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Name: Elizabeth Mermel

Business: Fraggles & Friggles, an online clothing & accessories store

Industry: Clothing & Accessories

Location: Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.

Reason for starting: I am an epidemiologist by training, but have always enjoyed expressing myself creatively. The natural world is a huge inspiration for me and that comes out in my artwork. I know that not everyone is enthusiastic about science, but I love making it accessible and fun for all through humor. Creating wearable and useful art with a bit of meaning and a touch of laughter has been incredibly rewarding.

Related: Read about another female entrepreneur creating nature & science inspired accessories here.

How do you define success? I love vending at craft fairs because I get to meet people, hear their stories, and listen to them laugh out loud when they get one of the jokes on my shirt. Knowing that I’ve made that connection through my art is success. Seeing random strangers, sometimes in different states, wearing my shirts is a big sign of success for me as well.

Biggest Success: Making it into a retail store – well, not just any retail store but an amazing and well-known store called Craftland that stocks fine, handmade crafts. I’m pretty sure this success made my whole year!

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My biggest challenge has been to get into retail stores. I have spent a lot of time reading about how to crack into the brick & mortar market. It’s hard to know how to approach them (phone, email, in person?) and what to say! Right now I am creating a catalog/magazine with pictures of friends modeling my shirts to distribute to local stores.

Related: Entrepreneurs: 4 Expert Tips for Growing Your Business

Who is your most important role model? Sierra Barter, founder of the, is my role model. She has a full-time job but in her spare time created an amazing organization that works to inspire and connect women and showcase their talents. The Lady Project started in Providence, RI but has now spread to many other cities (I will be starting a chapter in Philadelphia this year). Her drive, her vision, and her incredible success are inspiring.

Twitter   @fraggsandfriggs

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Edited by The Story Exchange