Chances are if you can dream it, Trista Havner can make it. As the owner of Hub City Love, she makes a business out of rescuing forgotten treasures and returning them to their former glory.
“No piece of wood, old window, canvas, or even t-shirt is safe with me,” says Trista. If it will hold still, you can pretty much bet she is going to paint it.
Trista was a teacher by trade in search of a creative outlet. After her children were in bed and her lesson plans were finished she would find herself on the couch teaching herself to hand letter. But what started as a longing to create soon became a business when one holiday season she decided she was going to make everyone’s gifts.
“I wanted to do something more personal and I felt like I was at a level with my lettering that I wouldn’t be totally embarrassed to give someone something with my work on it,” she says, “so I went for it.” Everyone loved their gifts and began recommending customers to Trista for custom orders.
After two years of selling out of her home, at markets, and online, she decided to give Hub City Love a storefront in theLOCAL, a micro-retail development for entrepreneurs in Downtown Jackson. It was after opening a store that she enrolled in CO.STARTERS, a 9-week program hosted at theCO that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn their business ideas into action.
Trista says, “At the start of the program, I honestly felt like it would address all the things that I tend to dread - the numbers, liability, and taxes. It was so much more than that. Mapping out a canvas for my business did include all of those things, but it also included the parts of my business that I love - the customer, product, and branding. All of which was essential for me to see the big picture. I feel like a more well-rounded business owner after having been through CO.STARTERS.”
“Before I was making to make, which I still do, but there was a whole new frontier that I was able to tap into once I figured out that my business served to solve a problem for my customer. It helped me understand what benefit I was offering my customer which was an invaluable lesson that I probably would not have grasped had I not completed the program,” Trista reflects, “Using the canvas to map out my business was revolutionary.”
One essential element to the program is having a concept that you are ready and willing to share and grow in a collaborative environment.
“Our group was pretty eclectic, we had contractors, photographers, musicians, and even a mobile cigar lounge! I definitely feel like the connections that I made, specifically with fellow artists in my group, helped me with my branding and social media,” she says. “They gave me ideas about photographing my product in new ways that would grab attention. As well as some pretty awesome ideas about how to connect with artists who want to collaborate. That was the most significant part of the connections made through CO.STARTERS – the collaborations!”
If you’re interested in collaborating with Trista or seeing her products for yourself, swing by her shop, Hub City Love, located at 202 W. Lafayette Street in Jackson, TN or online at www.hubcitylove.com. If you really want to be inspired, follow @hub.city.love on Instagram. You’ll be glad you did. For more information about CO.STARTERS, visit attheco.com/costarters.
Photographs by Emily Taylor, Grass Hopper Studios Photography.