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Daily Inspiration: Meet Sarah Plonk

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Plonk. Them and their team share their story with us below:

SKP ink all began on accident in 2018. Sarah was decorating the kitchen and decided to draw an everything bagel with the saying “You’re My Everything Bagel” above it and get it framed. Soon, a friend’s birthday came around and she ended up turning her drawing into a greeting card. After that, she drew a few more cards and listed them on Etsy. After having some success, everything snowballed into Sarah quitting her desk job and starting the business it is today. Her and her partner Drew come up with sayings together and print, cut, fold and create everything at home. They also try to live up to their motto of Bad Jokes by Good People. SKP ink is now sold in more than 30 stores in the US and Canada.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The life of an artist definitely has its ups and downs. There have been some very tight months where we are just squeaking by. I do feel lucky that the Raleigh community has really taken to us and I have amazing repeat customers. When the pandemic hit, I thought SKP ink would be over. There were no more in-person markets, lots of locations that carry our products were close but thankfully, our online sales kept us afloat. We feel lucky that we already had a good online presence or I doubt we would still be in business.

Even prior to the pandemic, we had good months and bad – Christmas and Mother’s Day are huge for the greeting card business but some months, we would be scraping by.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Drawing has always been something I enjoyed but I never dreamed of making it my job. It is wild to think how many different things I’ve done just because I let myself be open to those opportunities. My art has been featured on a beer tap from Raleigh Brewing Company in conjunction with Imurj, on Bruegger’s Bagels Instagram, WRAL, and even Buzzfeed! I’ve also done the album art for my partner Drew’s Dad Punk Band TLE. But the thing I am most proud of is having my cards sold in the gift shop at the North Carolina Museum of Art. I have of course, visited this Museum several times during the past ten years I’ve lived in Raleigh and was truly honored when they reached out to me about having my items there.

Over the last few years that we have run this business, we have also begun to foster dogs. We love dogs and since we work from home, we have plenty of time to rehab, train and give these dogs the love they need. Fostering dogs kept us busy during the pandemic and now that in-person markets have returned, we bring our foster dogs with us, which has turned out to be a great way to get them adopted. We often find their new families by bringing them out to markets with us and giving out their adoption information. We even foster failed with one of our earliest foster dogs, Miles, who is now the company mascot.

My favorite thing about what I do is seeing people at markets react to my art. Having a job where you make other people smile just by putting something out on a table is a pretty great gig.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
I think luck has played a huge role in business for us! We were lucky we had an online presence well-established before Covid. We’ve often felt lucky that certain people have found us at markets and decided from that to carry our items in their shop. For instance, the owners of Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill found us at a market we set up at in Cary, NC. They have been very supportive and we may have never come across them otherwise. I’ve been lucky that Drew has pushed me to keep going because, as an introvert, it is not always easy. In my old desk job, I thrived behind a computer working on spreadsheets and forms. A salesperson I am not but Drew has always encouraged me to apply for opportunities that I wouldn’t have tried for on my own.

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