I started my company, How to Live, in 1992. I was thirty-four, and I was a single mom. My son was three and looking up to me as if I should be standing for something. I think there's too much fighting AGAINST in the world. I wanted to stand FOR something. So I wrote down what I loved and what mattered to me about the island where we lived - a list of everyday simple things that went from the quirky to the sublime. Then I doodled on it in happy colors. And that doodly list became a design called "How to Live on an Island."
I put the design on t-shirts. I packed the shirts into my car and drove around with a pop-up tent and sold them at craft shows from Shelter Island to Chincoteague. Because people liked and responded to them, I had black and white cards printed of that design, and I hand-painted each one, shrink-wrapped them with Saran Wrap and an iron on my kitchen table, tied them with string and glued on a shell. And I began selling them to stores. All the "How to Start a Stationery Business" books I read said I needed to have at least fifteen card designs (Happy Birthday and Get Well Designs) and a marketing plan to even THINK about starting a business. I had one design (and it was a quirky philosophy card for no occasion). But that didn't stop me, because, what I did have was a little kid depending on me... And so, How to Live began...
Today, How to Live has become a Long Beach Island landmark, with two locations in the heart of Beach Haven. Come visit us for a little bit of magic, inspiration, and happiness. We would love to see you.
For more updates about Sandy and her work, visit her website at www.sandygingras.com