Name: Hannah Duguie

Age: 28

Title: Co-owner and creative director

Company: E+H Creates, Benton

About: With her sister Ellen Stevens, 30, the company offers creative and design services to a wide range of clients as well as social media management and consulting.

Website: eandhcreates.com

What’s your biggest challenge right now?

Our biggest challenge right now is inventory management. We work out of our homes, so I have mugs, paper, ink and envelopes pouring out of every closet, which can drive my husband a little nutty. We have hundreds of mugs that we sell. I have a third floor that we don’t use often. We monitor our levels closely. We have to be very timely so we don’t overload ourselves. When we fill a wholesale order for mugs, we can say we only have 50 and if you give us some time we can fill the order. We work honestly with (our customers). We have a couple of shops that order anywhere from 20 to 60 mugs at a time. Also, we have them for wedding favors when people have a coffee bar or a cocoa bar, and we can be ordering 75 to 100 at a time.

What’s the best advice that anyone has ever given you?

We have had a hard time defining exactly the services we offer because we love a challenge. The best advice we have ever received is: it is OK to not pigeonhole yourself in to specific services. Take each project as it comes and see if it is a good fit for you creatively.

How do you foster creativity in yourselves?

We lean on each other, as we have done our entire lives, for creativity and all around inspiration. We both have full-time day jobs and then we come together to dream, form ideas and create on nights and weekends. We have always had an incredible sister bond in life and our best work comes out of 50 percent Hannah and 50 percent Ellen.

It’s bouncing ideas back and forth between Ellen and me, if we have a catch phrase for a sign or a new mug, then I move into design and mock up ideas. With every idea we have 10 different changes and transitions, and she chooses her favorites. We work back and forth until a point where we have something and we invest in a finished product.

We get inspired from a client’s wedding colors or dress. If someone is launching a company, we have them talk about their products and services.

What is your biggest fear?

Our biggest fear at one time was distance. We lived together when we began E+H Creates and now we are over 300 miles away from each other. (Stevens is in Connecticut.) Technology is amazing and we communicate via phone, email and FaceTime for all of our projects. We talk all day, every day. Fear squashed!

Where will your company be in five years?

For two years in a row, the user community at The Knot (an online resource for wedding planning) has voted us the No. 1 wedding vendor in Maine for invitations. The award is highlighting customer review. It’s one thing to say we offer the best services at the best prices, but it’s great when other people say it’s amazing. We’re pretty well-known in the wedding community.

We would love to do this full-time, but we love our day jobs. I don’t have a good answer. We don’t have a plan, nor do we want one. We love where our company has taken us and we let opportunities and passions guide our path. We sure hope we are closer together five years from now mileage-wise, though.

filed under: