We had the good fortune of connecting with Holly D’Oench and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Holly, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
I run my business from a home studio. Most people think working from home means waking up whenever you want and spending the day in your pajamas. Having habits that are the exact opposite of this is one of the biggest reasons my business is succeeding. I treat it like a job, because that’s what it is. I start every day at the same time and I actually dress pretty nice for work! Being your own boss means being your own employee, too. I wouldn’t want an employee who shows up to work whenever they feel like it and doesn’t respect the work. I believe it comes down to knowing yourself and creating an atmosphere that is healthy for you and how you function. I’m a very schedule oriented person, so this type of concrete schedule plays to my strengths.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I create ornate leather-bound books that look like they were plucked out of a movie or video game. My business, Black Oak Bindery, was born out of a love for handcrafted items and a lifelong obsession with all things fantasy. It is creating these types of items that gets me the most excited and I want to share every book I make with people. Worlds come to life by being filled with wondrous items like grimoires and tomes. Being able to hold one of these items in your hands is a unique experience. As an artisan, it is my joy to provide that experience by bringing these books into existence.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is you can’t and shouldn’t try to appeal to everyone. It’s actually really important to have a niche. I learned to lean in to who I am and what sets my business apart. I find it so much more fulfilling because I am excited about everything I make and can’t wait to share it with people. On the other hand, I know there are plenty of people who aren’t interested in what I make and that’s totally normal and expected. Any time you put something on the internet, there’s a chance you’ll encounter some negativity. Having internalized this niching down mentality has helped me to just focus on the people who do share my enthusiasm for books that look like they were taken out of a fantasy movie!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Being thoroughly a “nature person”, I hope they’d be ready to be outside most of the time! I love to take people for a hike at Dawson Butte Ranch Open Space because it’s easy for those not used to altitude but still a beautiful, wooded trail. There are so many amazing restaurants in the Denver area but the Farm House at Breckenridge Brewery is a current favorite and would certainly make the list.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband, Neil Stout. Pursuing a creative career would be infinitely harder without his support.