How would you describe your style? And how has it evolved recently?
I always say that I have a ‘less is more’ mentality when it comes to my design, but I think that my range of style is definitely evolving. I like to have designs that people can immediately recognize as mine, but I also want to design something that surprises people when they realized it’s my work. Designing for Minted is my favorite way to exercise that creativity, to challenge myself, and push myself to think outside the type of style that I am used to doing.
Tell me about one of your more recent designs for sale on Minted and how it came together.
I love when we get to design new products, so my favorite recent designs are my ‘MOM’ and ‘DAD’ photo giftwrap. I was trying to figure out how to incorporate photos in a unique way, and the ‘MOM’ version came to me first. Then I realized that ‘DAD’ could work too with a triangle. I love how they turned out and I really can’t imagine any parent who wouldn’t want a gift wrapped up with their children’s photos on them. Photo giftwrap was pretty much made for parents, no?
Your Derby Party instagrams were so great! What are some fun party planning tips or ideas that come to mind?
Thank you! We had so much fun throwing our first party and we definitely want to make it an annual thing. The Kentucky Derby was a theme in itself, and I loved incorporating all the traditions of the race day into the party, from bowties and hats to southern food and mint juleps.
Guests really raved about our food signs and décor, and I was surprised how something so easy was such a hit. I know it’s easy for me as a designer to whip up, but with Minted’s party décor and a little planning, anyone can easily do the same. A small effort goes a long way for guests, and while it’s easy to do the minimum, I love doing those little things to make the day feel extra special and fun.
I know you just moved into a new home and are doing some work… How does your graphic design sense influence your interior design?
Yes, we have been in our home for about a year now, and I have really loved decorating. I have a transitional style when it comes to interiors – I love mixing classic pieces and antiques with modern furniture and patterns. I think as a designer, I am more in tune with my style and what I like and less influenced by what other people think and what is in stores at the time. It can be overwhelming but I started choosing one piece at a time, and it all eventually comes together.
I really feel like anything goes when it comes to decorating your home, as long as you stay true to what you love and makes you happy. You are the only person that knows what it takes to make your house a home and a place you love spending time in.
Do you have a new home office?
I did set up my office in one of the rooms. I didn’t buy any new furniture but recovered a chair that my mother-in-law gave to us, that belonged to my husband’s grandmother. It was in rough shape and I just love how it turned out. I rarely get to sit in it myself, but it’s my dog, Marley’s favorite spot to keep my company.
I also got a rug from Anthropologie that definitely makes a statement. It’s so much brighter than anything I normally pick, but it just caught my eye and I love how it just works in there. My office is definitely a space that I love going into every morning.
What is a typical day like for you?
I wake up usually around 7 and always get ready for the day. Whether I make it out of the house or not, getting dressed for ‘work’ makes me feel like myself and I feel more productive.
I head into my office around 8 and sit down with some coffee to work. In addition to designing for Minted, I also run my own wedding invitation studio, so most of my days involve working with wedding clients, filling etsy orders, and responding to emails. If a deadline is looming, I will put in a few hours designing for the latest Minted challenge. A few times a week, I have press checks at my printer, meetings with clients or I’ll run errands or plan lunch/coffee with friends, so I can get out of the house a bit.
I typically work till 6 or 6:30, and when my husband gets home from work. My evenings are for cooking dinner, walks and relaxation. When things get busy, I will work in the evenings, but I am trying to make this an exception and not the norm.
How do you balance all the different parts of your business… your custom work, your own Etsty shop and designing for minted?
Now that my business have been up and running for a few years, my focus is keeping things manageable and enjoyable for me. What’s the beauty of running your own business if you aren’t having a good time with it? My priorities are my wedding clients and Minted, and I cut back on custom projects and non-wedding orders when things get too busy. Balance is certainly something I’m still trying to figure out!
As an independent designer, how do you self-motivate / stay on track?
It took some adjusting when I first started working from home, because there can be a lot of distractions, but I try to limit my time on social media, blogs and pinterest, which you can lose hours to before you even know it. I keep pretty intense to-do lists: lists for each client, lists of things to do that week and what must be done that day. I keep them on my phone, computer, on notepads on my desk. It’s my way of always refreshing my memory on everyone’s status and what I need to be doing at a given time.
Any advice you’ve been given that’s really stuck?
Determine your ultimate goal for your business and make decisions based on that goal.
It seems like an obvious piece of advice, but one thing I’ve seen happen to me and to a lot of creative entrepreneurs, is that businesses can grow fast. It’s very exciting when things become busier and busier, and it’s easy to get caught up in it, but I recognized early on that I wanted my business to stay small (read: just me!) and be something that made me an income and ultimately just made me happy. For some reason, hiring help has never appealed to me, so when opportunities come my way, however glamorous the idea sounds, if its going to lead me beyond what my ultimate goal is, then maybe it’s not something I should do. Making decisions about your business is hard and I may not be the biggest design studio and have the most clients, but remembering that goal has helped me grow my business into one that I am happy with and proud of.
What advice would you give a new stationery designer?
Figure out the type of design that you want to do, and focus on that. As a solo business owner, I’ve learned, that one person can only do so much. If you want to launch a greeting card line, you’ll want to focus on wholesale, or if you like working with brides, a custom design studio might be for you. I think the stationery industry is so much broader than people think – from the type of business to the category of designs, to the style – I think there is room for everyone to do well, but narrowing down and finding your niche will likely bring you the most success.
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