JOY VENTURE | Kenny Sipes on pouring into people & purpose

A lot of people think I’m crazy and they’re like ‘I don’t get it, I don’t understand why it’s working’ and I tell them it’s because I got out of the way. My favorite saying that an old guy taught me years and years ago is — if you want to be happy, forget yourself.
— KENNY SIPES, Founder, The Roosevelt Coffeehouse

Talk to anyone who frequents The Roosevelt Coffeeshop in Columbus, Ohio and they'll tell you what a great guy Kenny Sipes is and how they love the mission of his shop. His nonprofit coffeehouse has become a magnetic hub for people looking for community, good coffee and to do a little good in the process. The Roosevelt is fueled to give back by supporting three human-centered, justice-driven issues: providing clean water, fighting hunger and abolishing human trafficking. 

Kenny's story continues to gain coffee clout and the Roosevelt has become a community darling in the social enterprise space. That reality is a far cry from the 40-day stint he spent in rehab as a teenager, the years growing an urban record store, and his beloved service as a youth pastor to middle school kids. Even as he employed the hard work and discipline he first saw his father model, he also recognized his gift of being a connector of people. For Kenny, an ideal way to be faithful to what he was being called to do was open a communal space centered around coffee so he could pour into people and purpose in life-changing ways.  

Kenny is an open book on this episode, sharing his unconventional road to entrepreneurship as well as his next moves with The Roosevelt -- including one rather lofty aspiration (we hope you're listing Jeremy Cowart).

JOY VENTURE | Katie & Josh Emrich on going small & going home

I feel I’ve found this calling working with small businesses and I don’t feel like I have to make excuses for not having these big clients. I’ve worked with big companies and I’ve just found it to be a soul-swallowing process because they are so risk adverse, so many people have to sign off on the work, and you’re so far removed from the decision-makers.
— JOSH EMRICH, Emrich Office
Design becomes other things. It’s not just on a computer or on a piece of paper. It’s how you see the world.
— KATIE EMRICH, Emrich Office

Emrich Office is perhaps best summarized as the artistic vision of Josh and Katie Emrich that is made full with their four kids and one rather spectacular basement studio in Indianapolis. It's also a long way from Colorado and the design mountains Josh was trying to scale just a handful of years ago. But as Josh explains, summits can look awfully good from the ground, but from the summit, base camp has a genuine appeal, too.

Josh and Katie share their journey of slogging through a recession-era climate in attempt to go big,  and keep the gears cranking. What they ultimately found was a greater reward in embracing the appeal of small — both with regard to their business size and those of family-owned businesses that comprise their client list.   

We learn that behind a great designer is... another great designer. And that's what makes this duo work so well in running a successful design business and designing a deliberate way of life for their not-so-small family.

Insight, wisdom and lessons learned abound in this third installment of our "Indy or Bust" series featuring Indiana-based creatives. 

JOY VENTURE | INCH x INCH: there’s power in pursuing the small things

We didn’t set out to create a business. It was more about how can we create something cool and possibly do a little good in the world.
— DREW HILL, co-founder, Inch x Inch
It sounded just ridiculous enough for us to get really excited about it.
— BOB EWING, co-founder, Inch x Inch

When two longtime friends and artists decide to finally collaborate, naturally they land on... one-inch buttons?

As quirky as it sounds, Drew Hill and Bob Ewing gravitated to this tiny canvas with much a bigger purpose in mind. What if they could get other artists to submit designs? What if by buying a series of rad buttons from Inch x Inch, patrons would also be supporting arts education (which is continuously in danger) and fuel a future generation of artists? What if their own idea about collaboration turned into an organization that was fully reliant on collaboration and committed partners?

Drew and Bob talk about the importance of side projects, how theirs came about and ensuring it wasn't all about them, and how something as ridiculously inconsequential as one-inch buttons is actually making a tangible difference. 

JOY VENTURE | Bob Ewing on growing...one word at a time

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There were lots of days that it sucked or I thought (the work) looked horrible. But it didn’t matter really what the outcomes was, it was more about that I did it every day. If you’re going to do something new, set attainable goals.
— BOB EWING, art director/designer at Element Three, handletting artist

Want to get better? Want to develop your talent or birth a new one that's been waiting to emerge? Then show up every day and do the work. That's exactly what Bob Ewing did for more than 500 days with his self-described "daily lettering project." Each day Bob would draw a new word and post it to social media — not for the likes and love, but mainly for the discipline.

That discipline has paid dividends for Bob as a designer. It's led to new opportunities, new collaborations, and deeper connection to community — something that's every bit as essential to his growth as a designer alongside his markers or stylus.

Bob shares his journey of perseverance and how, as a creative, he's had the opportunity to design a path for himself — as well as one that others can follow on and travel as well. 

Bob is the first in a series of Indiana-based artists we're featuring on our INDY OR BUST road trip. 

NEW WORK | The Growlery Beer Co.

Jeremy and his team provided us with awesome service and created a set of logos that we can be very proud of.
— Kevin Denard, Co-owner

A new brewery in Alberta, Canada called The Growlery Beer Co. A Growlery is defined as a place of refuge for the ill humoured and out of sorts. The brewery will be a place where people can come to disconnect from outside distractions and get back to engaging in conversation with people you may not know but have alot in common with, like a passion for locally crafted indepedent beer.  

A grizzly bear is the animal that best suits people when they are “ill humoured”, but also ties into the owners love of the outdoors and local national parks. They wanted a vintage feel, but with a modern look. Also, Alberta is the home of some of the best barley in the world and coming from an agricultural family, they feel very close to the local growers.

JOY VENTURE | Ben & Beth Stafford on adopting new ways to live & work

There’s much to be said about investing more in people than your business; and one may directly influence the other.
— BEN STAFFORD, Foxmeadow Creative
It’s something really important to us that we prioritize, family time and work time, and that’s helped us keep our sanity. We don’t work all hours of the night and day, we want to make sure we have time to spend as a family outside of work.
— BETH STAFFORD, Foxmeadow Creative

A move. A pivot. A layoff.  And a whole lot of pursuit into the unknown.

For many of us, this kind of change, disruption and lack of clarity can be unnerving. For Ben and Beth, they are choosing to see an alternative plan for how best to approach work and the art of living a purposeful life.  

Becoming familiar with their story, one could easily be reminded of the lyrics to Divine Intervention, the opening track to Matthew Sweet's classic 1991 album, Girlfriend.

I don't know where
I'm gonna live
Don't know if I'll find a place
I'd have to think about it some
And that I do not wish to face
I guess that I'm counting on his
Divine intervention.

Hopeful, heartbreaking, funny, honest and real — these are perhaps the best ways in which to illustrate a conversation with two big-hearted creatives that are pursuing a path less traveled with no regrets. 

JOY VENTURE | Amber Runyon on bringing light into the darkness

“I believe that if we can teach little girls to dream that they'll be the force that changes the world.

But more than that; I believe that if we can teach broken women to dream like little girls again, it will be a force the world is yet to see.”

AMBER RUNYON — Founder, Legacy, and Eleventh Candle Co. 

Changing the world can be daunting and overwhelming. So how do you do it? How do you seek justice without being crushed by the injustices around you?

According to Amber — one small act at a time. Oh, and start a candle business while you're at it.

This former hospice nurse will tell you that running a nonprofit organization that owns a for-profit business isn't easy. She'll say she never set out to be an entrepreneur. She'll admit to not even being a fan of scented candles — the kind her company, the Eleventh Candle. Co., makes. But in the next breath she'll tell you she couldn't sit on the sideline and do nothing as she saw women in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio — and young girls in Ethiopia — being trafficked; bought and sold like a commodity.  It's exactly how to bring light into darkness — and the powerful metaphor isn't lost on her either. 

Amber's story is deeply personal while also being selfless. She's employing women who desperately want to dream again and believe in life's possibilities. She's also giving hope and refuge to little girls a continent away. And she's doing it with some wax, a wick, and a little redemptive storytelling.

Amber epitomizes what it means to change the world with small steps. In time, they add up to an impact that far exceeds expectations.

JOY VENTURE | Ian Burkhart on finding joy after tragedy

“(Regarding my injury) there's a point where insurance believes you've plateaued and you're not going to make any more progress. I wasn't ready to accept that. I wanted to do more.

I asked my doctors about other types of therapy, what else might be out there for me. And that's when I was at the right place at the right time. I was the perfect candidate.”  

—IAN BURKHART, Founder, Ian Burkhart Foundation and first-ever neurobridge implant patient

Ian remembers being a typical, jovial college student having fun on vacation at the beach with his friends. He also recalls the moment when he dove into the ocean waves off of the Carolina coast and hit a sandbar—that very moment when everything changed.

Ian learned shortly thereafter that he had suffered a devastating spinal cord injury. His diagnosis: paralyzed for life. At age 19, Ian's life was forever altered.    

Ian shares his story that is equal parts heartbreaking, heartwarming and, truth be told, literally mind altering. Ian is the first person ever to undergo an elective brain surgery to implant a device that can read his brain waves in effort to help him regain movement. It is here—where life and science intersect, and joy and pain coexist—that Ian speaks with a steady cadence of hope and reason borne of a tragic accident. 

We return to the site of his first internship, Brainstorm Media, which was the type of place he could envision a career after college. Ian gives us the encouragement to be optimistic and inspired, especially when a new set of aspirations are ready to replace those best laid plans.  

JOY VENTURE | Mark Henson on losing that spark—and finding it again

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“I felt like every conversation with a mentor on another business person came back to ‘I don't know what I want to be when I grow up’ and I didn't like that because I knew for the longest time—this is it. I love what I do and want to do it forever... and then I didn't. And that was weird.”

MARK HENSON, Founder of sparkspace & author of Ordinary Super Powers

 

Anyone who knows Mark would likely agree that he's one of the more upbeat and positive people you'll ever meet—and as the founder and creative force behind sparkspace, he's running one of the coolest places on the planet for creative inspiration, personal development and team building. 

And that's all Mark wanted to do. Run a business just like that.

Until he didn't. 

Mark opens up about what happens when you lose that spark for the thing you love, how depression can still get its grips on the optimist, and how figuring out what you're good at—and not simply passionate about—is the key to unleashing your ordinary super powers. This is a story of rediscovery and finding that spark again to do your best work—that stuff you were meant to do.

We also discover some interesting back history on Mark as he reveals tidbits about his life as as Top 40 radio disc jockey in middle America, with a not-so-middle-America on-air persona. 

EVENT | Creative Best 2017

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Last night Slagle Design collected FIVE trophies at CSCA’s annual Creative Best awards. 

Four judges from around the country chose our work as some of the best in Central Ohio in the categories of Identity, Packaging and Print. 

And the winners are: 

Munch Rights: Identity & Packaging Categories (see the work here)

Black Radish Creamery: Identity Category (see the work here)

Capital University Presidential Inauguration Invitation: Print Category (see the work here)

Backroom Coffee Roasters: Packaging Category (see the work here)

 (Pictured L to R) Jeremy Slagle, Becky Slagle, Christine Myers, Casey Carmell

(Pictured L to R) Jeremy Slagle, Becky Slagle, Christine Myers, Casey Carmell

The event was one of the best in years — great attendance from the creative community and very well promoted and planned. The evening went off without a hitch. 

Thanks to this year's co-presidents, volunteers and Creative Best planners for their hard work and dedication to the Columbus creative community. 

Slagle Design is proud to be a part of the Columbus creative scene and organizations like CSCA are at the forefront of keeping us so tightly connected. 

Looking forward to what next year brings!