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Meet Lisa Allen of Good Spark in Burbank

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Allen.

Lisa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In the last few years something in my gut began turning and churning. There was this ever-present feeling that I wanted to do something more, that I could do something. Something more than just the day job I was working. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy many aspects of my job. But I thought, what if I could apply all the experience and skills gained in my professional roles over the last decade or so to create something meaningful that impacted society in a positive way. Because, I was feeling we need more of those types of companies.

I knew whatever I created would be focused on creativity or the arts – somehow. I love anything and everything creative, and I’ve always worked in creative environments. I love the arts; literature, going to museums, the theatre, live music – be it jazz, rock, or classical or whatever. All of it. I seriously can’t imagine my life without it.

The handmade market was already a juggernaut, which I was so excited to see happening. I have such an appreciation for handmade items. As well as an admiration for the artisans and artists themselves. I remember wanting to buy some silver jewelry, and, of course the first place I went was Etsy. I remember scrolling and scrolling. There were so many listings. So many pages filled with both handmade items and vintage items, it was difficult to differentiate between what was what. I began thinking…what if there was a way to create a more curated platform to offer visibility to these amazing artisans. I’m sure there were already many “curated” sites out there. But what if I used that platform to give back to arts education somehow. Creative helping creativity, sort of. Something that would inspire or spark others to be creative, and to “do good”, as well.

So, I started working on an idea that would become Good Spark.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It hasn’t been the smoothest road, and it’s certainly has been a long road. I actually think I was naïve when I started. I saw the big picture of what I wanted to accomplish which motivated and excited me so much! I believed so much in what I was launching I hadn’t realized I was expecting it all to happen right away. I’ve learned there are many, many, many little steps and little victories that are needed to get to that bigger picture.

I’ve also had to learn all about designing for the web, SEO, online marketing and all that goes along with it. Something I really had no clue about. And am still learning. And Googling.

I struggle with being a “solo-preneur.” My friends, family and boyfriend are so unbelievably supportive and helpful, but it’s not the same as having that partner who is as invested in the business as you are to help bounce ideas and strategies, and to fill those gaps in knowledge. Also, I’m not exactly the most extroverted person so I’m overcoming the challenge of putting myself and my brand out there. Especially now that Instagram has changed their algorithms. In the time I was working to launch, all the algorithms changed and I quickly lost wonderful marketing tool. There’s definitely a lesson in pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.

Please tell us about Good Spark.
Good Spark is an online marketplace offering a curated assortment of handcrafted goods and gifts made from artisans from around the US. 10% of every purchase goes toward a classroom in need of art supplies via donorschoose.org, particularly classrooms where more than at least half of the students come from low-income households.

I’m proud of Good Spark’s mission which is simply – to contribute to a creative tomorrow. Good Spark intends to achieve that by empowering and supporting artists and artisans as well as giving back to communities. I think launching something that says “creativity can support creativity” is what sets me apart.

Good Spark has already helped to fund a school project. And I can’t wait to contribute to many more!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
When I was young, my family often participated in local craft fairs (usually at a park); my father was an amateur but very talented, carpenter and my godfather was a jeweler, selling his handmade silver rings, bracelets, and necklaces.

I remember waking so early in the morning on Saturdays, often before the sun itself stretched its rays, so we could set up. The entire day, I spent hanging out with my family in their booths. And when I got bored, I roamed the park looking at all the cool booths and handmade items for sale.

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