Let’s start with the one-liner – what is your company? What do you sell?
Jaime Zucker: Sugar Lane Graphics LLC. We establish and curate social, corporate, non-profit, and lifestyle brands.
Tell us your origin story.
Jaime Zucker: For almost two decades, I have had the opportunity to work with brands from all over the world to create and refresh visual identities. My involvement in designing and implementing graphic standards for social, corporate, non-profit, and lifestyle companies has allowed me the liberty to use my expertise to successfully blend communications, marketing, and business development together for numerous industries.
My client list consists of Shark Tank Entrepreneurs, Colleges and Universities, Various Print Facilities, Travel & Tourism Companies, Law,
Financial and Pharma Firms in addition to many other industries. I have had the opportunity to work exclusively in-house, remotely through contracts, and virtually for her clients.
Did you need a lot of capital to start your business? How did you finance your business in the beginning?
Jaime Zucker: I started working full time in the house and moonlighting on the side in the evenings. All I really needed and still need is a laptop and software.
Was this an area for which you had passion before you started the business, or did you see a need and move to serve it?
Jaime Zucker: My plan from the time I was in college was to work from home as a consultant. I always knew I would work from home, even in 1998!
How has the business evolved over time?
Jaime Zucker: At first, I started gaining extra clients from networking and connecting with headhunters while I worked in-house for other companies in the early 2000s. I worked full time at various companies in different industries plus freelanced for my company on nights and weekends. Then, after 15 years of working exclusively for one company at a time, completing rebranding rollouts, and establishing in-house design departments, I had so many freelance clients that I quit my full-time job and started working for my company full time!
How did you grow? Tell us about a moment, or moments, in the early days that were “big moments” for the business. What moved the needle substantially?
Jaime Zucker: I connected with a very talented and amazing colleague and he introduced me to a very influential branding expert. This connection made me see the big picture and gave me the strength and push that I needed. It was at this moment that I started working solely for myself.
As you’ve grown, you’ve undoubtedly had to delegate. How did you tackle that challenge?
Jaime Zucker: I am and am supposed to be, the expert. In my mind that means two things; 1. knowing how to do something and 2. knowing what needs to be done which may include connecting with another expert to support in the heavy lifting. As business owners, we can’t expect to know how to complete each need but as a business owner, you must know when you need to pull in another expert to support in completing a highly skilled task.
You know the axiom – no risk, no reward. Tell us about a time you took a big risk. Did it pay off? Did it fail? Or you had a completely different outcome than expected?
Jaime Zucker: If something is in my wheelhouse, I will never tell a client that I can’t do it. I figure it out, research more, or consult with one of my team experts.
Do you/ did you have a co-founder or did you go at it alone? Tell us about that decision, and how that affected you as a leader
Jaime Zucker: I have always been a solo act. I have had amazing clients, colleagues, and great guidance but I have always been a one-woman show. I am not just a graphic designer but I blend communications, marketing, and business development together for numerous industries.
Have you considered taking on additional partners, venture funding, or bank money to grow the company, or have you always bootstrapped?
Jaime Zucker: No.
Tell us about some of your sacrifices along your small business journey.
Jaime Zucker: I have survived a recession and a pandemic. July marked six years at Sugar Lane Graphics LLC.
What is the most gratifying thing about what you do?
Jaime Zucker: I love making my own hours, having creative freedom, and working with as many industries as I can. I really enjoy consulting for companies that need guidance with what to do on social media, e-newsletters, refreshing their look, and updating the websites. I focus on the why.
Who is a leader or someone that you admire? Why?
Jaime Zucker: I love brands as a whole from the digital experience to in-store to the end-user. I love all-encompassing brands like Target, Apple, Old Navy, Disney.
What is a secret weapon that you have that would surprise people?
Jaime Zucker: I love technology and electronic devices! If there is a new app or program, I need to learn how to use it. If there is a new device or gadget, I need to master it.
If not for this business, what would you be doing as a career right now?
Jaime Zucker: Same thing in-house for one company.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Jaime Zucker: Same thing.
What’s one piece of advice that you would give your 18-year-old self?
Jaime Zucker: Always follow your dream and adapt to the challenges of change. Pivot.