Could you tell us about yourself? Where are you from, what do you do, etc.?
My name is Rita, a born and bred southern girl from the great state of SC. I have been happily married to my best friend for almost 20 years with 2 wonderful kids who are the light of my life. My daughter is a senior in high school and plans to go on to art school next spring, whilst my son is in 6th grade who loves coming up with new ideas and finding out about the way things work. I am a full time designer that focuses on cut file designs made especially for crafters and business owners to use for their electronic craft cutters. I was in the craft business since 2011, but I started doing design full time in 2015.
How did your design journey begin?
I have been blessed by God to have the opportunity of being a stay-at-home mom ever since my son was about 1 years old. I have always loved to make things to give away or for keepsakes. I also loved designing scrapbook pages for my family scrapbooks but eventually found a love in making personalised things with vinyl and my craft cutter. I started sharing my design projects on my Facebook page and got quite a lot of compliments, with friends telling me I should sell them. When my son went to kindergarten, I found myself at a new phase in life, with lots of time on my hands when both of my kids were in school. Instead of going back to my previous job, I decided to take my love for crafting and design further and decided to try my hand at turning it into a business. I opened my Etsy shop on March 2011 where I sold personalised tumblers, tiles, ornaments, and other items. I have never been one to follow the majority, so I used my cutting software to create my own designs, rather than making what everyone else was. Throughout this process, I found that I seemed to have a natural eye for font pairing and pulling together unique, cohesive designs. I was also a member of many crafting forums where I shared photos of what I was creating with individuals who were doing the same as me, and helped others who were trying to start their own business. I constantly had other crafters ask me if I ever sold my designs and telling me that I should consider it. My Etsy shop then became EXTREMELY busy over the next 4 years and by 2015, it had become way more time consuming than I wanted it to be as it began to pull me away from my family and friends. I found myself burning the midnight oil many nights just to keep up with my long list of orders. Therefore, I made a big decision and started listing my designs in my Etsy shop just to see if there was any interest in them. The response was really good, so by the end of 2015 I made the HUGE decision to deactivate all of my personalised items and switch over to designs all the way. In the months and years to follow, I expanded my business to include several other online distributors of digital designs including The Hungry JPEG and have found that my true love lies in designing. I love what I do and find great freedom in being able to design full time and still be there for my family. To say I feel blessed is an understatement!
Featured product: Family Our Refuge From The Storm
Where do you usually find your inspiration?
I find inspiration in just about everything I do in life. Although, I have to admit I love Pinterest a bit too much. During my many hours spent searching for things to add to my long list of boards, I often see things that spark an idea for a design, so I have a notebook that I write down my ideas in so that when I have design time, I can use it as a reference. My faith is also a very powerful inspiration for me. My favorite thing to design is scripture and inspirational statements so during my quiet time, I am often inspired by something I have read or seen. Many times, I have been inspired by something that is either sung or spoken at church, so I also have a notebook tucked away in my Bible so that I can jot down ideas as they come to me. I find that many times, those ideas are the ones that are the easiest to bring to life and I think that it is because they are the ones that have the most meaning in my personal life.
Featured product: Whosover Is Me John 3:16
Any favourite design references that you can share that might be helpful for other designers as well?
My most helpful tip for other designers would be to be yourself in your design rather than trying to find things to imitate. My best selling designs are the ones that came from my heart, not the ones that came from a reference. Let your heart and soul lead the way and you will find that not only are your designs better, but they are also more fulfilling to produce.
Featured product: Song Bird In A Cage With Music Notes
What are the most common design problems that you face?
This is an easy one, TIME! Trying to find time to follow through with all the design ideas I have jotted down in my many notebooks, on sticky notes, and Pinterest boards is quite overwhelming at times. I find that I create best when I am in the “creative zone”, but many times, I find myself in that zone when I have other more pressing issues to deal with. It is a constant balancing act, trying to keep all the balls in the air at once and so many times, I have wished for more hours in the day!
Featured product: American Flag Volleyball
Final question, do you have any advice or tips for anyone starting to sell their designs?
Be patient first of all. My design business didn’t happen overnight. It happened over the course of many months and years. Don’t get discouraged if your designs don’t explode on the design market right away. Secondly, keep being yourself. Keep being creative. Keep being unique. Always try new things and step out of your comfort zone from time to time because you may find yourself in a NEW comfort zone that you love. Finally, be sure to remember to have FUN! If you don’t enjoy what you do, then your customers won’t enjoy what you create. Life is a gift so use yours to inspire others and share happiness!
Featured product: Family God’s Greatest Masterpiece