Building a Retail Shop, Creating a Collaborative Culture, and Hard Lessons Learned from Serial Entrepreneur Katy Sensenig Schilthuis

In this episode, we dive into the topic of entrepreneurship, with Katy Sensenig Schilthuis who began her journey of building brands in 2016. Katy shares her inspiring journey of highs and lows while pursuing her goals through several business ventures over the years. Prepare to take notes as we unravel the secrets Katy found along the way that led her to success. And her valuable insights into the ever-evolving landscape of entrepreneurship. Whether you’re an aspiring business owner or simply looking to glean inspiration from someone who has walked the walk, this episode is sure to leave you eager to explore your own entrepreneurial journey. 

Listen in as we speak about:

  • Katy’s Creative Journey
  • The Loneliness of Entrepreneurship 
  • Nurturing a Thriving Creative Ecosystem 

Katy’s Creative Journey 

Katy’s entrepreneurial journey didn’t begin in adulthood; it started at a young age. With an innate creativity, she recalls her earliest ventures into entrepreneurship when she was just a child. Her family’s motto, “never stifle creativity,” provided the perfect nurturing environment for her ideas to flourish. From her initial foray into cosmetics, crafting sugar scrubs, to creating imaginative concoctions like “candy soup,” and offering services like dog sitting, dog walking, babysitting, and even teaching violin, her youthful entrepreneurial spirit knew no bounds.

After graduating from the University of Oklahoma with degrees in creative writing and Japanese, an unconventional combination, she found herself at a crossroads. Uncertain about her career path, she ventured into the nonprofit sector, where her digital savvy and social media expertise quickly became apparent. Her knack for marketing and storytelling propelled her into the role of a freelance social media marketing strategist, working primarily with small businesses in Oklahoma and later in Texas. However, despite her success in the freelance world, Katie yearned for a more creative outlet. Her father’s encouragement echoed in her mind, urging her to keep pushing the boundaries of her creativity. This led to the birth of her stationary company, Fresh Out of Ink, in 2016. Katie’s company specialized in hand-drawn greeting cards, art prints, and unique gift items. It was a delightful venture that allowed her artistic talents to shine.

The Loneliness of Entrepreneurship 

While running Fresh Out of Ink was fulfilling, Katy encountered the solitude that often accompanies entrepreneurship. The role of a solo entrepreneur can be isolating, as you wear multiple hats and navigate the unpredictable journey alone. In search of camaraderie and support, Katy began participating in pop-up markets around Dallas. It was during these events that she crossed paths with other like-minded women who were crafting and creating unique goods. The need for a supportive community of makers became evident.

Then, serendipity struck. While visiting a local shop in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas, Katy learned about an available space next door. Initially hesitant, the idea suddenly clicked: this could be the community gathering space she’d been envisioning. She signed the lease for and in May 2018, the first iteration of Mosaic Makers Collective was born.

Nurturing a Thriving Creative Ecosystem

Over the years, Mosaic Makers Collective has flourished, expanding to encompass approximately 2,000 square feet in the Bishop Arts District. What sets this unique boutique apart is that it represents over 100 women, all Texas-based, who design and create a diverse range of goods, from stationery and clothing to jewelry, home decor, baby products, and more. Every item in the store carries the distinctive touch and story of the talented women behind them.

The driving force behind Mosaic Makers Collective is its commitment to community, education, and empowerment. In addition to providing a platform for women to showcase their creations, Mosaic Makers Collective hosts events, workshops, and happy hours, fostering connections and collaboration among local makers. Katy’s vision has come full circle, from her childhood entrepreneurial dreams to creating a vibrant ecosystem that supports the dreams of many talented women.

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