Y'all I was SUPER DUPER excited when Printed Mint reached out to me to be a part of their #girlboss interview series! I feel like I can actually buy one of those cheesy Girl Boss coffee mugs now. (Except maybe not because my cabinets already look like the Starbucks stockroom.) I can be a total Chatty Cathy when it comes to talking about running a business and getting started in this industry, so get comfy and grab your reading glasses. I LOVE sharing all the tips and tricks I've learned in my first year as a business owner, and I'm always all ears when it comes to hearing new advice, so let me know your best #skillz in the comments! Let's dive in, shall we?
Your business is booming-- and for good reason! What are your Top 3 time management hacks for creating, shipping + all of the good customer relation tactics?
- Use multiple systems for organization. My brain has 463 tabs open at all times, so I need #alltheways to stay organized. I use Dubsado for almost every facet every business; it’s been a game changer for me in streamlining my workflows, design proofing process and lead captures. I love how everything I create through Dubsado is branded beautifully, and how easy it is for my clients and I to share ideas and collaborate on their custom artwork. Anything that makes communication with my client easier is a win in my book. This saves me SO MUCH TIME on the nitty-gritty details so I can get back to paper and paint. (Psst...use code camimonet for 20% off!) I’m also a big fan of my Day Designer, Trello and scribbled to-do lists on paper scraps. It’s a bit of a chaotic mess, but it works for me.
- Make shipping as easy as possible. I was terrified of shipping in the first few months of business (What if it breaks? What if I didn’t buy enough postage? Why is the line always SO LONG at the post office?!), but investing in Shipstation and implementing drop-shipping fixed all my shipping woes. I print all my labels through Shipstation on my Dymo LabelWriter right smack dab on an actual label, which let me tell ya, is wayyyy better than the paper and packing tape label I used to use! It sends my customers an email with their tracking info and an email when it’s delivered. (Oh yeah, I’m fancy.) Basically, it makes me look way more legit than I actually am, and it saves me time and money. Who doesn’t love that? And then of course, making the decision to drop-ship all my mugs through Printed Mint has saved me a huge headache of shipping fragile items. Plus the packaging is so cute and right on brand for me! I love it!
- Stay on task and schedule your priorities. If I’m working on a project with a serious deadline, I swear that’s always the time when I get a new idea for a product or collection I want to launch. I think a lot of creative entrepreneurs can have this same “what’s next?!” problem, but I’ve learned that jumping around from project to project sucks up all my time. Now I use flexible block scheduling for my day, and I write down three main tasks that I need to get done.(Yep, just three!) I’ve also noticed that my projects will stretch to fill the amount of time I give them, so having a dedicated time block helps me knock out my tasks faster and more effectively. Instead of saying, “Oh, I’ll do that this afternoon;” I tell myself, “Girl, you’ve got from 1:00 to 2:00 to make this happen.” And bam, I turn into a productivity ninja. I’m also a big fan of setting time aside for what I need to do and time for what I want to do, so I can still have room for the non-client creating that’s just for me!
Your Instagram is seriously #gridgoals. What supplies do you recommend an artist should acquire to create similar photographs? Ex: Your lovely overhead shots!
All you need is an iPhone and good lighting. (Seriously!) I have two fab spots in my house that get the best light, so I always take my snapshots there during the day. (No overhead lights for me.) Soft, diffused light is best so you don’t harsh shadows! I use a white foam board to reflect light, and I have a quiver of backgrounds I like to use. Nothing fancy — think wooden vinyl backgrounds, sheets, or just a white canvas! I’m often in crazy positions and rolling all over the floor styling, adjusting and trying to get a good shot. (My husband thinks I’m nuts.) I love adding in fun little details to my shots too. Paintbrushes, paints, wax seals, ribbon, fresh florals and antique trinkets are my go-tos for styling accessories. Keep an eye out for interesting props at thrift stores! I love finding treasures that seem to have their own story, and styling them with my artwork flat lays. They can add so much personality to your shots and reinforce your brand and the feeling you want to evoke. Oh, and every photo I take is edited right in the Instagram app for consistency. I up the brightness like crazy, tweak the temperature and touch up the sharpness to get a bright and airy, yet crisp image.
Where do you gain inspiration for your designs? They all feel so personal.
I gather inspiration from pretty much everywhere! I get ideas from bits and pieces of conversations with my friends and husband and little moments in my life that I want to celebrate. (Like my morning cup of coffee.) Lately, vintage china and architecture have also been influencing me. And of course, I’m incredibly inspired by nature. As soon as I see a beautiful flower or I’m in the mountains, I’m ready to whip out my paint brush.
Read the rest of the FULL interview (and my number one piece of advice for business owners starting out) here!