Phenomenal Woman: Phoebe Sherman, Founder of Girl Gang Craft

Our Phenomenal Woman series provides a platform for the TravelDreamSeekers community to get to know exceptionally talented and creative female visionaries. These women deserve to be celebrated, and we are excited to share their stories.  

Phoebe Sherman is the founder and creator of Girl Gang Craft, a three-part brand that empowers women via craft shows highlighting women, non-binary, and trans individuals, branding and marketing services, and a feminist clothing and accessory line. In 2018, Girl Gang Craft hosted three art shows that provided an affordable space for female creatives to share their work. Thanks to the success of Phoebe’s signature enamel uterus pin, Girl Gang Craft donated $1500 to Planned Parenthood. This is just the beginning for Phoebe and Girl Gang Craft, and we are excited to promote her work.

Welcome, Phoebe, to the TravelDreamSeekers community!


Hi, Phoebe! Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hey Travel Dream Seekers! I’m Phoebe! I’m into art and feminism and yoga. I run Girl Gang Craft, which is a community for womxn creatives and entrepreneurs. I am currently spending a month in Bali; what’s is so cool about running my own business is that I can work from anywhere. Or, choose not to work! Currently working as little in possible in Bali, practicing yoga, and adventuring around. My lovely boyfriend is helping me take care of a couple business things while I am gone, and my yoga community has really stepped it up and taken over my classes for the month.

You’ve lived in Northern California your whole life. How have Santa Cruz and the Bay Area contributed to your creativity and drive?

Northern California is the best. It really is. I have traveled a lot, but keep coming back to this magical (albeit expensive) place. The nature here is incredible, the community is dynamic, and there is tons going on between Oakland and San Francisco. I am extremely privileged to live in this area. Oakland, specially, is full of creatives and artists and being around such a vibrant community has really pushed my creative exploration and expansion. And, Oakland people know how to balance. There is absolute drive here, but it is a different quality than, let’s say, LA. The balance is super important to me, because I am absolutely a workaholic, so people here really teach me to slow down and to take space, while also working really hard.


Congratulations on the success of Girl Gang Craft! How did you originally come up with the idea of GGC?

Thank you! Girl Gang Craft has really been a whirlwind. I was always making art (my background is in printmaking) and, after Trump got elected, I made a wood block print that said “Nasty Woman” and had a uterus on it. That print became really popular and I screen-printed the uterus design on these little zip-up pouches, patched them on jean jackets, and made enamel pins. I decided to give 10% of sales to Planned Parenthood. These were and are a hit, and so far we’ve raised over $1500 for Planned Parenthood to date! Back then in 2017 I was still showing and selling under my own name.

In August of 2017, I got a group of artists together to sell our crafts at Luckyduck Bicycle Cafe, a cafe in Downtown Oakland owned by a friend. I decided to make an Instagram account and a website, and called it “Girl Gang Craft.” We had about 20 women selling their art, ceramics, jewelry, and wares. The event was a success and, not only that, it was fun! The energy in that room was contagious and very different than other craft shows I had participated in. Since then we have had five shows total, with each show growing in size.

We are very excited for 2019 and have lots of new things planned for the brand. We plan on extending our line to include plus sizes. We have two branding workshops coming up in April, and our two shows in Oakland on June 22 and December 14. We are also VERY excited to announce Girl Gang Craft will be coming to Los Angeles in November! PLUS, we are hosting a very exciting summit for creatives and entrepreneurs in August in Oakland. We can’t wait!

How has the current political climate impacted the creation and evolution of GGC?

Well, if Hillary got elected, I’m actually not sure our brand would have done so well. I think if Hilary got elected, feminism would have been really watered down. I think by having this evil, misogynistic monster in the White House, it really highlights how racist and sexist our country has become. I don’t think the #MeToo movement would have happened or, at least, perhaps not to this extent.

I think there is tons of anger and pain and death currently in regards to sexism and racism, but I think there is also a lot of passion and excitement around community and banding together. Someone said that you can’t have a movement without joy. There is beauty in the fight, beauty in the coming together.

 
 


You run your own business, teach yoga, and paint. What’s your trick for balance? How do you practice self-care?

Balance is actually pretty hard for me. Currently, I teach 5-6 yoga classes a week and run Girl Gang Craft. I also help brands with logo and website design and brand coaching. I letting go of things that no longer serve you is super important. I stopped re-selling vintage clothes and am looking to drop one yoga class. Make sure that your heart is in it and that it’s financially worth it. Could you be using this time to find other avenues you love or pay you more?

I think also asking for help is very important. So far Girl Gang Craft has been a one woman show with occasional help from friends and family. I will be hiring when I return from Bali. I’m learning to batch work and learning to block time for play as well. My boyfriend is really good at pulling me out of my office to go out or rest. And, hey, I just spent a month in Bali (mostly) not working. This time was super important for me to reflect and gear myself up for this busy year ahead.


You’ve done an amazing job of authentically aligning yourself with brands. What are your thoughts on influencer marketing and how do you choose which brands to work with?

Thank you! I think brands trust me with their products because I know the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making an article of clothing. I’ve forged some authentic relationships with amazing women through collaboration. I used to think that brands just gave you clothes if you reached a certain follow count. While that’s true in part, I also realized I could start to ask to do collaborations.

I made myself a media kit and started to reach out to brands I loved! More often than not I get a “no” because at 3500 followers some brands stick up their noses, but sometimes I get those yeses. And those have been so rewarding. I’ve talked to real business owners and we’ve kept in touch. I even got a holiday card from one of them!

I think a lot of companies are looking for “micro influencers” these days too. They want to find someone who people trust! I, myself, work with influencers for Girl Gang Craft and send them free product in exchange for photos. Honestly, I have enjoyed working with ladies with smaller followings who have more bandwidth for communication.  

 
 

What advice do you have for other female creatives looking to run their own businesses or support themselves via a non-traditional 9-5 lifestyle?

Follow your dreams, but make sure you can afford them financially. Find a part-time job if necessary. I waitressed and taught yoga when I was out of college. I didn’t quit my waitress gig until I knew I could support myself with yoga and art. And, I am still teaching yoga quite a bit which makes up a decent percentage of my income. Working for yourself is hard! Make sure you believe in yourself, but also you have to do the work. Make sure you know how to write off your expenses, pay your income and sales taxes, be smart and efficient, ask for help, automate some things, and find a way to make passive income. Also, don’t focus on Instagram 100%.  Who knows when the Instagram apocalypse is coming. Collect those emails! Emails are gold!

You just spent a month in Bali, practicing yoga and taking time to travel. What was that experience like for you? Any tips for those looking to move to Bali for temporary period of time?

Bali is beautiful! There is so much happening here. I’ve enjoyed staying in Ubud, but taking small trips on the weekends when I didn’t have yoga. I visited Canggu, Munduk and Sanur. If you’re in Bali for an extended period of time, enjoy your rest! There are lots of touristy things you can adventure to, but I’ve enjoyed sitting on the beach, resting by the pool, and even working at the beautiful cafes here. Try not to get sick (if you’re going to eat raw vegetables, do so in a nice place), don’t look monkeys directly in the eye, and do get lots of massages.