When a new creative venture is percolating in your mind, it might make sense to move to a more affordable or more nurturing area. Teresa Au speaks to Shannon Maldonado, who quit fashion design and New York to head home to Philadelphia and start her business YOWIE–it began as an online shop, and is now a design studio, store, and hotel. Shannon shares her strategies for finding and fostering community while you grow your creative business.
What you’ll hear on this episode:
- Why Shannon named her company YOWIE
- The beginnings of YOWIE: pop-up shops and unique merchandise
- Creating YOWIE vs. working in corporate fashion
- The dream of a gift shop
- How Shannon quit her 9-to-5
- Serendipity and Pinterest
- Lessons from fashion on building a brand
- How Shannon researched her new business venture
- Philadelphia vs New York City for creative businesses
- Why a sense of place is so important to Shannon
- The connection between community and design
- Humility as a brand ethos
- How to surprise your customer but also establish a recognizable brand
- Thinking of how you do business as an additional creative outlet
- Planning ahead vs taking one decision at a time
- How big dreams can turn into reality, even if it’s not exactly what you’ve hoped for
- Social connections can lead to new opportunities
- Imagining a new life for a historic property
- Brand extension ideas
- How being part of a team helps Shannon take on new projects
- The importance of nurturing employees to take ownership of different aspects of the business
- Why Shannon started her web TV show Small Enough
- Thoughts on finding personal time and work/life balance when you love your creative business
- How social media can lead to in-person community
- The role of AI at YOWIE
- How Shannon defines success
- Shannon’s One Word of 2023
Shannon Maldonado (@helloyowie) is Founder and Creative Director of YOWIE, a creative platform, storefront and design studio based in Philadelphia. After over a decade working in design for brands like Ralph Lauren, American Eagle, Urban Outfitters and Tommy Hilfiger she moved back to Philadelphia to launch YOWIE. Since 2016 YOWIE has been a brand built on community and one-of-a-kind products, events and service.
YOWIE is a hotel, shop, and cafe located in Philadelphia. Founded in 2016 and named “The Coolest Shop in Philadelphia” by Bon Appétit in 2019, the YOWIE brand has extended its outreach to include interactive design workshops, creative/art direction, product design, and interior design consulting for hospitality clients that include Ethel’s Club in Brooklyn, NY and The Deacon in Philadelphia and Dye House in Providence, RI.
With the recent launch of its hotel, YOWIE is cementing itself as a design destination in Philadelphia and beyond. Nestled on a sunny corner of South Street, a block rich in the history of music, art, and makers, YOWIE is a new place to shop, eat, stay and explore the city of Brotherly Love from an insider’s point of view. Philadelphia native and co-founder Shannon Maldonado hopes guests will venture to the different neighborhoods and cultural spaces across the city and feel grounded in the space when they return at the end of their day.
Teresa Au (@tautastic) is an executive for community engagement at Adobe. Her career spans diverse creative fields, primarily in New York’s fashion industry, as well as architecture firms, and now Silicon Valley tech companies. She has always prized working with distinctive design and the interesting people behind it–from designer Elie Tahari to start-up CEOs.
Learn more about this podcast, and find transcripts and links, at adobe.ly/inthemaking. In the Making is brought you by Adobe Express and Adobe Creative Cloud.
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