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Austin From Scratch: An Interview with Shay Spaniola, Founder of bunglo

Austin From Scratch is our favorite series on the blog and involves Owen (age 8) and Malia (age 6) interviewing local entrepreneurs who have created a thriving business here in the heart of Texas.  For this session, we sat down with Shay Spaniola, Founder of  bunglo.  We chose bunglo after Shay visited our (Buddy Bars) booth at HOPE Farmers Market and shared some fun stories about having her own business as a child.  We hope you enjoy!

Owen (our eight-year-old son)
What were your favorite things to do as a kid?

Shay (Shay Spaniola, Founder of bunglo)
I loved to make art and start businesses.  In fact, when I was your age I always had this thing about wanting a business.  I don’t know where it came from but I had lemonade stands and these weird little clubs and I was always making art and selling bracelets.  I even sold my drawings on the playground for $.25 cents and people would buy them.  I always had money when I was little, and my parents didn’t have much, so I just kinda made up things all the time.

Owen
How did you go about learning as a child?

Shay
My parents were pretty hands off and they just let me do what I wanted and I just followed their demonstrations. My dad was an entrepreneur; he was a music producer and never went to college.  In fact, he invented a smart home system that controls your entire home and he ended up becoming super successful on crazy ideas that nobody else believed in.  And my step-dad owned a few companies…some that failed…some that worked…so I just grew up with parents that had no routine.  There was not a 9-5 job.  Sometimes they would be gardening on a Monday afternoon and sometimes the would be working at 3 a.m.  I knew I wanted a different lifestyle…something that was similar to what they did.  So that’s how I learned.

Owen
How would you describe your business?

Shay
My business is an inspirational brand.  I want people to feel good when they’re in these products and they’re using them in their homes because when you go home you should feel like it’s a space that’s inspiring and beautiful and it’s going to give you hope.  For example, the bedding you fall asleep in, you should feel really good when you wake up because it’s the first thing you see.  And so I want to create products that make people feel good and I feel like I’m putting out good vibrations through my patterns into the world.

Owen
When did you first know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Shay
Probably when I was your age.  I’ve always wanted to do things.  I sold bracelets when I was little and made a couple hundred dollars one summer.  And then I needed to get a car when I was sixteen and I couldn’t do it with my $7/hour job because it just wasn’t enough money.  So I made some paintings and I displayed them at my mom’s dinner party and I made $3K in one day.  And the next week I made some proposals and I went around to restaurants and they bought my artwork and I ended up making $9K in a month.  It was great…it was so fun!  And then people were calling me non-stop so I continued doing it (selling artwork) and it helped me get through college.

Well, eventually I got bored so I decided to try photography.  And I wasn’t very good and my mother got upset because I spent $1K on a camera.  Anyway, I ended up going on a trip a week later and took photos and I sold them to a dental office and they framed them…very large photos…and I paid for the whole trip and the camera and then I started doing weddings.  Eventually, I got published in Martha Stewart Wedding Magazine and I ended up making $40K during a year in college.  And I took that money and traveled for three years with my camera and I ended up winning an around-the-world trip.

After that I wanted to do more design so I got a corporate job for a year and I really hated it.  So I decided I would make the products that companies sold and so now I’m just going with it.  I don’t even know what I’m doing…I never do…you just kind of go with it.

Owen
What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

Shay
I get to hang out with my dog all day!  And if I want to go to Barton Springs, I can…I really get to do what I want.  And if something doesn’t feel right, I can change it.  If I need a new type of employee, I can search for someone.  I really love my interns and my employees.  I feel that they’re here because they want to be.  I really feel like I get to control my environment.  And if I want to go on a trip for a week, then I go on a trip.  But then I sometimes I end up working the whole night.  I enjoy the lifestyle.

Owen
What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?

Shay
Fear, and that’s because I have to support myself.  And sometimes I’m afraid I’ll run out of money and I’ll be poor and sometimes you have to put all your eggs in one basket and that feels really scary.  But ultimately, I think that if you really believe in what you’re doing, things will work out.

Owen
What would you be doing if you weren’t a designer?

Shay
I think I would still be doing this.  I’m really passionate about helping people follow their dreams and I love pumping people up to do it because I truly believe you can do whatever you want.  So I’d probably be helping other people start businesses….which I also hope to do someday.

Owen
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?

Shay
Yes!  I think the best age to start being an entrepreneur is at your age…because it’s a mindset and if you believe you can do it, you will do it.  I think that if you start being an entrepreneur later in life you’ll have to deal with a lot of fear and a lot of times you have too many bills.  Right now, you’re supported by your parents and you have a place to live and you have food…so really come up with the craziest ideas and try them.

Malia (our six-year-old daughter)
Where did you come up with this idea?

Shay
Last summer, I wanted a change.  I had just quit my job and I had a little bit of money so my best friend and I went to India and Thailand and we traveled around.  And I ran out of money!  I had $3 dollars left so I went to my parent’s house in Michigan and I didn’t know what I was going to do.  So I prayed about it and I meditated about it and one night just before bed I thought to myself, “I have thousands of drawings that I could turn into patterns” and I stayed up for four straight days putting together patterns and a business plan and visualized money and a week later I had my business.  It was like magic!

**********

As we wrapped up our interview with Shay, she offered up one last piece of advice to the kids that I though was was very though provoking, “The one thing you have to remember is that a lot of people will tell you that you can’t do it.  I’ve had a lot of people tell me it’s time to grow up…and it makes we want to do it even more.  Sometimes I want to prove them wrong…and then they end up being really happy for me.  I mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen?  You just gotta keep trying!”

Thank you Shay for the inspiration!

 

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