it’s true to always be your best self. Life is too short to sell yourself short of anything less than your best!
Go-to music while you work? Country, for sure! It’s my weakness, and while my hubby would probably prefer I didn’t like it so much…I just can’t help myself!
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and what would you order? This is such a great question, and I never know how to answer it! My answer always changes! Right now, I’m binge watching 30 Rock, and I would love to pick the genius brain of Tina Fey! She’s a strong woman, and a wonderful role model for girl bosses everywhere. I would go get donuts with her because…duh. 😉
Anything else you would like to say to a young person aspiring to join your profession? GO! DO! Often, we are our own worst enemies and prevent ourselves from chasing after our dreams. Above all, it’s important that you listen to them! There is a reason that they are in your heart, and you won’t regret it. DO IT!
Andra you have a true talent and I cannot wait to work with you again – we must have coffee and donuts together soon! Wishing you many happy years with your new hubby and more shoots together!
With Love – Christine