Wow. It was ten years ago today that I officially started my own business. I can’t believe it! Even though it feels like yesterday that I took the plunge, A LOT has happened over the past ten years. In case you don’t know my story, here goes…
I was planning on working as a part time graphic designer after I had my son. I had it all figured out. I was going to be the best mom and still work and have it all! Well, the company I was planning on working for didn’t “do” part time. So I figured, no better time than now to start freelancing. Thanks to some contacts that I had from my corporate days, I started designing brochures and catalogs for businesses and eventually filed the proper paperwork to become an official LLC! Just for fun I started to create birth announcements and birthday party invitations for friends and family and decided it was a good idea to open my own stationery website. How cool, right?! If any of you sell your own products you know how hard it is to compete with the big guys and it takes a massive amount of time to market your products and get your name out there. I came to a crossroads. I figured the best way to introduce my brand and gain some wholesale customers was to exhibit at the National Stationery Show in New York. It was a HUGE investment and thankfully, my financially sound better half said - “why don’t you go walk the show first and see what it’s like.” So that’s what I did and thank goodness! I found Surtex, the art and licensing show which runs concurrently with the National Stationery Show, and realized that THIS is where I belonged!
Long story short, (kind of), I shut down my stationery website, started working on designing patterns, researched and submitted my work to (what feels like a million) companies, took an online class specifically for surface design and the business end of it all like reading contracts, etc., and here we are! I have exhibited at Surtex twice, once at Blueprint, have been SO fortunate to have worked with some fantastic companies and have had products for sale on many websites as well as in major stores like Anthropologie, Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, Michaels, Party City, Target and many boutique shops across the world. My designs have been published in a few different publications like HGTV Magazine and I have been featured in the Pattern Euphoria book as well as many online blogs. It’s kind of crazy how it all works. I remember when I first got in to surface design and hearing the phrase “it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon”, over and over. It’s definitely true. It takes time. It’s hard. You will get rejected. But that’s ok. Everything that happens shapes you in to the person you are. And at the end of the day I can truly say that I love what I do. When you see a product that you designed for sale in a store, there’s nothing like that sense of pride and accomplishment that YOU did that! It’s pretty cool.
So as I reflect back on the last ten years, I wonder where I’ll be ten years from now?! I have a bunch of new products coming out this year which I can’t wait to share with you! And we’ll see where this year takes me. I always have goals of companies I want to work with or styles of art that I’d like to explore, etc, but I still allow myself to meander a bit and see where this business takes me. So far it’s been a pretty darn good ride! :)