Meet Dusty Rose Jenny Burgos

Jenny Burgos is the co-founder of SugarHill Works, a boutique printing, scanning and web design company based in New York. We spoke with Jenny about design peeves, elephants and stimulus.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Nutley, New Jersey.

Why the name: Sugar Hill Works?

We live in the Sugar Hill neighborhood, which is a little part of Harlem. We run our business from our apartment, so that’s why we chose the name. We have no affiliation with the hip-hop outfit The Sugar Hill Gang. Apart from liking them.

You and Dan Weisser are the co-owners of this business, which you run from home, and also room-mates. Do you see too much of each other?

We have a great relationship, so it’s not really a problem. Dan can do a lot of work off-site, so if it gets really claustrophobic, he can work from a cafĂ© or friend’s house. . We also have two other co-partners in the business: Ciel Mahoney and Tan-ya Gerodette. Ciel also lives in the area, so they work at her place too.

It sounds wonderfully incestuous…

Dan and I worked in a rental darkroom together, and we gradually got tired of working for other people. So we decided to start a boutique business of our own, producing high quality inkjet prints, excellent film and flat art scans and building custom websites. Ciel and Tanya are friends who donated their time and ideas and are now partners.

What is the biggest start up challenge?

When you start your first business, you don't realize all the costs and minor details there are. Also finding customers and earning their trust is always a challenge. We have their livelihoods in our hands. We are handling their negatives or running their sites, which are their main contact with their customers.

That makes sense. It should be. What are you most proud of, so far, in running this business?

First of all, we’re just proud we did it. And people give us props for offering low prices to people who are just starting out in the business, and I’m proud of that too. One of the coolest things we did was hosting a free gallery show for all out clients. We rented a gallery space in Chelsea and invited all of our clients to submit a piece of work. The broad theme was “Elephants and Candy”.

Elephants and Candy?

Candy for SugarHill, Elephants, because Dan likes them. He likes them an enormous amount. What's not to like about elephants? The show was a great success, one of our clients sold their work.

You design incredible websites. So many sites online are just terrible. What are your design peeves that make you scream ‘you should have used Sugar Hill’ at the computer screen?

It’s got to be navigation. I’m putting together a bridal shower for my sister at the moment, and shopping for gifts and stuff for the event. So many sites make it so hard to see their merchandise. It’s as if they secretly think that if they make their website bad enough, you’ll just give up and make a trip to their physical store. I won’t. Photos looking unprofessional I obviously hate. Clashing colors, fonts that don’t catch your eye… the list is endless.

Until those sites beat a path to your door, we hear you’re asking President Obama for some help?

Yes! We are trying to get a small business loan from the Stimulus Package. There are not many available, but I think we have a good shot. The loan is up to $35,000, which would really help a lot.

What was your favorite piece from the shoot?

That first dress I wore – the black lace one. It was really short but had a high neck line. I don’t wear things like that very often, but it was wonderful. Modest and sexy and classy, all at the same time.

Thanks, Jenny.

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