When she had a deep connection to a vacation spot, this VentureMom wanted something to remember her trip by. Carleen Ryducha spent family vacations at various Maine ski resorts and the lift tickets were taped on to a metal wicket at that time. Remember that? “It would be so cool to replicate a lift ticket as a pendant necklace.” Gathering inspiration from family memories she began a collaboration with her cousin Stacey.
Carleen has no schooling in design, but her father was an artist, and she feels that may be where she got her creativity. “I always knew I wanted to create something to build a business around, so I decided the ski lift ticket pendants were a great place to start.” Finding a manufacture that could deliver her vision and in quantities that worked for her, was difficult. “It was a lot of trial and error, but I finally found the right companies for my designs.”
Now that she had a product, she had to sell it. She was scared it wouldn’t sell but Carleen hit the pavement. “I had a friend in Maine who helped me get into my first necklaces into stores there.” She reached out to everyone and every store she could find. “Rejection is my fuel. A “no” just spurs me on to keep trying.”
Her debut product, a one inch, ski lift ticket replica pendant in sterling silver, is all about family and friends and a connection to a specific place. She feels people are linked to places where they have happy, good times, and her ski lift pendants are a happy memory piece. “Some of the stores that originally said no, actually took on the product when I went back a second time.” Persistence paid off.
Carleen offers multiple mountain choices. Her company is dedicated to, and named after her dad, “Izzy.” She now offers jewelry, totes and her towel creations as well. “Again, I wanted to create towels that are tied to a place that people have a connection to.” Shoppers can get towels with zip codes, maps and islands for places like Darien, Rowayton, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island and many others. What a great way to say that a place is special to someone.
With her designs in more and more stores, Carleen feels more confident that she has created something that resonates with her customers. “Every time I faced a roadblock or hurdle, I try to think of another way to approach it.” She certainly has found her way down a successful path with her business venture.
If you face a roadblock or hurdle, work to find another approach, but stay the course and follow through.