When Travis Clement started Sprouted Scribbles in 2015, he was looking to refocus his graphic design skills on something new. So, he chose Asheville.
“I decided to focus on Asheville-centric products for businesses such as gift shops, coffee shops, and boutiques, that could benefit from unique and carefully considered local designs,” Clement says.
Now, seven years into the venture, Clement has formed and fostered relationships with other small businesses in the region as they strengthen one another.
“The support [in Western North Carolina] is phenomenal, and it’s unmatched anywhere else in the country,” Clement says. “I appreciate the fact that it’s so easy to communicate with other small business owners and industry leaders in a very casual way. The small businesses that have been here for so many years have set a precedent of supporting local makers that has made this journey so much easier than it would otherwise be.”
Check out our full Q&A with Clement below…
Tell us about your business and the role you play in it.
My business provides locally-focused gifts for both tourists and Ashevillians. The culture of Western North Carolina plays an instrumental part of deciding what to illustrate and which products will potentially work the best. Stickers have been my most popular product over the past 7 years, however, I’ve also branched into providing: postcards, embroidered patches, pins, and apparel.
Where did your vision begin? How has it grown?
In 2015, I was looking for a way to refocus on what I had been doing for many years previously (2004-2015, as a graphic artist for Trader Joe’s). I decided to focus on Asheville-centric products for businesses such as: gift shops, coffee shops, and boutiques, that could benefit from unique and carefully considered local designs.
What made you choose the Asheville area?
In 2013, I moved to Asheville as a transferring store sign artist. With the surrounding mountains, trails, culture and climate, it was an easy decision to work at the store here compared with many other places. After a couple of years here in Asheville with the large grocery retailer, I decided that it would be much more rewarding and beneficial to branch out independently and create products for local businesses instead.
Who are your key partners?
My key partners are local independently-owned gift shops and boutiques, and small businesses that order with confidence and consistency so I can continue to create fresh designs, new products, and maintain inventory flow. I pride myself on being able to fulfill most orders within a day to local shops.
What is a little-known fact about your organization?
My organization, Sprouted Scribbles, is still a one-person show. I do everything from design creation to order fulfillment, and this helps me to know exactly what’s working and what isn’t. I enjoy the numerous responsibilities, even though it can be tough to balance everything sometimes.
What does the word “community” mean to you?
Community relies on keeping the line of communication flowing. I regularly check in with shops firsthand, support them through social media interaction and create awareness of exactly who is carrying my products. I believe a big part of the community also relies on sourcing responsibly from local makers and manufacturers whenever it’s possible, even if it costs the tiniest bit more. Being able to say that: “This was printed locally,” or “this maker is from right here in Western North Carolina,” goes much further toward nurturing the community than saving a few cents on something that isn’t local.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve been working with many shops here in Western North Carolina for the past 7 years. The support is phenomenal, and it’s unmatched anywhere else in the country. I appreciate the fact that it’s so easy to communicate with other small business owners and industry leaders in a very casual way. The small businesses that have been here for so many years have set a precedent of supporting local makers that has made this journey so much easier than it would otherwise be.