Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Fusco.
Sarah, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Silla Rojo was first conceived during my graduate graphic design thesis at Boston University back in 2012. A trip to Seville, Spain inspired the name, “red chair,” because I immediately fell in love with the bold, colorful, and laid-back attitude of the country.
I combined this playful spirit (embodied in “Rojo”) with the importance of slowing down in life to appreciate the beauty around us (embodied in “Silla”). Siesta anyone?
The brand emerged as a few greeting cards, posters, and a brand book. It was just a fun project to help me break into the advertising industry (which it did). It also misled people into thinking I spoke Spanish (which I don’t).
But long before getting my master’s degree, I sketched and gave handmade birthday cards to friends and family. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until friends started asking if they could buy my drawings, however, that I realized I could turn this hobby into a side-hustle.
In 2016, I launched Silla Rojo on Etsy with 9 greeting cards. The shop has since grown to 30+ items and makes most of its revenue in custom illustrations.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Starting a business requires some major spending upfront. I took a lot of financial risks, in the beginning, ordering large quantities of products that I didn’t know would sell or not. And some of them still haven’t.
It took a lot of learning to master the art of Etsy SEO and tagging, to get my products seen in Etsy search results. It’s still a “pay to play” seller’s landscape, so it’s difficult to get attention with limited funds.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Silla Rojo helps people make others feel loved and appreciated while being themselves. The stationery line lets you say what you really want to say. Like, “I’m sorry for what I said when I was hangry” and “If you were a song, I’d put that shit on repeat.” The custom illustrations let you give the most personal and memorable gift to loved ones.
As the owner and sole designer, I have created a unique and colorful style of the brand that is completely ownable. I offer greeting cards that you won’t find from Hallmark, and my illustration style is all my own. Some of my cards make my mom blush and I’m ok with that.
What were you like growing up?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to draw and make things with my hands. I had a strong creative role model in my father, a self-employed woodturner, who always encouraged me to consider a career as an artist. He definitely sparked my entrepreneurial spirit. I was full of energy and could accomplish anything I put my mind to.
At age 7, I began selling yarn ankle bracelets to my relatives. In middle school, I took to sewing purses and creating wire jewelry. In college, I taught myself design software and sought out every freelance job I could get my hands on. I’ve always loved to be busy.
- Custom pet & home illustrations start at $50
- Greeting cards $4.50
- Website: sillarojo.etsy.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Instagram.com/sillarojo
- Facebook: facebook.com/sillarojo
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/elliemfusco