David and Julie Sandusky have created two very successful businesses. Julie Sandusky owns js design, a Colorado company that creates customized stationery and products for events. Her husband David, has created Your Brand and Your Brand Radio: online and radio forums to guide people through strategic career planning.
We met Julie and David at the js design studio, housed in a collaborative building filled with other entrepreneurs, artists and creative businesses. In a charming betrayal of her inner artist, I noticed a smudge of gesso on her knuckle. Later, Julie would take us into the workroom, where many projects were in process, including some recently painted chairs.
What Trent and I found most interesting about Julie and David was what sets them apart: their ability to integrate their passions, dreams, and most importantly – their relationship – with their personal and business goals.
David Sandusky, founder and CEO of Your Brand, LLC and Your Brand Radio at the js design studio in Glendale, Colorado.
Julie Sandusky, paper and product architect and owner of js design, in her Glendale design studio.
Even though they each own their own business, it quickly became apparent that we could learn from them about how to work as a team, and how that teamwork naturally extends into their local community of entrepreneurs.
Trent asked David and Julie if they could describe what made their business unique. Though their answers began with descriptions of their products and services, the conversation turned to describing their support of each other in their individual successes. David shared, “Everybody who knows me, knows that my top priority and my biggest value is - Julie. That’s number one. Julie’s dreams and goals and what she is trying to accomplish.”
As business partners, as a couple, and as each other’s number one supporters – this is how they have given each other the freedom and the support to take risks without fear of failure. Julie paints this picture of working with David, “Having businesses and the opportunity to discuss, not just everyday things, but the world of business and how to improve - what you are striving for, what your goals are and what your dreams are - it creates a different dynamic.”
David went on to add, “The marriage, the business partnership, the life partnership - everything together is fascinating for us. And believe me, we’ve been through a lot of struggles, we are going to in the future, and we will tackle those as opportunities. We know that we can do it. And that helps with our marriage."
Entrepreneurs, and husband and wife team, David and Julie Sandusky, in the js design studio, one of their successful Denver based businesses.
Julie and David understand what it takes to build successful businesses and relationships. How they have grown their businesses, their relationship and the communication necessary to take risks and experiment is evident in their products and their customer service. David's concerns for the coming year were for the community as a whole, including those who are making livelihoods based on corporate giving. He said, "My mission is to make sure that people are confident and understand how they can make a significant impact in their community.”
The success of js design, Your Brand, and Your Brand Radio is based in the Sandusky’s ability to communicate openly as business partners, as husband and wife, and as dreamers. They are not living in a fantasy where everything is one rosy day after then next. They are cognizant that the dynamics of their businesses, just like their relationship, are evolving, and they work together to adapt to these changes.
When asked how is their businesses are changing in relation to the economy, they spoke about real world adaptation, evolution and ultimately success. Julie is noticing people spending less money or doing fewer products, and her overall contracts are lower. Now she is selling more products that aren’t as intricate. js design owns the machinery and the equipment and can make those adjustments. Julie is also launching js design boxed, a national line of stationary and paper product kits, to meet the needs of clients whose budgets are more modest.
Julie shared with us her hopes for the future of entrepreneurs and our country. Trent and I both found her words inspirational as they are grounded in how she lives her life. “What some people have based the American dream on - the house, the kids, the stuff, how those things are packaged and sold - this is changing and people are going to be much more interested in their communities again and helping other people.”
Just like all successful relationships, as we grow, as we learn, as we have families, businesses must adapt. David and Julie Sandusky are setting the example for all of us, how not only to be successful in business, but how to build successful relationships and to connect with the community as a whole.
Trent and I saw echoes in the Sandusky's support of each other in our own story. Thanks again to David and Julie for sharing with us, and reminding us that we aren't in this entrepreneurial journey alone.
An Intimate Portrait of the American Entrepreneur Project is sponsored in part by the automated marketing gurus at Infusionsoft
and is championed by the spirited zeal of The Toilet Paper Entreprenuer and TPEs across the universe.