Announcing the Special Prize winners of our From This Day Forward Letterpress Invitation Challenge! Minted’s letterpress invitations combine the unmistakable luxury of letterpress with innovative design that cannot be found anywhere else. We challenged you, our talented artist community, to show us your freshest take on this premium format. Congratulations winners!Comments Off on From This Day Forward Letterpress Invitation Challenge Special Prizes
“We have no clue where we’re going next or how long we’ll be in Colombia—we’re flying by the seat of our pants,” says Shari Margolin, a Minted artist who’s on a stopover in Los Angeles for a few days before embarking on the final leg of a global trek culminating in Latin America. The graphic designer and her husband, photographer Josh Meister, have concrete plans to meet up with Shari’s sister and brother-in-law in Nicaragua in a few weeks, but the rest is sort of up in the air.
After spending eight months trotting around Europe and Asia as part of a “year-long experiment,” the couple’s not too concerned about the unknowns of Latin America. Which isn’t to imply that they embarked on this journey with a completely laissez-faire attitude. They began “loosely planning” and daydreaming five years before they set sail in June 2017 from their home base in Atlanta, Georgia. Shari and Josh saved money, minimized their stuff, found tenants to rent their home, researched the heck out of everywhere they wanted to go, and launched SocietyofEverywhere to document the trip. The impetus? “We’re both slightly obsessed with travel and, technically, we can work from anywhere in the world,” says Shari. She’s a self-employed graphic designer, and Josh is a photographer.
With three months left to go, here’s the story of what they’ve seen, how they’re feeling, and what they’ve eaten so far.
Minted: You just spent about four months in Europe, four months in Asia, and now you’re about to explore Latin America for the next four months. If you could do it again, would you do anything differently?
Shari Margolin: I’m glad we started with Europe because it eased us in to full-time travel—a lot of people spoke English, and it felt comfortable because we’ve traveled there before. But it was the most expensive region, and if we were to plan the trip again, I’d spend a little less time there and also visit more of Eastern Europe, for the cost savings and to get off the beaten path a bit more.
I’ve heard super good things about Sri Lanka and am bummed we didn’t make it there. A year seems like a crazy long time to travel, but somehow it’s just not long enough, and inevitably, we’re going to miss some good places.Comments Off on In the thick of a global journey, Minted artist Shari Margolin feels braver, inspired, and slightly homesick
Announcing the Special Prize winners of our Fabric Frenzy Challenge! We were looking for a wide range of fresh, unique designs that could be used on everything from furniture and throw pillows to children’s home decor and apparel. Our community of talented artists submitted truly inspirational designs. Congratulations winners!Comments Off on Fabric Frenzy Challenge: Special Prize Winners
Minted has come a long way since the company’s humble beginnings in 2008. What started as a bud of an idea—and Founder Mariam Naficy’s quest to unearth hidden creative talent everywhere—has blossomed into a marketplace that now surfaces the world’s best emerging artists.
We invited two Minted artists with similar—and yet, distinctly different—paths to interview one another.
First up is Amy Ehmann of Design Lotus, a pioneering Minted artist who joined the community 10 years ago during the dawn of the company’s crowdsourced design competitions. The Colorado artist ignited her freelance design business with fellow stay-at-home mom and best friend Tina Furjanic.
The second artist is Stacey McCarney, a newer community member who entered her first Minted design competition only 10 months ago. Stacey is an Irish designer, mom (who’s seven months pregnant with her second child), and lifestyle blogger. She worked in business for years before becoming inspired in a fabric store to teach herself design.
Written by Kelly Hird
With a growing number of Minted Design Challenges, now’s a great time to think about fresh ways to find inspiration and create work that showcases your personal strengths. Consistently generating innovative ideas can be difficult, especially if you’re designing for multiple product categories. To help provide tips for creating new work and defining your style as an artist, we turned to the experts: Minted’s talented artist community. “Create” art print by Jennifer Morehead
Set Your Creative Direction
With a flurry of excitement with the opening of each new Minted Challenge, here are some of the ways that Minted artists have embarked on their creative processes.
- Study the Special Prizes section of the Challenge PDF
The Special Prizes section in each Challenge PDF provides insight into what types of designs our Merchandising team want to add to the assortment. Use the list of Special Prizes to brainstorm the types of designs that are likely to be successful in a challenge.
- Consider your audience
Minted artist Karly Depew of Oscar and Emma makes a list of all the design styles that she wants to submit to a challenge. “I think about the consumer and what would appeal to them. For example, I always try to submit something classic, something modern, something bold, and something vintage.”
- Inspiration is everywhere—go find it
Every artist’s background and experiences give them a unique perspective. Understanding what inspires you on a personal level can help you create work that’s truly authentic. Artist Naomi Ernest finds inspiration by creating work that honors her family history and environment. “A passion for my local environment is always evident—the lakes, landscapes, and resources of my home state of Michigan provide constant connection and inspiration for colors, textures, and themes in my work,” she says.
Aspacia Kusulas collects objects, pieces of paper, and photos from inspiring places she’s visited to remind her of inspiring experiences. “My creativity is fueled by memories, travel, and everyday life,” says the Greek artist who lives in L.A., by way of Mexico.Some artists swear by creating a collection of ideas ahead of time, and drawing from them when the appropriate Minted challenge launches.Andi Pahl consults her journals for creative inspiration. “There’s always a surprising idea that I wrote down at some earlier point.”
Talk to creative types, designers, artists—heck, anyone who loves pictures—and they’ll likely tell you it’s nearly impossible not to get sucked into the eye-candy rabbit hole that is Pinterest.
Leah Ragain, a 37-year-old Minneapolis mom of four, was no exception. Every day during her kids’ naptime, she got into the routine of holing up on the couch and Pinning her favorite photos of food, home decor, and fashion, including those from her faves Smitten Kitchen and The Fauxmartha. But with the thought of earning supplemental income at the front of her mind, one day in 2015 her outlook completely changed. “I distinctly remember thinking, ‘I don’t want to spend my life just pinning other people’s ideas. I want to be the one creating something beautiful and have people Pin my work!’” Three years later, the rest has become history for hers in the making.
“It was like the light clicked and started a shift in my thinking,” Leah explains. From there, she purchased fonts, learned Adobe Illustrator, starting dreaming, and began entering Minted Design Challenges. “I decided to really go for it,” she says. And though Leah still loves Pinterest, she now uses it as a tool instead of an obsession. Here she tells more of how her life and creative path are evolving.
“Love to You” Valentine’s Day card by Leah Ragain
Minted: Did you tell anyone about your a-ha! moment to become a designer, or did you keep it a secret to yourself?
Leah Ragain: I talked to my husband and a couple friends—it wasn’t really something I wanted to announce to the world in case I wasn’t good at it. My husband has been so great from the very beginning and has always encouraged me to keep moving forward. I don’t think he realized how much of his life would be listening to me talk about fonts, color palettes, and Christmas cards! I’ve also had a few friends cheering me on and have encouraged me every step of the way.
Minted celebrates the strength, vision and resiliency of independent artists around the world, and the vast majority of our artists are women. They are business owners and stay-at-home moms, lifelong artists, and those just discovering their creative identity for the first time. Our artists live in all 50 states and more than 90 countries. They share a deep love for creative expression, personal growth, risk-taking, and most importantly, paying it forward by helping each other.
In celebration of International Women’s Day—and the empowerment of women every day—we’re honored to share some of the stories of the many remarkable women in our global community of artists.
Lauren Packard of New York City
After overcoming brain cancer, the teacher rediscovers her passion for abstract art
I used to come home from elementary school, play my record player, and make art. From then on, art has been a love affair. After college, I drifted away from art because of the demands of being a new teacher and the constraints of New York City apartment spaces. Then, in February 2014, I unexpectedly had brain surgery to remove a large tumor. During recovery, word communication was difficult, and I suddenly had this urge to make art—I had to paint. I think for some reason that part of my brain felt more “alive”—it was my form of communication. Painting is what made sense at a time when a lot of things didn’t. My surgery also put a lot of things in perspective for me, and I knew there would never be a perfect time to start making art again. If I wanted to make art, I just needed to do it, so I made it a priority. I was no longer inhibited or insecure as I was in my younger years. It was just something I needed to do for myself, by myself. In a lot of ways, I feel lucky for that brain surgery.
How Minted fuels my independence
My work celebrates an independent way of seeing and thinking, which I hope to engage the viewer in. Creating work for Minted also has helped fuel financial independence, allowing me greater freedom to create art. Minted Design Challenges encourage me to keep pushing myself as an artist to create unique work.
Zhi Ling Lee of London, England
The IT consultant strikes a balance between the financial world and the arts
If you had told my younger self that I would have tens of thousands of my cards sold around the world, I wouldn’t have believed you. But that’s exactly what’s happened since I began designing for Minted in 2014. Minted has been the biggest driver for me to improve my skills and experiment with new approaches and techniques.
While I’ve always had an interest in art, I took a more traditional path, majoring in software engineering. After graduating university, I started a corporate IT career, and I now work in the financial services industry in London. I’m glad I took some time to learn design, and my mantra is “Never stop learning.” I’m always trying new techniques by following online tutorials, and if I’m participating in a Minted challenge, I set out specific hours after work to research, sketch, and complete my designs.
How Minted fuels my sense of independence in life
Minted gives me the freedom to pursue design while keeping my day job. So many of us have varied interests, and Minted has allowed me the opportunity to celebrate my creative side. Independence for me is living without the constraint of pursuing only one path, as having two tracks to run in life is much more interesting and fun.
Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or a seasoned professional, there’s always something new to learn in the world of business.
This week, Minted Founder and CEO, Mariam Naficy joins Harry Stebbings on The Twenty Minute VC podcast to share her learnings navigating venture capital, capital efficiency, scaling your business, and more. Learn about Mariam’s experiences by downloading this information packaged episode on iTunes HERE.Comments Off on Mariam Naficy Talks Venture Capital with Harry Stebbings on The Twenty Minute VC