Heidi Miller & Ryan Miller
Tell us about your business.When Ryan was in 5th grade he sat in the captain's chair of an Air Haiti DC-3 with a plane full of passengers and banked the plane around a cloud. By himself. This was highly illegal but it was intoxicating. Ryan got older an grew to love other things, like Heidi. He married Heidi and together they loved to entertain people and send out invitations. They started to design those invitations themselves and started Mango Ink in 2007 to create invitations of all kinds for lots of people. Ryan and Heidi love to travel. They love to experience new things with their kids. They love the incredible, almost magical, system that allows us all to do that & they love design. In 2014 they merged all their loves into one. And so 08 Left began.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.Our studio is simple, and clean. White walls, two desks, with two computers and a printer. The floors are white and we have a simple black and white rug in the center. We have a giant window looking out at some fabulous Pacific Northwest pine trees. In our shipping room, we have more of the same only shipping supplies and boxes galore.
What inspires you?Nate Berkus says it best, “Our homes tell our stories, they reflect the places we’ve been and the people we’ve loved along the way and there can be no more beautiful design for living than that.” We are inspired by the world and travel. By the love of seeing a new place and standing in awe of the diversity on this amazing planet. We are inspired by clean lines, simplicity, and typography. We are inspired by human beings who share their soul with others. Who are quick to help by sharing their gifts freely. We are inspired by living in the present. Not the past or future. We are inspired by stopping and listening. We are inspired by cultivating rest and play. We are inspired by our three kids. We are incredibly inspired by these authors and thinkers: Seth Godin, Brene Brown, Steven Pressfield, & Simon Sinek.
What makes your business stand out?As a wise man once said, “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.” Maybe one of the things that makes us stand out is that we don’t care about standing out. We care more about creating beautiful things. We’d rather seek out the people who value the beautiful and quiet over the obnoxious. We care about creating authentic goods that connect with people and their experience on this planet. We care about creating something that brings value to the ordinary and wonder to the mundane. We care about treating human beings, who trust enough to give us their money, with respect and generosity and empathy as we travel through this life together. We care about doing all of this because it brings us life and joy and a smile. If any of that makes us “stand out” than we are happy to stand out. But if we have to break any of those principles in order to stand out, we’re very content in the back corner of the restaurant, tasting the flavors in our food, listening to the music and being still.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?1. Ask why? Why are you starting this “thing”? If your answer is “to make money”, start something else for a different reason. Any other reason. 2. Admit that you really are, probably, really starting this thing to make money. Changing the world sounds great, but, if you’re honest, well… you see fat stacks in your dreams. You now have a chance to quit and think of something better, again. You probably should. 3. If you’re really at the point where you have a legitimate reason to start what you are starting, well, you don’t need any advice from us… you know why you’re doing it and you have all the motivation and inspiration you need to do it.
What does American Made mean to you?American Made means that an inspiring wage was paid to an inspired person, to craft an inspirational product within the landscape we call America. And this landscape happens to be a very inspiring, beautiful one.
Mark Your Calendar
NOMINATIONS ENDAug. 31, 2015
Final day for entering the Audience Choice Award competition.
VOTING ENDSOct. 19, 2015
Final day to cast your vote for your favorite makers.
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 23, 2015
2015 Editors' Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 7, 2015
Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City. Tickets are available now.Discover the American Made Summit