By MELISSA CROCKETT MESKE
Having spent the past 25 years in the graphic design and printing industry, Jan Carpenter always had a desire to own and operate her own business. She was first introduced to the industry through a part-time job while still in college.
“I first got bitten by the creative bug at the age of 19 when a motivational speaker dropped a Mac in my lap and taught me the skills to create some pretty amazing presentations,” said Carpenter. Continuing down that career path after college, she built and enjoyed a rewarding career in marketing for many years.
Carpenter attended the University of Central Arkansas, and went on to achieve her certified webmaster status through New Horizons of St. Louis in 1999.
Serving as the art director for St. Louis Homes & Lifestyles magazine for several years, Carpenter reached a point where she felt ready to take the leap and start her own business. She decided that she wanted to develop a firm offering graphic design and printing consulting services to its customers.
Spending many years building a strong client base, Carpenter also worked closely with Laura Reed, a public relations professional, during that time as well. Eventually the two came to recognize the formidable strength of their combined talents and decided to join forces. They started their firm, Cork Tree Creative, in January 2009.
“I love owning my own business,” Carpenter said. “While learning the ins and outs of running a business can be difficult at times, I have found there are a lot of great resources and women’s organizations that offer guidance and support. I would suggest to any women that are currently wanting to start their own business, take some time and reach out to these organizations and talk with them about your plans.”
Carpenter and Reed’s firm offers a full-service approach to marketing. Together, they now have the ability to offer a complete package of marketing services. The menu of services Carpenter and Reed’s firm provides includes graphic design, public relations, website development, SEO, social media management and videography/photography.
The firm’s clients range from small to mid-sized businesses throughout the St. Louis region and beyond. They do a lot of work with the legal industry and have found a niche in economic development and municipal work that they are hoping to strengthen.
Carpenter spends her time away from her desk with her husband Mark and their two children, Bailey and Tyler. Making their family home in Marine, they are both die-hard Cardinals fans who also share a passion for travel.
Jan Carpenter, Co-Owner/Creative Director, Cork Tree Creative Inc., Edwardsville
By MELISSA CROCKETT MESKE