Q & A with Lisa Anderson Shaffer, Owner of Zelma Rose

What's your daily mantra?

"Belief in your script is essential." - Bono. Surprising, right? I start everyday with this and it has made all the difference.

How would you advise aspiring makers/creatives to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?

Follow your own trajectory. Easier said than done! With so much influence coming in from social media and print, designers can become distracted from their unique perspective. Your perspective and viewpoint is what makes your designs special. Be experimental, grow, and spread you wings, but stay true to your vision, mission, and values.

What are some of your lesson learned this year that you think would be helpful to share with other small creative businesses?

Risks are really important. No matter how many times you crunch the numbers, review analytics, and investigate the scientific side of your business, there is a lot of magic that happens in the consumer realm that math just cannot account for. Sometimes we don't know what will resonate best with customers and if we don't take chances, we risk potential growth.

How does collaboration factor into your creative process?

I love to collaborate. Working with other creatives stretches my artistic ability and design aesthetic. It keeps my deep passion for what I do alive and exposes my designs to wider audiences. There is a wide framework for collaborations and it is always fun for me to push the boundaries of what my customers have come to expect from my brand through collaboration. Collaboration is a way to offer my customers something new and a bit out of the box, while still maintaining the overall trajectory of my brand.

What’s the most unique part of your making process?

The weave. The weaving process on the Estero Necklace, which has become an iconic piece in my line, is an original method of weaving and knotting that I developed myself over years of study. It creates a clean and modern pattern that is deeply textural. It is still a total pleasure to create these pieces and I love every part of the process. The weave is actually pending copyright design protection as we speak!

What is a community to you?

So many things. Zelma Rose is a full time job and one that I run around the schedule of my 7 year old daughter. I rely so much on my community of artists, designers, shop owners, stylists, photographers, the list goes on and on. Since we are all so busy, it is essential to be able to connect online, via text, Skype, whatever works. Sometimes just a quick DM about an upcoming show, project, or challenge gets me through the day. It's all about knowing who your people are and staying connected.

What's something that you'd like to incorporate into your schedule that you can't right now?

I would love to be able to do more shop visits. Right now most of my inspiration comes from nature, but it is essential for me as an artist to get out there and visit stores. Feel fabrics, try on clothes, look at jewelry, colors, texture, display, all of it. Inspiration is often a cauldron of experience and I like a spicy brew.

Where do you see retail environment transform in the next few years?

Wow. This is such a big question. I think for artists and designers it will be imperative to really offer a well branded and strong online shopping experience. Coupled with that, it will be essential to create and maintain close relationships with brick and mortar stores that really believe in your designs and process. I think the days of casting a wide net are ending and focus needs to shift on intensifying and strengthening a smaller circle of relationships.

Who is the biggest hero in your journey and why?

During the 7 years that I have been in business I have been incredibly fortunate to work alongside and partner with the most incredible women. I am continually blown away by the talent, passion, creativity, brilliance, and open-heartedness of the women I know in this business. They are my heros.

Anything else you'd like to tell us?

If it's not fun, you're doing it wrong.