As part of my creative business journey, I have included another series on my blog. It’s called Meet the Maker and it’s where I share awesome stories from some of my favorite makers. This is to help inspire and motivate, but to also help promote the handmade community. I believe that if we all come together to support and promote each other, amazing things can happen.
And just by happenstance, the very first maker in my Meet the Maker series is the lovely Amanda Wright from Wit & Whistle. Not only does she have the best name in the world, she also prints on anything from pillowcases, hand towels, greeting cards, journals and more.
Amanda, 29, graduated from the North Carolina State College of Design in 2006. There, she learned a valuable lesson: don’t give up if something doesn’t turn out right the first time.
Every project goes through many drafts before completion. Design is a process with many steps, and not all of those steps are nice to look at!
Ain’t that the truth.
After graduation, she got a job at a design firm and while she loved where she worked, she wasn’t allowed very much creative freedom. While she had a few clients that were more open-minded, others weren’t as cooperative, which is something she admits she didn’t learn about in design school.
They’ll slap a big ugly logo onto your beautiful design and ask you to rearrange your masterpiece until it’s unrecognizable. Each time that happened it was a painful stab to my creative spirit.
She started designing cards in her free time, under the name Spawn Studio. To her surprise, her card sales took off, and her husband Daniel encouraged her to quit the design firm and work on her greeting card business from home. It took a few months of him pushing her, but she finally made the leap in 2009.
While she’s not a fan of all the math involved with running your own business, she does appreciate the flexible hours.
I relish the freedom to work on what I want to, when I want to. After all, the creative urge doesn’t always strike between the hours of 9 and 5!
With more time to create when and what she wants, she keeps a running list of ideas in her head. Then when she is in a creative mood, she will pick from the list.
I do most designing in my sketchbook. Then, I scan my drawings into the computer and add color digitally. I started out printing, folding, and cutting all my products myself, but now I work with a local printer to produce most of my goods. That way I have more time to create!
Making her own schedule allows her a few creative brain farts from time to time.
Sometimes there will be a multiple week stretch in which I wonder if there’s even a speck of creativity left in my body. Usually the cure is to step away and do something else for a while. I might repaint a room of the house, bake something, snap some photos, or come up with a DIY project for my blog. When I get back to designing, my brain fart has usually dissipated.
Brain fart or not, Amanda is motivated by her desire to constantly improve. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, she is never completely satisfied with her work, which drives her to keep practicing.
It’s cliche, but I want to be the best I can possibly be. I want to make the most of this amazing opportunity to pursue my dreams.
A Regina Spektor fan, Amanda will sometimes listen to music while she is designing, but her studio time is usually spent listening to podcasts, like Relic Radio‘s rebroadcast of science fiction radio shows from the mid 1900s.
They’re cheesy in an endearing way. They always make predictions about the distant future (1997), and they’re always way off. (We are supposed to be living on Mars with robot slaves by now.)
Amanda would describe her work as “pretty with an unexpected touch of crassness,” and sometimes, the crass can be a little too unexpected, like she learned with her biggest card flop – a Mother’s Day card for new moms.
The front said something like “POP, CRACK, GROAN, SNAP, RIIIPPPP…” and the inside said “It’s a good thing you have nice birthing hips.”
Always wanting to improve, Amanda is taking a crash course in Calligraphy with Molly Jacques on Skillshare. She is also working on spiral notebooks, her 2013 holiday line, notepad designs and even her Valentine’s Day cards. With all this going on, she admits she has a hard time relaxing.
Even when I’m watching TV I have my sketchbook in hand. My husband and I try to go on a big trip every year or so—preferably to someplace where I can get a new stamp in my passport. It’s nice to force myself out of my comfort zone and experience something totally new.
Amanda says that being a small business owner has taught her not to over-think it. She didn’t follow the normal process of writing up a business plan and getting everything figured out before setting up shop. She slowly started putting her work out there, and it has continued growing.
Maybe that’s not the smartest business advice, but it has worked pretty well for me. If I had tried to figure everything out in the beginning, I would’ve been overwhelmed and given up!
As if sharing her story was not enough, Amanda is also offering a 15% off your purchase at her store. Just click on the coupon below! If you want to learn more about her, you can connect with her on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
If you have an idea for a good Meet the Maker profile, please post in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #meethtemaker or simply tag me in your post! And you can find more inspiration for my Meet the Makers series and creative business journey on Pinterest!