Modern Muse, our series celebrating accomplished, stylish, real women. In other words, women just like you.
When she thought the wedding design space was too pink, she stepped in and took the industry by storm. The designer talks running her own creative agency, work-life balance and the importance of saying no. Meet Bliss & Bone co-founder Cindy Skanderup, our Modern Muse.
[Bailey44:] Give us some background on your design career. How did you get your start in the industry?
[Cindy:] I studied fashion design in college, but halfway through I realized it wasn’t at all what I wanted to do. I wanted to make clothes for myself and not follow any rules. Between then and now I’ve worked in fashion design, advertising, t-shirt design and have done a ton of freelancing. When I met my husband Carl he was in investment banking and was pretty miserable. We noticed a niche in the design market that wasn’t being tapped into. Everything was so pretty and pink–there was nothing cool, modern or edgy. So he quit his job and we decided to start a business. It’s been a crazy ride!
What’s been the greatest challenge of running your own business?
Finding balance, especially when you’re working out of your home like we are. It’s really hard to turn off from work mode, and when it’s your own business you can’t really turn off because there’s nobody to pick up the slack. You need to be on the clock 24/7. It’s a grind but there’s so much satisfaction because we see immediate results and every decision we make impacts us directly.
How have you found that balance?
Saying no. It’s hard to implement, but it opens up space and time for the right fit. Learning to say no has helped us figure out who we are, who we want to service and who we service best.
What gave you the confidence to start saying no?
I have so much trust in our ability to be successful and to get things done. I know we’ll make it happen. We’ve also learned that it’s not worth the misery of the wrong client or job, on both ends. You have to know where your strengths and weaknesses are.
What inspired the name Bliss & Bone?
Initially we wanted to be somewhat wedding-inspired without being too frilly. We wanted the name to be soft, but to also speak to masculinity.
How has Bliss and Bone evolved?
Well we launched it as a completely different company. When we started our target market was 25-45 year old career-driven, sophisticated women–women whose wedding isn’t their entire lives. We wanted to give that demographic a luxury solution, so we launched design collections. It helped us get on the map and make our mark, but everyone at that price point wanted custom designs. A year into that we realized it wasn’t scalable. We needed a more automated, budget friendly solution. From that we revamped everything. We built a wedding website platform and a design-your-own application, so now women can build their own invitation suite. Both have been up for a year and with wedding season in full swing it’ll be our true test. We’ve been out there long enough for people to know about us, now we’ll have to see if they use us.
What are the staple pieces in your closet?
Black ripped jeans, leather sneaker boots and moto jacket.
Who are your Modern Muses?
My mother and grandmother, who passed away last summer. I always knew she had a major impact on my life but I think about her even more now that she’s gone. She embodied hard work and perseverance, but also had fun. She was something. And then there’s my mother, who’s the most incredible person I’ve ever known. She gets more done in a day than most people do in a week and does it all with a huge smile on her face.