Meet Inslee

This interview could easily have been counted as a Campus Celebrity (or Honorary Campus Celebrity), but we figured it should be news... front page news. We apologize if that line is cheesy, but it seemed to be a perfect way to introduce the subject of this interview, Inslee Haynes. During college she created Inslee by Design, a way for her to express her love of making illustrations, and soon turned it into a notecard business. Inslee used to be a Washington D.C. resident so she knows her way around our nation's capital, but she recently made her move to the Big Apple where she continues to expand her business. So next school year when you need a new calendar or a new place to visit, Inslee most definitely has you covered! Once you look at a few of her creations you'll see why we're obssessed...

So this may seem like an obvious question, but what were your reasons for creating Inslee by Design?

I created Inslee By Design as a creative outlet and a way to share my art with friends and family, I had no idea it would grow to the place it is in today at the time. I’m so proud of how it has evolved.

During college, how did you balance schoolwork and your education while doing something you love?

Being a college student was my main focus first and foremost, because I loved being in college just as much as I love being creative and entrepreneurial.  It wasn’t until I graduated that I really poured my heart and soul into the business, and began really actively growing the brand. Juggling a growing business and my senior thesis got a little tricky, especially because the brand really took off right as my final push of research and writing set in, but my family pitched in and were amazingly helpful and we got through it.

What inspired you to take the next step and pursue your artwork as a career?

I graduated in 2008, not a great time to find a job! After a few months of thinking Inslee By Design would be a pet project I kept on the side while I worked for a “normal company”,  I realized that none of my leads were turning into jobs and that this was the sign I was looking for to launch myself into my company full time. I’m embarrassed now to admit I saw this company as a side venture at first, because now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But sometimes it takes time to realize a good thing when it’s right in front of you.

Many students feel pressure to forgo doing what they love or are interested in to take on the business world. For today’s college girl, how do you recommend they tackle post-college life?

It definitely is intimidating to forgo a “normal” career path in search of what you truly love when everyone around you is lining up for the safety of traditional office jobs. But that pressure and concern fades quickly as you realize how fulfilled you are by finding a path that suits you. Plus, just wait three years, all those financiers are going to be musing about how they want to quit and start designing scarves…