Creative people are always up to something, and my former business partner, Tauron Ferguson, is no exception. This is the woman who described her sister’s seasonal business to me in glowing terms back in 1998, to which I replied, “Gee, that sounds like fun!” Next thing I knew, we had put on our entrepreneur hats, and were off to a Las Vegas seminar to learn how to build a gourmet gift basket business ourselves! When Tauron shared she had something new up her sleeve that was using her creativity, I had a moment of deja vu.
Tauron and I go back a long way before that fateful day. She was literally the first person I met after moving to Minneapolis, inviting me over to her home where we chatted while her firstborn, Renick, who was profiled here a while ago, cooed in his infant seat. Tauron and I have so many things in common: our fashion merchandising backgrounds, love of sewing, Gemini astrological sign, advocacy for people with disabilities, and gift of gab.
Tauron’s sewing and organizational skills were in full form when she spearheaded a volunteer group to raise funds for our local Children’s Hospital. Riding herd over our group, she ensured a steady flow of handcrafted items, and often sewed far into the night to complete the inventory needed for a special event. Tauron’s extraordinary facility with color and texture served our gift basket business so well – her designs were beautiful and meticulously assembled for a flawless presentation. It is not surprising she would again turn to entrepreneurship as an outlet for her creativity.
Fast forward to the present day, and Tauron is using her creativity and boundless energy in what Pamela Slim (Escape from Cubicle Nation) calls a side hustle. A sideline business is a great way to incorporate entrepreneurship while keeping your day job. Even though she is busy in her current career as a kindergarten paraprofessional, Tauron has launched a new endeavor: Whimsy Fashions! Whimsy’s products are just so “Tauron” – vibrant, happy colors, dancing patterns, soft textures, and fun details.
“I have always enjoyed creative projects incorporating color, textures, and fabrics,” she relates, recounting how as an entrepreneur, she learned perseverance and commitment along with me as our gift basket business weathered the economic aftermath of 9-11. With Whimsy, Tauron is using her training in fashion merchandising, her affinity for patterning and lifelong sewing skills to indulge her creativity. Any entrepreneur will tell you it’s important to assess your strengths when you are contemplating opening a business. But entrepreneurship can also be an outlet or a counterpoint to other aspects in life as well. Such work life integration is becoming more common as people seek personal fulfillment.
For many people, the urge to create is best manifested with a tangible product. Suggesting a sideline or main entrepreneurial venture that is more abstract, such as content creation or a more hands-off online store, which is how Pete and I have built our business activities, doesn’t work. Instead, be it in fiber arts such as our story on Buttercup Baby illustrates, woodworking, paper creations, or something else with a product that the creator touches and feels, handcrafting an item for sale may be a better choice for certain creative types.
Whimsy’s product line is diverse, consisting of hats, mufflers and scarves, and even products for pets, as demonstrated by the inimitable Dudley Ferguson here, who has his own career as a companion dog. (Tauron gets to drive him to his various gigs, but he is the main attraction!) The pet toys and blankets are fashioned from leftover materials, ensuring nothing goes to waste. This is a smart business move, too, opening up another line of distribution to diversify appeal.
Entrepreneurship runs in the family: husband Richard helps with photography and social media, and step-mom Pat is working on a new website that will launch in January. Proving Whimsy is definitely a family affair are the real-life models for Whimsy Fashions: Tauron’s nieces, Hailey and Brittany.
With all of the options to market creative products by integrating online promotions such as Etsy and social media, with networking events, craft shows, and boutiques, it is easier than ever for a budding entrepreneur to access creativity and skills to supplement or even replace traditional income sources.
Whimsy is the perfect example of work life integration – blending talents and crafts you enjoy into product creation and sales for revenue that is fun and rewarding. There is so much joy and satisfaction that an entrepreneur can derive from building a business using skills and creativity. We hope that you are inspired to evaluate your own talents and tap into your own creativity by this and the other examples we feature. Please visit Tauron’s Etsy store and like Whimsy Fashions’ Facebook page for more!