Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Gish.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started Gish Creative (www.GishCreative.com) in 2000 when I had my second child and I wanted to have more flexibility with my job. I had been working at Landmark Theatres for 7 years, managing three Houston indie movie theatres (River Oaks, Greenway, Saks) and was able to take my first son to work with me. However, when my second son was born, I couldn’t come to an agreement with the company which I felt was best for me as a mother with a job outside the home (ALL mothers are working mothers!). I wanted to be close to my two children while making money, so we parted ways. I was able to breastfeed and spend time with Alexander and Matthew over these many years and I am VERY grateful for that, not only to my clients, but also to my husband, Stuart, who helped me all along the way.
Gish Creative was originally a PR/Marketing company because I had been doing that in some ways in all my previous jobs since 1985. My degree was in Art History, but I always gravitated towards marketing and communications. My first client at Gish Creative was Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP), an organization with which I worked at the movie theatres. I am always grateful that I was able to start out in that way. My goal with my company — then and now — was to be of service to my clients while doing what I do best. I learned a lot as the publicist for SWAMP and many others.
Gish Creative is a personal, family, and business enrichment company that creates connections, champions culture, and ignite lives. That mission has remained the same as my company evolved when my skills expanded and the market changed. My company’s offerings also grew out of personal experiences: when my brother died of alcoholism in 2004, I was moved to start thinking about a way to honor him. Almost 10 years later, I created an art project that’s now a nonprofit, IGNITE YOUR LIFE! (www.IgniteYourOwnLife.com), through which I do workshops, artwork (videos and photographs), talks, and more to inspire people around the world to ignite their lives and to create connections among people. I also wrote “12 Ways to Ignite Your Life Daily,” (www.igniteyourownlife.com/images/checklist2_l.jpg), which are the core of the project and around which the educational materials are created. It’s my goal to ignite lives so that people have a firewall to depression, addiction, anxiety, and isolation. I work with sober teens and adults, homeless people, therapists, and other interested groups.
I also created proprietary media for the Houston community: THE SUMMER BOOK ONLINE: A GUIDE TO HOUSTON DAY CAMPS FOR KIDS & TEENS (www.DayCampsHouston.com) and GISH PICKS: CURATED CULTURE FOR KIDS & ADULTS (www.GishPicks.com). Those have been the focal point of my business since 2003.
I have not handled PR directly for clients — except for my own projects! – since 2015. Instead, I have chosen to market organizations (clients or not) through my two media. THE SUMMER BOOK and GISH PICKS have grown exponentially and I’m proud to say that they are the best resources for days camps and culture in Houston for people who like their information distilled the way I present it (highlighted PICKS for culture and a searchable database for day camps). I have always been an “info-preneur” since I started my business — after all, marketing is all about promoting information — but I focus on that even more now as I strive to inform the Houston community about cultural organizations and events and programs for families and adults. I am also a writer – I freelance for many publications and have two columns – “Gish at the Movies” in Local Houston Magazine and “Ignite Your Life!” in Natural Awakenings Houston.
I am also an artist and a trained labyrinth facilitator — and I incorporate those two interests into my business as well.
I make and sell art (I recently donated my “Mod Mandalas: The Chakra Series” — www.gishcreative.com/art_modmandalas.htm — to the Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer) and I use my fourth art car, Phoenix Rising (www.Facebook.com/PhoenixRisingArtCar), in many of my presentations and as part of the IGNITE YOUR LIFE! project. I am a member of the Labyrinth Society and trained in labyrinth education by Veriditas. I was drawn to labyrinths because of their use in meditation, something VERY important to me. It’s my desire to spread labyrinth use everywhere and I have become very active with Houston labyrinths, creating a Facebook page and a list of Houston area labyrinths (www.gishcreative.com/Houston_labyrinth_list.pdf).
I have many interests and dreams and a strong desire to change the world for the better! I do this through my life and through my work and am so happy to have had Gish Creative as the springboard for all of that. It’s been a wonderful ride since 2000 and I look forward to the many years to come.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a fairly smooth road because I am determined and persistent and proactive. I have always sought guidance and help. My first mentor was Phyllis Bailey, a wonderful PR person and friend, who advised me on everything from personal thank yous to the media to what kind of contract to use with clients as well as pricing and offerings. Everyone starting their own business should have a mentor!
I hate accounting, so, after trying to learn QuickBooks for two years, I decided to hire someone to do my bookkeeping for me. My friend Victoria Scott handles all of it still and I also have a CPA, Stephanie Scott, to do my taxes. I would rather we do our own taxes but soon realized that with a business, I would need an expert to do it.
I started the IGNITE YOUR LIFE! nonprofit with the help of Victoria and my friend Alex Bentlif, who is my legal counsel. That was very scary but they and the Board have been my angels in the process.
My business has had to change with the times and I have had to maintain a positive attitude that there would always be plenty of work (something Phyllis told me from the start) and that I needed to TRUST that money would keep coming in. I have a mantra: “Money flows frequently and easily to me from unexpected sources” and I say that daily.
I read the book DO WHAT YOU LOVE, THE MONEY WILL FOLLOW over 20 years ago and I also think about that on a daily basis. As long as I am enjoying what I do — and I am helping others — my business will continue to flourish.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Gish Creative – what should we know?
Gish Creative is a personal, family, and business enrichment company that creates connections, champions culture and ignites lives.
I promote cultural events/organizations and day camps for kids (spring, summer, winter), as well as many other things! My business is all about information and communication with a focus on the Houston market. I like to inform people about how great Houston is, the most diverse city in the United States and the fourth largest. I have always been friends with the Mayors and I like to help them in that mission as well.
I am known for the following:
-GISH PICKS: CURATED CULTURE FOR KIDS & ADULTS (www.GishPicks.com)
-THE SUMMER BOOK ONLINE: A GUIDE TO HOUSTON DAY CAMPS FOR KIDS & TEENS (www.DayCampsHouston.com) — this used to be a book and is now an online searchable database.
-IGNITE YOUR LIFE! art project (www.IgniteYourOwnLife.com)
-Labyrinth walks and how they are a form of meditation.
-My “Gish at the Movies” column in Local Houston Magazine (www.Facebook.com/GishAtTheMovies)
-My “Ignite Your Life” column in Natural Awakenings Magazine (https://www.facebook.com/IgniteYourOwnLifeNaturalAwakeningsHouston)
-PICKS-ON-WHEELS — a weekly Facebook Live adventure in which I visit different Houston sites each Friday (www.facebook.com/GishPicksKids/photos/a.188338714532592.48034.115146968518434/1451650524868065/?type=3&theater)
-“Bracelets for Love” — bracelets I make with sober teens and others that help nonprofits and are sold through Gish Creative.
I am most proud of how my company has enriched the Houston community in so many diverse ways. I have introduced thousands of people to gems in our city as well as information such as how many languages are spoken here (over 160!), Houston’s large and small cultural organizations, news about Houston events, etc. And I have been an advocate for saving historic Houston, including the River Oaks Theatre which a group of us kept from being demolished in 2007.
My personal branding sets me apart from others as well as my laser focus on Houston alone. Also, my caring for people by sharing my personal story sets me apart as I strive to take bad things and use them to benefit others. I often share that I have been sober since 1985 and I especially like to help people ignite their lives so that they don’t give in to addiction, depression, isolation, and anxiety.
I have personal relationships with the media and I make delicious homemade fudge as a holiday gift for my clients and the media. I thank everyone with whom I work and I exchange names with everyone with whom I come in contact.
I love my work and it shows with my enthusiasm in all that I do.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Enthusiasm because that keeps you going when you want to quit and it also makes your work more joyful. Enthusiasm is contagious and others care about what you are doing when you are excited about it. “Enthusiasm” comes from the Latin “En Theos,” which means “In God” and implies “Divine Intuition.” I believe that God helps me in all my life and especially in my work, where I need a lot of angels!
- Advertising in GISH PICKS starts at $300
- Advertising in THE SUMMER BOOK ONLINE starts at $600
- The PICKS-ON-WHEELS promo is $300
- Bracelets and t-shirts are $20/each
- Address: 1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
- Website: www.GishCreative.com
- Phone: 713.492.1173
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: /SarahGish
- Facebook: /GishPicksKids and /GishPicksAdults
- Twitter: /SarahGishHouston
- Other: www.IgniteYourOwnLife.com
Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.