September 3, 2015
Happy Thursday, ya’ll! We’re thrilled that LEIF will be joining us at our Brooklyn Fair in just a week! We can’t wait to stock up on all these apothecary essentials. Stacy Longenecker is the shopowner and visionary of LEIF and we’re so glad we’re getting to know all about her experience and inspirations.
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?
I chose the name LEIF 4+ years ago when opening my webshop, LEIF. Leif is a Scandinavian male first name. I’ve fascinated with all things Scandinavian, especially Danish — their design and way of life is a big inspiration for me. I chose the name because it’s sort of like a clean slate – the name equivalent of an all white room that I can fill with a curated collection of objects. A lot of the items I stock in the shop have Scandinavian influence.
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
I started out selling only other maker’s work on LEIF, and for a long time now I’ve wanted to create a product under the LEIF brand. I’m not very crafty — I’m terrible at knitting, sewing, and just generally anything you do with your hands, but something about making candles and bath salts appealed to me. My favorite part is choosing and naming the scents, and designing the packaging.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
There hasn’t been a major failure yet (knock on wood), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still challenges or things I could do better. What I’m trying to work on lately is consistency, and making more goals and routines for myself, because otherwise I’m very much a “just do things when they feel right” type of person. Similarly, I’m also a trial and error type of person, so I’ll do things in a way that can backfire sometimes because I didn’t do enough research or plan ahead enough.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
Sometimes I miss the security of a traditional job and to be able to go home at the end of the day and actually leave work. When you have your own business, you can never truly leave work. It’s exhausting; you really have to love what you’re doing.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
When Jenna Lyons placed an order, and when someone came up to me at a trade show, looked at my badge, and just said “you’re amazing” and then walked away.
How does the city you live in influence your work?
Brooklyn is hugely inspiring. I really don’t know if I could live anywhere else. There’s inspiration everywhere you go, and to be among so many creative people doing amazing things is such an amazing thing.
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
Not much, I pretty much just felt it out and figured things out as I went. I’m a big believer in learning by doing (as opposed to studying up/academia etc). But I did go to school for fashion merchandising so I had some business math knowledge from that, and my parents were small business owners so they were able to help me with the basic stuff, like taxes and accounting, etc.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
I’ve been selling things on the Internet since I was 13, everything from vintage clothes to cookies, and I’ve been really perceptive of trends and what people want for as long as I can remember. I started thinking about opening an online shop right after I graduated from college, when I started applying for my first “real” job. No other jobs out there excited me, especially entry level ones, and the thought of having to work for someone else doing something I wasn’t in love with for the rest of my life just didn’t seem like an option.
What are some inspirations for your work?
Color, nature, photography, textures, the 60’s.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Make sure you’re really, really passionate about it is you set out to do — that’s the best thing you can have going for you. And I mean every aspect of it, for example, I actually enjoy shipping boxes (to a point—ha!) and it’s a good thing because that’s a huge part of my job.
Don’t forget to hit up our Brooklyn Fair on September 12+13 at the Brooklyn Expo Center. In the meantime, you can find LEIF’s apothecary products here: