Today on our blog, we’re highlighting one of the most innovative, creative, and interesting women we know, Wendy Bryan Lazar, founder of I Heart Guts, which creates incredibly amazing (not to mention adorable!) plush organs. She’s also the stellar person behind the plush uterus on our home page, so if you’ve loved that design, she’s the one to thank!
Lazar took time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about getting the business started and advice she has for other women hoping to do the same. And of course, be sure to check out the I Heart Guts website, Facebook, and Twitter!
What is I Heart Guts and how did you get the idea for it?
Wendy Bryan Lazar: We make happy plush internal organs. The guts first came to life while I was heartbroken and drunk drawing sad hearts, livers and lungs in a bar — yay, heartbreak breeds creativity! I Heart Guts became a business years later, when I slapped the artwork onto buttons, t-shirts and stickers and started selling them online. Several more years passed before they became toys, so none of it happened overnight.
If you had to pick a favorite plush “gut” you’ve made, which one would you choose?
WBL: I guess the heart is extra special to me since I drew that one first. But I also love the uterus so much, she is so cool, it’s the only organ every single person on earth has been inside…it’s impossible for me to pick!
What’s been your favorite part of running your own business?
WBL: Not having a boss is great. I enjoy being able to set my own weird hours so I can be with my kids. I also love drawing bizarre stuff and making things with those ideas. It’s always been my dream to make a living drawing and I Heart Guts has made that dream come true.
What has been the most surreal moment of running I Heart Guts thus far?
WBL: Having my uterus recalled was probably my darkest hour. Our first batch of uterus toys failed a child safety test — the ovaries could be detached and become a choking hazard — so we had to recall them from customers and stores. Suddenly our happy uterus was evil! On the bright side, we learned a lot about toy safety and most people found it funny — who hasn’t thought about recalling her own uterus at some point during her cycle?
What advice do you have for other women hoping to start a business, organization, or enterprise?
WBL: First, don’t be afraid to fail. Screwing up is sometimes the best way to learn things — it makes you stronger and mistakes offer important lessons. Also, start small. Don’t talk yourself out of doing something because you don’t have every detail in place— sometimes all you need is a good idea. Just get started and you’ll figure out what else you need along the way. Lastly, follow your heart — if you’re passionate about something, that energy will drive you forward, sustain you and help you be your own cheerleader.
P.S. Check out this cool infographic Lazar made about the menstrual cycle!