My First Year in Business

My First Year in Business

If you're a maker or a creator looking to find a way to sell your goods to the masses, I write about my first year in business on Etsy, debunk some myths, and share some tools I use to help me work more efficiently and effectively.

Sticker Mule : Dribbble Canada Playoff Challenge

 Go give this one a 'like' on Dribbble by clicking  here .

Go give this one a 'like' on Dribbble by clicking here.

Just for fun (and a $20 credit to Sticker Mule), I designed a potential sticker for the Canada Challenge Playoff. Its concept is based on the welcoming nature of Canadians, retro motel signage, and a simple colour palette of hot reds and cool, icey blues.

If you're interested in participating, it's on until June 29th. Details can be found here.

Father's Day Feature : Redbubble

My Happy Camper was featured in Redbubble's Father's Day blog post today. Wahoo! What an exciting email to get. That definitely makes me a Happy Camper :-)

This Happy Camper design has been so popular, I'm not only expanding on products I offer in my Etsy shop, but I'm also expanding my line of designs to include more adventure/outdoor themed designs. 

Take a peek at some I've already got available - and there's definitely more coming down the pipe so stay in touch with me on instagram to get the latest on when new designs are available. 

Happy Camper : Cotton Bureau

Some exciting news hit my inbox yesterday; My Happy Camper design was chosen to join Cotton Bureau's fabulous catalogue of t-shirts for 2 weeks. 

What does that mean exactly? Well, it'll be available for pre-order on the Cotton Bureau website for 2 weeks. Since I've currently locked down 16 sales, it'll definitely print (12 was the minimum) but, it's only available until May 16th at 8PM so go grab one here while you still can. If you were a little late on the ball, go forth and put in a request to have it come back!

 Sold as stickers, buttons, and - soon - patches through my Etsy shop.

Sold as stickers, buttons, and - soon - patches through my Etsy shop.

A little history on this design...it was originally inspired by my top selling Happy Camper design shown here and I adjusted it to suit the 4 colour screen printing process. I almost think it got even more vintage-y with the 4 colours which is awesome. What do you think?

Generally speaking, I wanted this design to bring back feelings of childhood and summer's away, camping among the trees and under the stars. I know it does that for me so I hope it does that for all you outdoor lovers out there too.

On top of it being sold at Cotton Bureau, it's also currently being sold on Redbubble on a number of items as well as stickers, buttons, and (soon) patches through my Etsy shop.

3 Ring Circus : Sticker Pack

 Limited Edition 3 Ring Circus, 2016

Limited Edition 3 Ring Circus, 2016

I launched a colourful new sticker pack today inspired by my 3 Ring Circus art print I illustrated last year and my youthful obsession with candy.

These guys are 3 in the first (of possibly many) volume(s) of quirky ring pop characters and only 50 sets are available. 

I've also made available a one-of art print that you can purchase with a sticker pack complete with stamp of authenticity, signature, and edition number. 

Check out my Etsy shop for more details and let me know what other stickers pack YOU want to see in the comments below.

Selected Exhibition : Carded 2017

I was super stoked to be a part of the last event at Hot Art Wet City (HAWC) called Carded. This Smart Ass was my submission and I was lucky to be 1/50 artists selected to have their art printed on trading cards.

I'm a bit of an introvert, even though I have some extroverted qualities, so sparking conversations with people I don't know is sometimes tough for me. However, these kind of events are a little more than your usual mix and mingle since we're all trying to hustle for the cards we want. I love connecting with the artists and, of course, the collectors who seek me out for a signature or trade. I also do some seeking as well when I get a card that I just have to get signed. I turn into a fan girl, running around trying to find the artist for a signature and meet and greet. That's when it gets fun.

I met some really great people at this one - as usual - and they always impress so I'm hoping they don't die with the closure of HAWC. Time will tell. 

This Smart Ass is a part of a larger series I've illustrated and can be found in multiple shops in the form of art prints, mugs, shirts, plaques and more. So head over to my main page and you'll be directed to where to find them.

HOT ART Wet City : Eat Yo Self

 Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show

Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show

Confession: Statler and Waldorf's sit in the balcony of my brain—mocking, criticizing, and laughing with each new idea I have.

Who else has this dilemma?

I used to listen to them a lot, thinking they knew best. (Sometimes I still do) I see them as my protectors who are saving me a lifetime of shame, embarrassment, and humiliation.

However, when I listen to them as much as I do, I find myself yearning and wondering 'what if'. That's when you know you have to tell them to shut up and sit down.

While I haven't found a way to get rid of them all together, I have learned to care less about what they think. I hear their criticisms and warnings but I try new things anyways, which really helps silence them - especially when I succeed. And even when I fail, I tell them that it's still a success because I know what doesn't work for me or maybe I know a better way to execute an idea now that I've failed. It's really a win-win.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend encouraged me to submit art to an art show at Hot Art Wet City. And of course Statler and Waldorf had a hay-day to know that I was entertaining the idea since it was completely out of my comfort zone. 

Even still, I kicked around some ideas and spent a good week or two developing and executing concepts. In the end, I had 4 strong concepts that I was really happy with and submitted for review and approval. Whether I was approved or not, was definitely not the measure of success on this project since that part of it was out of my control. The real success here was actually doing it and loving the results; Knowing that my little engine "could".

Low-and-behold, my pieces were approved and I was asked to drop off framed and unframed copies before the end of May. 

Take that Statler and Waldorf!

Here are the details for the event. I'll be there on June 3rd for the opening reception so hopefully you are too!

"Back to the Future, Circa 1985" : Illustration

 Back to the Future, Circa 1985 illustration on t-shirt

Back to the Future, Circa 1985 illustration on t-shirt

"What if I send it in and they don't like it? What if they say I'm no good? What if they say 'Get out of here, kid. You got no future.' ? I mean, I just don't think I can take that kind of rejection." - Marty McFly

So...who can relate to this? I know I've experienced many "Marty McFly" moments so I definitely can.

Sometimes before we even put pen to paper to start a new project, our minds prepare us for ultimate failure. The 'what-if's' swirl about and the potential rejection seems to be too big to ever come back from. Our dreams flash before our eyes and we make a decision to not even bother. 

On one hand, you want to get out there and make your place in the world; Show them what you've got. Then there's the other side that is scared of being judged, criticized, and rejected. Putting yourself out there can be a scary thing so it's natural for your brain to want to protect you from all that. But in reality, it's usually never as big of a deal as we make it out to be. If we want to gain any traction or want experience new things though, we have to do those scary things anyways. 

This was a block for me, for quite awhile. I didn't pursue what I wanted or share my work for the fear of being seen as amateur, not having what it took, or doing it wrong. A bit extreme, yes, and I had to do a lot of personal work to push through that. Once I did though, I became more confident despite those criticisms. I improved. I tried again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It is slowly becoming habit and instead of seeing the 'what if's' in a negative way, I'm starting to turn them into curiosity & wonderment.  'What if I succeed?!'

I also wonder if there's a slight fear in that thought too. What IF you succeed beyond your wildest dreams? What IF you realize something new about yourself? What IF you unlock new worlds? Is the risk of rejection worth it? Um...YEA! 

When I sat down to design something inspired by Back to the Future, I watched the movie to refresh myself and brainstorm people, words, phrases, and key points in the movie.  Originally, I had a very different idea but it already existed so I had to change direction.

I'm a big nerd for organization and love the photos where people lay out their wardrobe for the day or travel accessories in somewhat of a grid system, so I decided to combine those two ideas. The thought of illustrating everything overwhelmed me but I was up for the challenge. When I finished, I immediately wanted to ditch it. That little voice said, 'It's not enough.' Then it said, 'Maybe it's too much.' So I sat for a bit and thought about what worked and what didn't. I added. I removed. I sized. I rearranged. Until it had just enough to make it feel balanced. 

I was able to get passed all the noise in my head and, in the end, I was pretty happy with result. It's now up on my RedBubble site for all to enjoy and I even have a t-shirt of my own on the way which I will share on my Instagram when I get it!

In the meantime, tell me all about your "Marty McFly" moment.