Hi! I am Susan Licht Salzman and I am a working mama with 3 very loud man-children, married to the same guy for over 30 years and best friends with the cutest dog in the world, Lola.
I am the master of the Cold Brew, one can always find homemade cookie dough in my freezer, my guilt pleasures are See’s Candies(dark almonds) and The Bachelor franchise – don’t judge. Before I had children, my friend Enid and I were visiting Napa Valley and after a conversation about kids, work, life, she looked at me and said, “you can’t do it all”. I was mortified by that statement. I was, afterall, the CEO and founder of my very successful high-end children’s furniture, life-style brand(Little Folk Art, Inc.), and having a family was the next box to check off on my “to do” list. 10 years after that statement, I had three boys and my priorities had shifted. I remembered that statement – actually – it vibrated in my brain. There is always a sacrifice. Whether you have decided to work full time and have others help you navigate the busy lives of your kids daily schedule or you’ve opted to be a stay at home mom – the choices that we, as women, are forced to make can be daunting. It’s all a struggle and the more and more I have the opportunity to talk to women, the more I realize how hard we are on ourselves.
This site is a combination of the many layers of my life. I have been blessed with being in the right places at the right time. After graduation from UCLA in 1984, my first job was working in the entertainment industry and my mentors were Bernie Brillstein and Brad Grey. I learned by observing, listening and participating. Those formative years was where I learned the art of networking, talking to people, negotiating the day, the people, the projects. It was invaluable. It was in that space that learned how to connect the dots.
At the beginning of 1989, I had left my job and I was waiting to start a new job. In that waiting period I was making gifts for friends and unbeknownst to me, Little Folk Art was born. I birthed it on the top of my dining room table and I had no idea, at the time, that I was becoming a Black Swan. Just this past year I learned what a Black Swan is:
The black swan theory or theory of black swan events is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying that presumed black swans did not exist – a saying that became reinterpreted to teach a different lesson after black swans were discovered in the wild.
As a black swan, I created an industry where there was none before. I was the inspiration for many big-box companies, too many to mention here. Creating the infamous global children’s lifestyle brand, Little Folk Art. I pioneered the children’s furniture movement with my distinctive designs and Americana, soulful vibe. What started out as a residential furniture design business, ultimately curated into a collection of furniture, bedding, fabrics, and decorative home accessories. Little Folk Art’s flagship boutique on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica expanded in 1999 to New York, Chicago, Houston, and Toronto. While I was featured on many media platforms, the highlights were appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1999 and designing the nursery (set) for the infamous feature film, Father of the Bride II. Other pivotal career boosts came as my designs were regularly featured in Architectural Digest, People Magazine, In Style, W Magazine, Metropolitan Home, and countless others. My clientele included top Hollywood celebrities, European royalty, and Fortune 500 moguls.
Two very specific events occured at a young age for me that helped me, in later years, identify myself as an entrepreneur. I was 7 and it was my dad’s birthday. My mom was in bed with the flu and the thought of my dad not being celebrated on this day was not settling well with me. I grabbed one of my mom’s cookbooks, picked out a cake recipe and got to work. Creating something, using simple pantry staples, was a fullfilling experience. I do recall the success in the finished product of the cake, however the frosting – not so much. That didn’t stop me and my thirst for creating something from nothing was amazing. But the real joy came with giving the homemade treat. For me, I became addicted to the response and how others felt when given a gift, that was created especially for them and then watch them enjoy it. That was a feeling I wanted to feel – all the time. The second was also when I was 7, maybe even 8. I stared making “Click-Clacks” in my garage. Simply because I wanted them for myself. Viscerally, I can still smell the strenght of that resin. Not a good scent! My friends liked what I was creating and wanted them too. I started selling them for a buck on the yard, during recess and lunch. Until, our principal – Mr. Kravitz – shut me down. Once again, the feeling that I felt in creating, giving and selling that creation was addicting. The fact that I could actually create something from an idea and a plan and then make money doing it – the light bulb went off.
Prior to the end(2008) of my of my 20 year career building Little Folk Art, I had started a very quiet, little food blog. This was simply going to be a space for my friends and family to gather the recipes that they had, for years, asking me to share. I started getting a following and became part of a bigger community of top food bloggers and it was fun, creative and I could do it in my pajamas!
People suddenly started coming to me and asking my advice. Advice on how to start and build a business, blogging, photographing, etc. My free advice quickly turned into paid advice and my next chapter was born. Since 2009 I have working with corporations, brands, entrepreneurs, and businesses – helping them identify or re-identity their brand and build their roadmaps. At around the same time, I re-entered the entertainment business via my middle child. He came out of the womb funny, and at the age of 9 he became a working child actor. In a very organic way, I circled back into the entertainment biz and currently, I am creating and developing content for film and television.
As an entrepreneur, I have always worn many hats. Today, as I navigate my consulting, media and marketing business my women’s groups and my virtual team-building enterprise, I am building my inner team and inner circle. At my core, I love helping people and I have always been one to connect and mentor.
I am using this platform to share with all you, all the wondreful people that have walked along side me. In addition, I will be sharing truth bombs, challenges, celebrations and everything in between.
I look forward to getting to know you! xx