From a big idea to an inspirational company, Founding Partner and Creative Director, Stephanie Fleming, shares the story of Me and My Big Ideas.
It Started with a BIG Idea
It all started with a conversation. In 1998, scrapbooking was rapidly becoming mainstream for crafters and artistic minds around the globe. Terri and Stephanie, mother and daughter, were not excluded from this rising trend. At a baseball game one evening, they started a conversation about stickers that went from just that - a conversation - to a little idea that kept growing and growing... into one very big idea.
"I have always liked creative projects, but I fell in love with scrapbooking in the late 90's. I loved it so much that my mom and I decided to start a scrapbook company together. We created products specifically for the scrapbooker, and that eventually evolved into papercrafting... and now planners!"
The Beginning of Me and My Big Ideas
Stephanie and Terri, saw a need for stickers designed with the scrapbooker in mind, so they went on their way, diving into the creative scrapbooking industry with 12 rolls of stickers. Stephanie broke it down for us.
"January 1998: we're really gonna do this. January 1999: This was our debut. We took 12 rolls of stickers to the Hobby Industry Association's trade show. We had a 10 foot rental booth and were the hit of the show! Who knew?" Stephanie jokes, "we might need to move out of my garage."
Within just a few months, they, as jokingly predicted, had to move out of Stephanie's garage and into their first official office and warehouse space.
"[The name was] my mom's big idea. She used to pitch ideas to an executive team who didn't always understand the creative mind. They used to tell her, "you and your BIG ideas." It was definitely more of a brush off than a compliment. Then, when we started our company and were looking for a name, we thought: how great would it be if our BIG ideas really turned into something... success is the ultimate revenge."
"April 1999: [We] leased our first official office and warehouse space. We were legit... the next 16 years were filled with many milestones and memories... too many to name."
The Growth of Me and My Big Ideas
Having began the company with her mother, Stephanie grew up with and within the industry, walking head first into entrepreneurism.
"I started as an entrepreneur, so I have done everything from packing orders to sales calls, but I think my strength is in creating new and innovative products, and then authentically marketing them to our customers. It was something I learned from my mom and business partner, and settling into this position was a natural progression as our company grew."
Me and My Big Ideas was growing rapidly and quickly became an "all hand's on deck" enterprise. Terri and Stephanie's family got on board as well.
"We have an incredibly talented team of owners," Stephanie tells us, "my sister, Lauren, is brilliant at leading our team of designers. My husband, Kevin, leads our team as the CEO. My brother, Andy, leads our sourcing and manufacturing team."
Me and My Big Ideas grew and evolved with the ever-changing creative industry, and, like other small businesses, the economy.
"2008 was a tough year for the economy and it was for us too. We saw many of our competitors going out of business and we had to be extremely careful. Fortunately, we have an incredible CEO (my amazing husband) who helped navigate us through those tough times."
Through those tough times, Me and My Big Ideas continued on and created a product that not only altered the direction that their company would take, but also revolutionized creative individuals with a love of organization and check lists. Stephanie tells us what may have been the biggest milestone for Me and My Big Ideas:
"January 2015: The Happy Planner debuts at CHA."
Me and My Big Ideas Today
Headquartered in Fountain Valley, California, Me and My Big Ideas has upgraded to a 63,000 square foot building.
"I wear a lot of hats at Mambi [short for Me and My Big Ideas]," Stephanie shares, "I'm an owner and founding partner, as well as the Vice President of Marketing, and Creative Director. I am very involved in product development and the creative direction and marketing of our brand."
With all of the hats that she wears, Stephanie has to shift focus often and no day is ever the same.
"My husband and I carpool [every morning], so we are usually talking about work on the way in. I start my day with a cup of coffee - in a cute mug, of course - and then check my emails and attend to any pressing matters. Other than that, nothing about my days are typical or routine. They're sprinkled with meetings, collaborating on projects, emails, photo shoots, etc. I am actually trying to refine my workflow to become more proactive rather than reactive. Plus, I can get super distracted. I'm so right brained!"
In the creative-chaos of being involved in so many aspects of Me and My Big Ideas, Stephanie manages to juggle the behind-the-scenes tasks alongside one of her greatest joys within the company.
"I LOVE connecting with our customers," Stephanie shares, "and although we have an amazing customer service department, I have been known to scroll through Facebook and Instagram, answering customer questions and concerns. Oh, and I am obsessed with live streaming... It's such an instant connection. Like you're talking to one of your friends."
Stephanie's love for Me and My Big Ideas customers manifests itself not only in her desire for interaction, but in her belief of Me and My Big Ideas' products and the reasons that they create them.
"Our goal is to bring creative products to the marketplace that help our customers live creatively. With The Happy Planner product line, we offer a very reasonably priced planner that is customizable - and it doesn't hurt that they are super cute."
With a flourishing social media presence, peppered with inspiration, ideas, and a strong sense of planner community, Me and My Big Ideas lives and breathes their designs.
"Our designers actually use our products, so the products that we create are the ones that we want to use. We're the customer and the creators."
The Future of Me and My Big Ideas
"We still bring well-designed products to the creative industry, but the success of The Happy Planner has shifted our focus a lot in the last two years."
With the invention and debut of The Happy Planner, Mambi went forward into a new direction, and they hope to continue that trajectory.
"I hope we continue with the success of The Happy Planner. I seriously love these little planners and want to share them with the world!"
Mambi does just that! Their team continues to educate, inspire, and actively participate in the crafting community, by attending shows and events, like the Pinner's Conference, with no plan of slowing down! We asked Stephanie where she'd like to see Me and My Big Ideas in the next few years.
"I hope that we are still cranking out products that creative people love."
"Our product offering is really diverse in style, but I think [the words] positive, colorful, and happy would describe most of our designs - and the feeling of our brand... Our products are filled with positive messages. We believe in HAPPY!"
From crafters to creative company connoisseurs, Stephanie and Terri have shown that even a BIG idea or dream can become a happy reality.
We asked Stephanie to give a word of advice to fellow creatives with BIG ideas and dreams:
"Just get started," she says, "Do what you love and what feels right or fun to you. That's where the magic lives. Be inspired by others, but don't compare."
Connect with Me and My Big Ideas
You can explore Me and My Big Ideas planners, planner accessories, stickers, and more here at Scrapbook.com.
Follow Me and My Big Ideas' Instagram page
Follow Stephanie Fleming on Insta!
Check out the MAMBI blog for fun inspiration, ideas, and more!