The Beginning of Fancy Pants
Fancy Pants Designs is known for creating inspiring, vibrant, and happy products. As we got to know Jodi Sanford, Fancy Pants' owner, for this piece, we realized that those are the same qualities she exudes. Jodi's vibrant, happy personality is infectious and it's clear that her happiness is infused into the products she creates.
With the space in her basement, a women's business loan, and a passion for creativity, Jodi ventured into the world of entrepreneurism, but first - with a laugh.
"I started my own 'dance studio' with a friend in the 7th grade. We had about five students. My parents let me use a room in our basement and even opened me up my own bank account under the business... I think I was born to be an entrepreneur!"
Even at a young age, Jodi had the entrepreneurial spirit. When the opportunity presented itself, she took her passion for scrapbooking and turned it into a blossoming business.
Jodi and Jared Sanford, the owners of Fancy Pants Designs
"I've been interested in paper and stickers since I can remember!" Jodi tells us as she delves into her adoration for the papercrafting industry, "if I went to a store, I was always looking for the latest paper products or sticker collecting albums that were available... and I am still that way today. Even though I have the wonderful opportunity to produce my own paper and embellishments, I still love to find anything: stationery, gift wrap, office supplies, etc. at EVERY store!" Jodi exclaims.
"But really, I became an entrepreneur because I became a mom - and that would always be first in my book," she tells us, "So, through my talents and love of scrapbooking, I ultimately decided to create for others with ideas that, I felt, were missing on the market, and I still try to come up with unique ideas as often as I can!"
And there - a company was born.
The Early Days of Fancy Pants
"Fancy Pants Designs started in our little basement home with a women's business loan - though it was my husband's belief in me that Fancy Pants Designs became a full fledged company. I don't think I would have taken the leap if he hadn't been so sure of me!"
On Fancy Pants Designs' trendy website that's full of project ideas, free downloadables, and more, Jodi describes her husband as "the business person" and herself as "the creative person." She describes their company as an exciting opportunity to bring creative ideas to life, where they "took a chance on a dream." Her positivity glows when she talks about Fancy Pants' early days - even the difficult ones.
"Gosh," she told us, "the first year was rough and I remember crying, wondering why we were inspired to start a business that was barely providing enough to pay the loan debt - when the whole reason we started the business was to provide a secondary income for our family while my husband worked and finished school. Not to mention - we had two children under the age of three with a new baby arriving any day when we attended our first CHA show."
Jodi talks about the struggles without forgetting the blessings that came with the hard work too.
"Our house was filled with boxes," she reminisces, "the kids came to find them as comfy spots for playing and watching cartoons. The sacrifices were really blessings, as we grew closer to family and friends. They would come by and help make kits, get things organized, and just make us laugh in the face of stress... just to support us."
Jodi also tells us a little bit about where the name Fancy Pants came from.
"I used to make little paper cut patterns under the name of Scrapper's Lane... cute little post sign as my logo. But, Fancy Pants Designs seemed a little more catchy - and the logo kept popping into my mind... a jean pocket with art supplies popping out! It was just what I wanted it to be!
Fancy Pants and Finding Inspiration
"It's easy to be influenced by anything we see..." Jodi tells us about what inspired her in the early days, but continues to inspire her now, "I think clothing, color palettes, magazines, are all influential to myself - and our designers. Keeping up with trends is great, but stepping outside of the box with a new idea comes from taking something to another level... that inspires me."
As she talks about her inspiration, she also tells us how important her customers are to her in the design process.
"I think that one of our best products was our BigBoard Chipboard! We released mega-sized items to the market - that really hadn't been done before - and the best part was seeing what people did with them! And, that's always the best part... seeing our creativity being multiplied by the thousands because of the talented designers that use them."
"I measure success by how people are using our products. If they love them, it shows in their work!"
Fancy Pants Today
Fancy Pants Designs has moved up from what was a humble beginning in 2004, and is now located in West Haven, Utah - a very small town outside of Ogden. Jodi let us in on what a day-in-the-life looks like for her.
"Because being a mom has always been the reason I started my own business, I work from home for the majority of my days. My scrapbook space, computer, and supplies are all located in our home and if anyone needs me, they know exactly where I am! I do hop over to our warehouse, when needed, to put together ideas, boxes, whatever we need. Overall, I am focused on design oversight, new production ideas, project creation, customer orders... a bit of everything!"
Building Fancy Pants from the ground up, with her hand in a little bit of everything that the business has to offer, Jodi has a clear focus about what's necessary for Fancy Pants' continued success.
"We are a more specialized company in that we sell primarily to local stores and have very few big box stores. It makes it harder to find our line, but we hope that it is worth the effort in order to find something that is specialized and not as mainstream."
When talking about Fancy Pants Designs' successes, there's no hesitation in mentioning the biggest focus of all for Jodi: You. Just like she turns to the customer for design inspiration, she does for direction as well.
"Reaching the end consumer [is what we strive to succeed in most]. Finding out what they are looking for, what we are lacking, and why."
The Future of Fancy Pants
Fancy Pants is still a family run business, being just Jodi and her husband. They work together to bring every creative idea from an idea -to a product that others can enjoy, and put their customers first, every step of the way.
"We have always been, and will always be, a loyal company. We love the people we meet and try to learn and build relationships with them. Because of that, we want our products to be consistent in design and quality - and always, they will. But we are loyal to our customers first, and have a direct connection to them, since it's just us still running the business after all these years."
With that in mind, Jodi has a vision for how Fancy Pants will continue to grow and prosper.
"As we've been doing in recent years, we plan to expand our designs and products beyond the page - yet maintain consistency with the memory keeping hobby that we still love. Change is good," she adds, "but it doesn't mean that we can't integrate change with that we already love. That is our goal."
"I'm proud that we've continued to keep moving forward - reinventing ourselves and our brand with new ideas and direction, despite the many different changes in production, finances, and the industry as a whole!"
Whether it's catering to the customers' needs, being open to adaptation, or maintaining personal belief throughout times of change, Fancy Pants is not only ready, but excited for what is to come.
A note (from Jodi) to others, who might have the dream to make a hobby a profession:
"Learn to enjoy the roller coaster ride. It's going to be filled with ups and downs, good products and bad products, achievements and disappointments. But in the end, it's still a great ride!"