The couple Ted and Kelley Feigha from Valley Cruise Press tell us about quitting their day jobs and moving cities to chase their dreams and start their own company!
Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs? We both graduated from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Ted studied printmaking and design and I studied History and French. While neither of us ended up working in our exact major, I would say that the skills we learned in each have helped our business immensely. Ted’s love of printmaking was what inspired him to start Valley Cruise Press, giving him the foundation to understand the printing process and the inspiration from being around other artists to put the word out there. My degree in history, coupled with my first professional job as a sales manager, gave me the research, perseverance and sales skills needed to grow and scale the business.
Our first jobs were in high school, Ted worked at a party supply store and I worked teaching gymnastics to little kids. We started dating when we were 14, so we’ve really gotten to see each other grow from party supply associate to business owner over the past 15 years!
What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened? During college I worked in a hotel, which eventually led to a larger sales position after graduation where I managed an office of 3 employees. I graduated 2 years before Ted, because he took some time off after high school to tour with his band, so we stayed in Columbus while he finished school. After graduation we decided to move to Los Angeles with no plan other than to arrive! Ted ended up working as a freelancer and I worked at a school in fundraising. Money was super tight at the time, but it was definitely a great experience moving to a new city and figuring out how to make it work. About a year and a half after we moved Ted started Valley Cruise and I was able to leave my job about 8 months later to work with him full time. I think we were lucky in that we never really had a set plan about what would happen after graduation. We just assumed it would work out if we put in enough effort and luckily, it has!
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do. My husband, Ted and I own and operate Valley Cruise Press, an artist-focused lifestyle brand currently making gifts, apparel and other accessories.
What does a typical working day include for you right now? It’s hard to answer this question because every day is so different! Running a business, you never know what you’re going to end up doing that day, and oftentimes even if you think you know, things will change. However, most days we wake up and answer emails, check social media and our sales numbers first thing. After that, I exercise and we typically go into the office between 10 and 11am. Once we get there, though, anything goes. Ted typically is working on developing new product, talking to artists, getting samples and mocking up potential designs. I work with wholesalers, reviewing contracts and reaching out to potential clients. We have a small team, one full time employee, Nathan, who handles all our shipping, and three part time employees who help out with design, wholesale logistics and marketing. We try to have Monday meetings with everyone each week and Ted and I additionally meet almost every day to discuss whatever projects we are working on and how we can help each other. We try to get home by 7 or 8 o’clock, make dinner and then Ted works with our manufacturers overseas until we go to bed around midnight. Owning our own business requires long hours that often seem to be never-ending, but we definitely wouldn’t trade it for your typical 9 to 5.
What career advice would you give your 16yr old self? Work harder and trust your gut. When I first quit my job to work Valley Cruise Press full time, we were terrified. My income was our only stable paycheck and we didn’t have a plan beyond how to pay that month’s rent. Luckily, with a ton of hard work it paid off and I now have a job I love doing that can also pay our rent! I knew in my gut at the time that it was the right move, but it was a lot of hard work to prove it.
Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months? We are really excited to expand Valley Cruise Press beyond our current line into uncharted territory! Though I can’t give specifics about our new projects, lets just say you’ll Cruising in a lot more ways next year at this time!