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Hidden Gems: Meet Sarah Connole of Trouvaille Creative

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Connole. 

Hi Sarah, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Wisconsin but found my way to Kansas City in 1998, and I immediately loved it here. I finished college at UMKC and graduated with a business administration degree. 

After college, I took a job as a receptionist for a cooperative of independent cable companies. I thought I’d get a couple years of office experience and then pursue the career I really wanted, which was in corporate training. I’ve always enjoyed teaching and explaining things to others, and I think it’s something I’m really good at. 

Well, 18.5 years later I had moved up through the company through roles in operations, purchasing, and eventually marketing. I had the opportunity to work alongside another colleague to start a marketing department for the company in 2007. At that point, the business had a new CEO, and we had done a great job with business communications, but nothing really in marketing. I was fortunate enough that my colleague took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew about affiliate marketing and partnerships for cable companies. After about 5 years, my colleague moved into a different role, and I had ownership of all the marketing initiatives, which then included affiliate partnerships with major cable networks as well as serving as the in-house agency. I’d taken classes in all the Adobe products, and with an innate sense of creativity, I started designing all of the materials for our company’s two annual conferences. 

Eventually, it got to be too much. I loved the work and the perks that came with it – meeting celebrity chefs, attending food festivals and the VMAs, tickets to major league sporting events – but the workload was too much, and unfortunately, the upper management did not support my need for help, nor were they willing to make good on their promise to promote me. 

Fortunately, I had positioned myself to do something really bold. In 2017 I took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class and started working on paying off my debt (I didn’t have much, but I really wanted to work towards financial independence and building wealth.) In January of 2018, I sold my house, making me 100% debt-free. I now had some cash in the bank too, so in May of 2018 I took a giant leap of faith and I quit my job. I knew I had about 6 months to figure out what I was going to do next, which I imagined would be moving to New York or Los Angeles and working for a cable network or streaming network doing marketing because that was what I knew. 

Instead, I took my bucket list trip to Paris (and Nice, and Italy) for two weeks by myself, and I believe that adventure empowered me and gave me the confidence to do what happened next. When I came back to the states, I started doing a little bit of consulting work. I filed an LLC just in case, but then I really began working toward starting a marketing company. In October of that year, I landed my first major client who signed a year-long agreement. And at that point I thought, ok, I’m going to do this for a year and see how it goes. 

Now I’ve been in business for 3 years and I have a full client load. Trouvaille has become an international company, serving clients in the US, Canada, and South Korea. My business is growing to the point that I’ve been able to subcontract out some work, and I’m looking for an assistant. And I’ve already hit 6 figures for 2021, which feels pretty awesome. 

Alright, 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?
I feel fortunate that it has been mostly a smooth road for me. I went through a rather devastating divorce in 2007 just as my marketing career was starting to take off, and that was tough, but I believe that it freed me up to become the woman I am today. Dealing with some of the drama in my corporate career was tough too. To be bullied by management is never a great situation to be in. I went through a period of time when I was really stressed, headaches were a regular thing, and I was in my office crying at least once a week. At the point that I quit, I felt so audacious and finally empowered to take control of my situation and leave the negativity behind. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I always get asked about my business name, so let’s start there. Trouvaille is a French word that means “a lucky find or discovery.” Why that name? I’ve loved the French language and culture my whole life. And most of the other business names I wanted were already taken. 

Trouvaille Creative specializes in the marketing strategies and tools a business needs to build awareness and tell their stories to current and future customers, mostly through digital marketing and social media. We develop custom marketing solutions for clients – considering their needs and budgets and then creating a plan just for them. 

What sets us apart is the quality of work and the relationships we build with our clients. By keeping my client base small I’m able to work hands-on with them, oftentimes as an extension of their team and their brand, to make sure they’re getting exactly what I promised I would deliver. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
I don’t know that I believe luck has played a role. I’ve gotten to where I am today because of choices I’ve made (both good and bad) and because I’ve been fortunate enough to have people in my life who have encouraged and supported me. I’ve also worked really hard and continue to push myself to grow and do better. 

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