Building sisterhood through collaboration with other womxn
After realizing their “creative” jobs were actually something they did not enjoy, these twins decided to start their own business and grow through forging connections with other womxn. Let’s take a look at what sisterhood – both literally and figuratively, can accomplish.
Laura Grace Sears and Katie Lynn Sears
Location: Atlanta / Boston
Age: 24 years
What I do: Branding, photography, and website design
Tell us about yourself:
We are Laura Grace Sears (LG) and Katie Lynn Sears (KL). We are twin sisters who run a creative business together. Katie Lynn is a graphic and web designer and Laura Grace, a photographer. Together we’re Mushaboom Studio.
LG: For fun, I like to read fluffy fanfiction and walk to my local wine shop to bug the owners about their favorites under $15.
KL: For fun, I enjoy digital illustration and dancing in the kitchen, and making great playlists on Spotify.
Together, we enjoy long walks on the Beltline arguing over our website.
How did you land upon your professional path? Who or what inspired you into taking this path?
KL: We have been creating together since we were very young. Katie Lynn studied Economics in school but started learning design on the side. Laura Grace studied media and videography but started to feel a pull towards photography. After college, we both had very brief jobs in creative-ish fields but they just didn’t feel like the right fit. So we started Mushaboom Studio together and it just clicked.
We would not be here if it weren’t for collaborations and partnerships. My senior year I got an internship with Mavenly + Co run by Tallia Deljou and Kate Rosenow.
LG: Their partnership was our first example of two women doing what they loved and supporting each other. Our second example of two incredible partners was, of course (the founders of The Lola), Martine Resnick and Eileen Lee. We met them at Mavenly’s Women, Work, + Worth conference (which I filmed + KL did social media for). Martine and Eileen were publicizing their idea for The Lola, which we went bonkers over.
I walked up to Martine and asked how we could join and then also proceeded to bug Martine to hire us for video work if they ever needed it. (Guess what – they did!)
KL: Before starting our business both of us very briefly worked “creative” jobs that we absolutely hated.
LG: When I quit after one week of work I felt like I was jumping off of a cliff without a parachute.
But womxn who supported us became our saving grace. It has by no means been easy, but it has been enjoyable and rewarding. And we are so lucky to have had partnerships that we admire right in front of us all the time.
— Laura Grace
How has connection and collaboration been important in defining and growing your business?
Collaboration and connection have been pivotal to us starting our business. We’ve relied a lot on the referrals and connections from The Lola and other womxn-led communities.Because of how much referrals propelled our business early on, we’re very quick to refer other members and look to those communities when we’re contracting out work.
It’s also been invaluable and encouraging to be able to work with clients that share our values of collaboration, activism, and kindness.
Between Martine & Eileen (The Lola) and Kate & Tallia (Mavenly), we’ve connected with so many more womxn who we ended up working with. We hired them. They hired us. We all spread the word.
How has connection and collaboration supported your mental health and personal wellbeing?
Starting a business is really hard. We were lucky to have other female business owners around us who were telling us from the start to set boundaries with clients and give ourselves a break.
We didn’t always listen. Both of us can be real workaholics.
KL: My favorite perk about being around other female business owners is that moment when I receive an email that I don’t know how to handle. I can phone a friend and see who has probably already been through this and has a canned response on hand.
You are Co-Founders of your business and twin sisters, how do you balance your personal relationship with your business one? How do you communicate and how do each of you define your boundaries?
LG: Yes, we argue over stupid things (highlight covers and fonts). Yes, there are days when we annoy each other. But, most days I wish that every business owner could have a partner like I do. Because we lean on each other, strategize together, pick up slack for one another, and having her around makes running our own business feel a little less terrifying.
KL: We also remind each other not to skip meals and when to shut off working. So, in a way, we help each other set boundaries
What’s been your greatest challenge and reward in choosing to work together in this way?
KL: Working with a friend (even a best friend) has been challenging mostly when we get overwhelmed. It’s easy to value the work that you are doing in your business and undervalue the work that your partner is doing.
LG: I think the reward of working with your best friend is knowing they aren’t going anywhere – even when things get dicey.
What’s ahead for you and your business?
On a melancholy note, I’ll be moving to Boston in a little over a week and KL and I are about to navigate a long-distance partnership for the first time in our lives. Deep breath. Don’t cry. Here goes nothing.
On a less melancholy note, KL and I just hired our first intern and are hoping to give back creative experience and helpful connections in the way that Mavenly gave those things to us. We were thrilled to discover that our new intern for the Spring has sisters – and she was curious about what it’s like to run a business with a sibling. *Big smile.