#WesternWomenWednesday Jessica Casteel, Tapadero Annie's
Do you have an online acquaintance whom you have never met, but their online story has become part of your daily news feed? The type of person that you could probably rattle off a few of their recent triumphs or struggles though it has been months since you have connected? That's how I feel about Jessica Casteel of Tapadero Annie's! I would consider her more than an acquaintance after all these years (and business changes for us both!).
In a sea of over-saturated and ripped off graphic tees, Jessica is rewriting the rules. She not only has a very distinct style due to her art but also, an incredibly unique business model. I hope this inspires other start-ups that dream of beginning or expanding, but feel capital holds them back. It's time to start thinking outside of the box, over come your challenges, and abandoning an "all or nothing" notion of small business. Jessica is a devoted mother, ranch wife, AND small business owner. Ladies, it is possible and here is just one example that you can too!
1. Name. Age. Location.
Jessica Casteel, 27, Vale South Dakota
2. How did you name your business and what do you do?
Tapadero Annie's name is inspired by our two kiddos, Haddie Ann and Tapadero Thomas. I wanted an outlet for my doodles, other than letting them sit in a sketch book so I design graphic tshirts, home decor and other accessories.
3. You have such a great business format, can you tell us a little about your system and why it works so well for you?
Each month, I draw a series of designs and update my website where folks can order tees on a pre-order basis (generally 6th- 16th of each month), the orders then get sent to a local family owned print shop and as soon as they are finished I get them shipped out! Other items, like jewelry, home decor, etc if ordered separately away from a tee, they get shipped next day since I have them on hand. I worked hard at sorting out how this would work best with having little to no inventory on hand, low start up cost, the ability to set the shop updates around our work that needed to be done here on our ranch, and working with the small print shop when they were available to crank out the tees quickly.
4. What inspires you to draw and create in all the different mediums you have used over the years?
My passion for drawing really flourished in Middle School I would say, I found myself drawing in class more than paying attention, but I quickly found that if I drew pictures within my notes, or workbooks that I remembered the content I was learning better. My school books didn't show that, though, HA! Through High School I found myself crafting (my mother and grandmother are extremely crafty and have an eye with an unique style), I took on large painting projects at school, banner designs for clubs and teams, and built jewelry to sell on the side. During college you could find my books filled with doodles as I found my way through Anatomy and Physiology classes. I've always got comfort and strength from drawing, painting, and crafting. In the difficult times in life, I could always find myself with a pencil and paper almost loosing myself in my drawing, picturing myself being in the place I was creating on paper, it was an escape for me, a place to heal, a place to relax and grow my confidence.
5. What is your secret to balancing ranch life, mom life, and boss babe life?
I am not sure that there is any secret, most days I find myself feeling rather unbalanced, HA! One thing I do know, is everyday you have to put some type of work towards something you want to achieve, give yourself the grace to accept that the floors will still be dirty tomorrow, laundry will still be in the baskets, the fence will always need mended, and the long list of ranch work will never get shorter. Just go with the flow of the day, and learn to give yourself time to let things come together.
6. What gets you through the hard times?
My husband. He is always there to support me, in whatever I choose to do. He likes to sit down with me in the evenings when I am drawing and help me with angles that I am struggling with (he's much better artist than I am)! Spouses often say, they are each others best friend; but when I say my husband is my best friend I genuinely mean it with all my heart. There isn't a thing that he doesn't know about me and I am so very thankful for him.
7. What is your favorite go-to meal?
Our favorite go to meal is a simple burrito! Some days we aren't in from doing whatever needed to be done on the ranch that day until late so a quick burrito it is! I brown up a package of hamburger, add a can of rotel, can of beans, spices of course then throw a tortilla on the fire, put it all together and top it with sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes......... it's quick, easy, and yummy!
8. What do you listen to in the shop to keep you motivated and pass the time?
You know, I used to like to listen to a lot of music blaring while working, classic rock to be exact-- party on! But when our son was born, and I was driving back and forth from home to be with him in the hospital my husband challenged me to shut off the noise and pray. I have found such peace and a new level of creativity it seems like. So now, I don't listen to anything in the shop, just me talking back to myself, HA!
9. How has social media impacted the success of your business?
Social Media is the basis of how my business has gotten out- and I am so thankful! If it weren't for the wonderful ladies who have gotten tees, or other items and shared pictures of them, I don't know what I would've done! Social Media can really be a pain, but it is an extremely helpful platform when used correctly.
10. What is your favorite quote?
I really had to think about this one- I suppose I don't have a favorite per-say, but my husband always is quoting movies and with Tombstone being his favorite, this quote gets used alot and I love it! "I spent my whole life not knowing what I want out of it, just chasing my tail. Now for the first time I know exactly what I want... and who.. and that's the damnable misery of it" -Wyatt Earp