Meet Julie Ann, the card-making extraordinaire whose business tagline is: "you won't find this shit at Hallmark." She has a whim for causing laughter with just one glance at her products, and for that, we adore her.
We really did laugh our asses (excuse our French) off when we scrolled endlessly through your Etsy shop. How on earth did you come up with such a brilliant brand?
I started Julie Ann Art on a whim and it was admittedly a long time before it became my full-time job. When I opened my Etsy shop in 2008 I had no idea what I was doing. Over the years, I continued developing my products and learning business lessons, which helped grow my business shop to became more established.
Would you ever have imagined yourself in the position you are in today?
I certainly dreamed it. Being that my business path has been slow, yet steady, there was definitely a point where I didn't believed I would get to this point. Sometimes I still can't believe I am self-employed and run a business by myself. It just goes to show that anything is possible if you work for it.
Do you ever wish your journey would have turned up slightly differently if you did this and that first? Knowing what you know now? What kind of advice would you give your younger business-lady self?
You know, I wouldn't change anything. I like not being immediately successful because it is the journey that makes the outcome so much more appreciated. It really challenged me and helped me grow, not only in my business but as a person. My product is a huge representation of who I am and I think figuring out what Julie Ann Art was going to be was correlated with finding out who my true self was.
How supportive is your family on your small business? Are they all hands-on with your business too? What about your friends?
My family is really supportive. Albeit, there may have been some nerves when I shared the news I was quitting my day job, they never had real doubt, and they definitely expressed pride. It has been two years since I became self-employed and they certainly celebrate that I've taken on a more unconventional way of life. I'm originally from Michigan, now living in California, so while they aren't exactly hands-on involved in my business, they always come to any shows I do in their area. And if my mom visits around Valentine's Day she knows she's getting put to work!
Where do you forage all your inspiration from? For us, it's always random and unexpected (the best kinds).
Since greeting cards are specially shared between two people I find most of my inspiration in my own conversations and relationships with others. This goes anywhere from talking about poop with my girlfriend, to having a husband who always steals my blankets! Once an idea comes to mind, it's the execution of turning the concept into a card that takes a lot of time. That one-liner needs to be juuuust right.
Talk to us about logistics; you're a one-woman show. Does it ever get overwhelming?
There are definitely days that are hard. Seeing my business grow has been extremely gratifying, but with that growth comes more work on my shoulders. There's always e-mails to be answered and orders to be processed. Do I think about how amazing it would be to have someone else do those things for me when I'm overwhelmed? Hell yeah. I'm really proud to have gotten JAA to where it is today on my own but I do think I can only do so much myself. In order to pursue additional growth I'm going to need to expand my business and hire help. It's is scary to think of, but I know it's the only way I will be able to take on bigger future goals.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5, 10 years? Are you a goal-setter? Or someone who simply just rides it out?
I don't think too hard about the long-term future. Maybe that's not the best practice, but I find that when you plan too far in the future, well, things change. Goals change, people change, the business changes. In 2015 I am hoping to expand my line into a lot more retailers nationwide. In doing that, I will likely need to pursue my first hire to manage those wholesale accounts. But 5 or 10 years down the road? My only goal is to still be running and enjoying Julie Ann Art.
We adore your cards and love all that you do! What's the next new item coming out? If you can spare the deets! What can one expect for the upcoming holiday season?
I am currently working on some new notepad designs and I hope to get those in the shop within the next month so they can be used as Christmas gifts. And of course, holiday cards are my big sellers at the end of the year, with Valentine's Day right around the corner so I'll be releasing a lot of new cards in the next few months!