A Businesswoman & Mentor To Young Women
Featuring interviews with women from all walks of life; business owners, bloggers, photographers, makers, writers & more. Each week a badass woman gets to share their story. The questions may be the same but the answers are all their own. Follow along as a fearless woman steps into the spotlight to speak her truth & own her worth.
Carrie Whittemore, Founder & CEO of Blueberry Hill Design Works
Carrie calls herself an "ink slinging grandmother" and you have to check out our interview below to understood why.
Laura: First things first, how do you like to be categorized or what would you like to be called, in regards to what you do?
Carrie: I am personally a designer/screen printer (ink slinging grandmother!!) Blueberry Hill Design Works is a woman owned-family run business.
Laura: How did you first get started in the industry?
Carrie: My husband and I are both high school coaches and we were always looking for "swag" for our teams. It never seemed to be what we wanted, cost too much and took too long to get.
5 years ago, I told him I thought I could make things for us. He said "go for it". I got a screen print kit from Michael's and worked off our kitchen table for a bit. I realized how much I loved it and bought a 4 color/1 station press and the rest, as they say, is history.
Laura: What is one thing you want people to know about you, that they may not already know?
Carrie: I enjoy reading - if you haven't read Michelle Obama's book, "Becoming" do yourself a favor and either read it or listen to it. She is amazing!
Laura: What do you struggle with most?
Carrie: Time management - running our screen printing business, recently opening an Etsy shop, currently building our website, coaching field hockey (we started our "pre" pre-season last night!!) and being a grandmother to 3 boys we want to spend time with is tough sometimes.
Along with that is "Balance" - getting out and meeting people face to face to make connections vs being in the studio creating and working vs finding time to kick back and enjoy life (I'll be 60 in January) is a challenge.
Laura: What is one thing that comes really easy for you?
Carrie: Making the decision to do what I love.
There have been several turns in my life, forks in the road, that I took the one to follow my heart, my dreams and my passion OVER the fear of doing so. It sometimes took me a wee bit to do, but in the end, that's been who I am.
Laura: When was the first time you started making what you sell?
Carrie: 5 years ago(see above)
Laura: Who influences or inspires you the most in regards to your industry?
Carrie: My brother. He is a manga/anime artist (Adam Warren).
He doesn't do screen printing, but I've always admired his work (okay... I didn't get ANY of those drawing genes....) and his focus on his craft. He is attentive to detail and produces amazing work!!
Laura: What is your first or favorite jewelry memory?
Carrie: Actually, my engagement ring. I literally married my best friend (we walked together at graduation as best buds) and for 39 years we've always worked together.
Rather than his giving me something, we decided, "Hey, let's do this!" (it was the early 80's) and went to pick it out together (as well as a gold chain for him).
To me, even more than our wedding bands, its a symbol of how we've chosen to live our lives.
Laura: I can list why I believe you are a "worthy woman" but I want to hear it from you. What makes you worthy?
Carrie: As both a teacher and a coach (my first career and what I do part time now) I work hard at giving young women a voice. I model and teach being strong, but understanding - your opponents are other people like you, who love field hockey, they just have a different color uniform on. Respect them and respect yourself.
In my business, I am definitely a "work in progress." Each job I held, work I did, business I created, brought me to where I am today.
I love learning and the Internet is one BIG classroom! I enjoy taking classes that open my mind to new ideas and ways of making what I'm doing better. In turn, I've found value in those classes and share it with other women I know. It's one big win!
Laura: And last...if you could tell your 13-year-old self one thing, what would you tell her?
Carrie: It really is all going to work out. Don't regret your mistakes - they'll make you who you are. That short hair cut will be back in style.
Photography by Carrie Whittemore
I was so inspired by this interview with Carrie. I don't know a cooler "ink slinging grandmother" that's for sure! It just goes to show that you can follow your heart & your dream at any age. In fact, Carrie proves that you can have it all and you don't have to choose between one passion or another. She's in the trenches everyday, making sure our young girls are brought up with a voice, a backbone, and a whole lot of grit. She is running her three generations, family owned business. I admire her openness to learning new things and educating herself along the way in business and in life.
To shop the items seen above and more, you can find her on Etsy.
Follow Blueberry Hill Design Works on IG & FB.