Carly Van Veldhuizen | Girl Friday
Girl Friday is a shop of artists creating one-of-a-kind décor for stores and events. Most everything we do is custom – nothing off the shelf here. Our work is always client-focused and often site-specific. Every client is different, each project is different – and thats the way we like it.
What inspired you to start your business?
I started Girl Friday because it was fun! But, overtime, I’ve seen how art impacts audiences. It’s memorable, moving, joyful, extraordinary. It’s transformative. And that’s how people experience an event or a brand activation. I think that is so cool. By creating environment, we get to help our client connect with their audience.
If you had one piece of advice for someone starting a business, what would it be?
Be really clear on what you do and don’t do. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. When I started out, I took every project offered – even if it wasn’t a good fit. However, it was confusing for potential clients and even, me. When we became clear on what we do, the right clients found us. And, now, we get to do exactly what we love…making killer, one-of-a-kind décor for events and retail spaces.
Three words to describe your company’s vibe.
Moxie. Clever. Diet Coke.
What is the favorite thing about your workspace?
It’s our clubhouse…where some of my favorite people meet to do what we love. It’s a working space – ever evolving with pieces coming and going, being reorganized to fit more art thats being created. It’s where I get to go to plan, scheme, create and eat tacos. A close second is our loading dock. It makes me very happy.
What’s on your studio playlist?
Every Paul Simon album. We also play “Hipster BBQ” on Pandora because we asked you (LAB) about a playlist at an event!
One thing you wish you had in your office/studio…
I feel like we need a margarita machine.
What tool could you not live without in your workday?
Paper. I use it for lists, sketching, considering, estimating, refining, remembering, creating and communicating the crazy ideas I can see in my head but can’t seem to explain in words.
What do you think is the best kept secret in business tools and resources?
I love podcasts. We’re so fortunate to live in a time where experts so readily share their insights.
What is the biggest challenge facing small businesses?
For us, it’s managing growth and scaling in a way that’s consistent with my goals for Girl Friday.
What is your no-fail-go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut?
I ask more questions. Our clients are our inspiration. In getting to know our clients – their goals, their aesthetic, what they want for their guests – the inspiration starts pouring in. If it doesn’t, we’re not truly listening.
If you could be a fly on the wall of anyone’s studio/shop whose would it be?
Hand down, David Stark. David is an event and experiential designer based in New York. He’s pioneered the idea of using unconventional materials in event décor.
Favorite place to meet in the Twin Cities.
I’d love to work with the Food Network. We watch a lot of food TV in our house and it would be fun to see some of our work on their channel.
Three things about you that would surprise us.
I have three degrees – none of which are related to what I do.
I am certified to drive big trucks, scissor and boom lifts. Five of our Girl Fridays are too!
I make killer lefse.