Have you ever just sat back, read a piece of someone’s story and been 100% influenced to make better of your own time on earth? That’s the feeling I caught when reading what Britney Guerra had to say about starting The Bella Bean Studios. A company that has a lot going on in the t-shirt department, but also takes on home goods and accessories as well, Britney has her hands full and she seems to be totally okay with that. Other than providing an inspo dose, Britney also talked about her favorite duo, lessons learned along the way, and what we can expect from The Bella Bean Studios in due time.
Kendra: Have you always been interested in design and fashion?
Britney Guerra: I have always had an interest in the way people express themselves especially via Fashion. The pieces people choose to wear say things to others without them speaking. And sometimes our shirts literally say things. I love a good witty saying or a fun matching family tee so this is an arena that I love being a part of. There is nothing better than a good graphic tee. I know I can probably speak for most when I say I have some favorites that I have for years and don’t plan on getting rid of any time soon. Regarding design, I have a creative side that I like to explore. I loved writing as a kid and really enjoyed taking nothing and putting it together to make something out of it. Sometimes the best results are least expected.
Kendra: Before you launched on Etsy in 2017, were you making tees and selling them at like local farmer’s markets or anything like that?
Britney Guerra: I didn’t start selling until I launched in 2017. I wanted to make sure that I would have a proof of concept that was successful, and I could build upon. I took a very large part of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 to plan and research before I started to launch my company. I wanted to make sure I provided quality items that I would use or wear on a daily basis.
Kendra: You have a lot of items including pillows and tees. Speaking of which, you design a lot that can be paired with another. What inspired that concept within Bella Bean?
Britney Guerra: My inspiration came from two things. My family is first. I had my daughter in 2016 and while I was pregnant with her I wanted cute tees and designs that I couldn’t find anywhere or when I reached out to businesses to make them, they couldn’t customize them to what I wanted them to be. A lot of discussions happened with my husband and we would put pen to paper to draw up a business plan and figure out what we needed to do to make this successful. A lot of trial and error took place.
My second inspiration came from our lifestyle. My husband is active duty military which proves challenging for me and my career because of how often we move. I worked in corporate America and I was finding it difficult to move up in positions and live up to my full professional potential because the assumption was I would be leaving in a couple of years. I finally realized if no one was going to invest in me, I would have to invest in myself. I have always wanted to start a business and feel like I have that entrepreneur spirit. The idea of working for no one else but myself was the goal because I knew I could move anywhere in the world and still have my business and something for me to continue to challenge myself professionally. This has been a huge part of my “why” and inspiration for wanting to create something I was in charge and no one else could deny me a promotion or a position because of our life. I am now in a constant state of relying on me to make my future, not someone else- which is how I prefer it to be.
Kendra: If you could pick any famous duo to rock a pair of your tee, which would it be?
Britney Guerra: Hand down, Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell. I adore these two. They are so raw in the way they present themselves both in their strengths and their flaws and I love this about them. They show they are human and are constantly evolving as people to admire.
Kendra: When you first started Bella Bean to now, how do you feel you’ve grown as not only a designer but an entrepreneur?
Britney Guerra: This journey has taught me so much already. I have learned what it Is like to make different sacrifices than I have before. I have had to say no to things that I have wanted to do in order to accomplish my business goals and I am ok with that. But on the other end, I have learned to balance my professional life and personal life and it is ok to say no to things. There is a question I ask myself when I face challenges “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Basically is the decision I am making going to be worth the effort, resources, the stress in the long term? And sometimes when I am handed lemons, I make lemonades or margarita depending on how bad my day was. There is a lot left I have to learn and I don’t think I will ever get to the point where I know it all, nobody does, so this journey has made me more open to learning and feedback from other entrepreneurs.
Kendra: Can you let the people know what you have going on with Bella Bean Studios in the coming months?
Britney Guerra: I am working on new designs for the upcoming fall as well as new products to offer customers. We are coming out with a line of fun beauty/makeup bags and more home goods like customized coasters and mugs as well as some seasonal items for the holiday season. I am thrilled at where this has taken me and so thankful to have a creative outlet to design and interact with people from all over the world.