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Meet Briana Feola and Jason Snyder of Brainstorm

Today we’d like to introduce you to Briana Feola and Jason Snyder.

Briana and Jason, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Brainstorm is the business “child” of two young sweethearts finding their way after art school. We graduated with degrees in graphic design and printmaking/art education, and with no formal business experience found a way to build a full-scale retail business selling creative prints and goods. We navigated through a busted economy with a hearty ambition to be our own boss and a desire to find an alternative to the traditional nine to five, (because society learned that “tradition and stability” are just illusions). The idea that you couldn’t be fired if you were in charge was something that resonated with us early on.

We knew that collaborating creatively gave us a unique voice in the world, and even though we had no formal experience selling art or running a business we never let fear or an empty bank account stop us from trying. While keeping odd part-time jobs to make ends meet, we made and sold prints at craft shows around the country. We learned how to build a website and photograph our work. We built studios in bedrooms and basements and learned the ins and outs of the US Postal Service. We moved ten times in ten years to find the right place to live, work, and thrive.

Through trial and error, we expanded into the wholesale market and Brainstorm became a full-time job for both of us. You don’t know the challenges that lie ahead until they hit you in the face, but failure is a phenomenal teacher. We eventually got married too…one of our best collaborations! Looking back now, we are grateful to the economic recession because it forced us to work harder, learn quicker, and carve a new path to a fulfilling life.

Now we live and work in New Hampshire in an old mill building in Dover. We’ve planted some roots and have built a hefty collection of products that educate and delight. We make goods inspired by science, nature, and the outdoors. The subjects that help us stay grounded and connected and focused on what really matters.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Many people projected their fear onto us about how they envisioned the life of an artist. People fear the unknown, but we tried to embrace that fear early on. The same people who said the life of an artist was one of struggle, lost those “secure” jobs they had for 30 years. So why not try a new path if failure can happen either way? We knew we had the acuity and ambition to keep our heads above water, but it was still a struggle to find people who supported our choices. It was very isolating at times. Our goal was to prove that it was possible to make art and make a living at the same time and many creative entrepreneurs like us sprung from the ashes during this time. But we all had to learn fast…because the landscape changed every day.

Crippling student debt was (and is still) a very real challenge for us. The way you make decisions is affected by this very heavy weight on your shoulders. We never wanted the choice we made to go to college to be the defining decision of our life, so we lived frugally and still do. At different times we lived with stubborn parents and judgemental roommates. We moved often. We took on freelance jobs that spelled disaster from the get-go. We said yes to every opportunity, no matter how difficult or impossible it seemed. Debt and “impossible” challenges caused struggles and fights for us internally, while we were trying to nurture our personal relationship. Looking back it was really difficult to grow individually (and together) while building a business with no script, but we constantly reminded ourselves that working together was THE MOST rewarding thing. And that we valued having time, above all else. Our relationship is solid because of our early journey as artists and entrepreneurs.

Brainstorm – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Brainstorm prints and products are for people who decorate with a fun, spontaneous spirit and have a love for great design and vivid color. As artists, we have strong creative impulses to bridge conceptual and educational ideas with fun, communicative design. We are most known for our screen printed art prints. Poster design is a powerful yet approachable medium and we prefer it as our means of creative expression. We have always had disdain for unaffordable art and the inaccessibility of the art industry.

In response to this, we have kept our products reasonably priced even though the process is still very handmade. Our evolving collection of bright and brainy prints and goods is inspired by science, nature, and the outdoors. We create for indoor spaces by reflecting on the things we love about being alive. In other words, we like to bring the outdoors in. We have continuously followed our curiosity and let the work reflect us as people. We’re glad that resonates with our generation and we’re proud that we can give back to organizations that support the things we love. We like to bring the gratitude full circle.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is waking up every morning and not rushing to be on someone else’s schedule. Success is getting to that place in your mind where you can be grateful for your victories AND your defeats. Being able to rely on and only answer to yourself. Success is finding clarity when working out a problem or making a decision. Success is that really great creative idea manifesting, evolving, and becoming something real. Success is actually cooking dinner and finding a minute to sit with your partner and talk about something other than work!

Pricing:

  • Screenprints $45
  • Digital Prints $20-$25
  • Puzzles $30

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Anthony Shea

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