Female Feature Friday: Mandy Gleason of Replica Surfaces

We are back at it, bringing you another Female Feature Friday. We are so excited to be sharing a new amazing Girl Boss every week. The inspiration behind this series was to highlight the brilliant women running small businesses in an effort to inspire other women to bring their talents to the table. We can do it all, ladies!

So happy to bring you the story of one of my absolute favorite products this week! Replica Surfaces is a photoshoot must have for my team at Sip Dine Design Agency and we are excited to share Mandy’s story with you! Keep reading!

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LET’S GET DOWN TO (SMALL) BUSINESS:

Name and Occupation:

Mandy Gleason, creator and owner of Replica Surfaces.

 
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Briefly describe your business:

Replica Surfaces are rigid, lightweight, stain-resistant backdrops created for sellers, food bloggers, and photographers that look just like real marble, wood, and other textures. 

How did Replica Surfaces come about and what were you doing before its inception? 

The Replica origin story isn’t exactly a Marvel movie, but it’s not too shabby! Before creating Replica, I had invented a gadget and was struggling to take a good photo of it. My kitchen  wasn’t well lit and I didn’t have a marble countertop. All I wanted was a rigid backdrop I could use outside or next to my patio window, but I couldn’t find anything for sale that looked realistic enough and that wouldn’t break the bank. So I ditched the gadget and created Replica Surfaces instead!

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What was your first real job?

A paper route when I was 4! Of course my parents delivered them with me, but it taught me from a ridiculously early age about responsibility and customer service. I’m from Canada originally, so hauling myself out of the house in the dead of winter was no joke! Then at the grizzled age of 9, I started my own jewelry business, making and selling beaded necklaces to my classmates. Of course I did the Dairy Queen and coffee shop thing in my teens, but those entrepreneurial beginnings were my favorite!

What motivates you to keep going on the less than awesome days?

Scrolling through posts on the Replica Facebook VIP Community! I wanted to create a community of Replica users where they could share their photo triumphs and struggles, ask for advice from others, and support each other through this crazy photo journey. And that’s exactly what it is! Just seeing the love people have for their Surfaces and for people they’ve never met in real life always turns my day around.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business? 

Seek advice from experts! One of the best resources I’ve found is clarity.fm. It’s a place to get startup advice from world class experts on nearly everything business-related for only a couple dollars per minute. I’ve used it to get advice on Kickstarter campaigns, plastics engineering, accounting, PR, and more. Seriously invaluable stuff!

What has surprised you most about running a small business? 

How much work it is! There are so many facets to running a business - production, fulfillment, social media, advertising, content creation - it’s easy to focus too much on one aspect and not give another aspect the attention it needs. If you want a job you can disconnect from, running a small business isn’t it!

Who have you looked to for advice and mentorship?

The experts at clarity.fm! You can really tell they just want to share their experiences and help someone who’s just getting started.

What’s next for Replica Surfaces?

More limited release Surfaces! A few months ago, I started doing monthly releases of a very limited quantity of brand new designs like Subway Tile, Butcher’s Block, and All-White. The anticipation and response is just really exciting to be a part of, so I’ll definitely be continuing limited releases for a long time to come.

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LET’S GET THE SKINNY ON DALLAS:

BEST TACO IN DALLAS?

Pepe and Mito’s in the Deep Ellum neighborhood. Tacos Nortenos will never steer you wrong!

BEST QUESO IN DALLAS?

Pepe and Mito’s again!

FAVORITE MARG IN DALLAS?

I’m a mezcal girl, so it’s whatever the bartender (Adam) at Billy Can Can’s hands me when I ask him for “something mezcal and spicy.”

FAVORITE STEAKHOUSE IN DALLAS?

I’m vegetarian so no steakhouses for me lately! Before I went veg, though, the best steak I ever had was from Del Frisco’s in Fort Worth. It’s about 40 minutes from Dallas and worth the drive every time.

FAVORITE HAPPY HOUR IN DALLAS?

Uchi. Crazy good sushi.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING A BUSINESS OWNER IN DALLAS?

Dallas itself! There’s a ton to do here without it feeling too big.

TELL US YOUR FAVORITE DALLAS SMALL BUSINESS.

Oasis plant shop in the Bishop Arts neighborhood. I don’t know a thing about plants or their light needs, so I brought them a video of my space and they selected the right ones for the different levels of light and then delivered everything! Just incredible and personalized service.

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