What were you doing (careerwise) when you decided to create your
After college, I had been working as a toy designer for a couple of
years in New Jersey and was very homesick. So I decided to move
back to Miami and found a job creating graphics for a T-shirt
company. After a few years of doing that, I missed designing toys;
Miami did not have options for toy designers at the time, so I
decided to open up my own toy design company. I have been designing
toys since and named my company Peekaboo Studios, LLC. In May 2009,
I wanted to supplement my business with another creative venture
that would allow me to expand into another "mom" market -- selling
printables in an Etsy shop and blog called PaperGlitter.
When did you start your business?
Peekaboo Studios, LLC, was started in February 2004; PaperGlitter
was started in May 2009.
When did you know that you could really make a go of
To be honest, I had no idea! But I had to follow my dream of being
independent and doing something I really enjoyed.
How did you turn your dream into a business plan?
I believed the ideas could work. I tried to come up with solid
products for both businesses that would call attention to the
markets I was targeting.
What inspired you to do this?
Aside from wanting to do something on my own, I wanted the
flexibility of working out my own schedule.
What was your start-up cost? How did you get the money, and what
did you use it for?
For Peekaboo Studios, I saved about $2,000 before I started. This
allowed me to get a good computer, scanner, paper, pencils, Adobe
Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, some business cards, and an e-mail
account. That was all I needed to get started. I made a few sample
portfolios and sent them out to people in the toy industry to let
them know I was in business, and the calls started to come in
For PaperGlitter, since I sell printables, the cost was nearly zero
as all the work was done on Adobe Illustrator, which I already
owned. The "goods" I was selling were digital and sent via e-mail
so there were no tangible items or shipping costs to worry
What was the biggest obstacle?
Luckily, the only downside was keeping up with the orders for both
business ventures. I was blessed to have had support so
Did your friends and family support your dream?
Very much so -- they were my biggest cheerleaders.
How did you maintain your confidence when doors were closed in
your face, when people didn’t get it or said “no”?
You have to believe that your product rocks. Originality speaks
volumes: Clients will know the difference, as your products will
stand out, and you will find that you will have to do little
talking if your product really is apart from the crowd … it’ll
speak for itself.
How long did it take for your business to become
It was really right off the bat for both businesses! In running a
design business, everything is digital and the work being sold
(both my toy design illustrations and the shop's printables) is
sent via email. The low overhead costs really helped in that
What’s the hardest part of what you do?
Definitely balancing the toy design business and the Etsy shop
while working from home, raising a toddler (and now being pregnant
again), and spending time with my amazing husband.
What's the most fun part of what you do?
I get to illustrate and design toys, or create paper craft projects
in any given day.
Where do you work from?
I have two home offices. One is located in Miami and another is in
Do you have employees?
I do not have any in-house employees but I do hire freelancers
frequently to help in my toy design business. I find that this way
(especially in this economy) is the most cost-efficient
Do you have entrepreneurial role models? What’s so inspiring
But of course -- Martha Stewart! I read her book ("The Martha
Rules") on a business trip in 2005. I could not put it down! It had
great advice. I would say she is so determined and very
goal-oriented. I am amazed at all of her accomplishments and how
she doesn't let anything stop her.
How did you learn and acquire the skills you use to make your
business successful? How do you continue to grow and learn?
I have loved drawing and paper crafting since I was a child. I
continued to take interest in visual arts in high school, followed
by an industrial design and graphic design program in college. All
that training led me to want to create "cute" things. So,
naturally, I can see why I leaned towards toy design in college.
Today, I take online courses with Lynda.com. I sharpen up my
software skills often as well, so I can be on top of what’s
What's the best piece of business advice you ever
Don't stand behind anything unless you believe in it.
What is your favorite product or service that you offer?
For Peekaboo Studios I like the foam-core paper models of toys. For
PaperGlitter, my favorite is the Paris Party Kit -- it sells like
What advice would you give to Dreamers who haven’t become Doers
What are you waiting for?
Keep Up with Linnette and Peekaboo Studios