[Interview] Founder of Julie Ann Art Shares How She Built The Quirkiest Greeting Cards Brand Ever

julieannart greeting cards

TYS was more than just chirpy and cheery to break into the creative enterprise of a lady who, with her focus and competency was able to knit her hobby of making the quirkiest greeting cards into a celebrated and affluent business. Courageous are those with a nerve to sink their dispassion only to keep afloat their unruffled interests and Julie Ann is certainly one such high-spirited soul.

Starting a self-owned venture in 2008, named Julie Ann Art, the founder of this inventive start-up was enkindled to take up her hobby as a profession after being confronted by her weary, monotonous and repetitive photography job. Little did the artist know that her seeds would grow out to become trees so tall and dynamic casing long and wide spaces, all around.

Today, Julie Ann Art products are sold internationally followed by a series of placid customer feedbacks. Ranging from locally printed cards to their box sets, everything is crafted beautifully by making use of recycled papers. Quality, décor and nature friendly. Great, isn’t it? Exhibiting a combination of designs concentrating on hand –written illustrations and lettering, her products are likely to be the least of an empotar’s worry.

To explore more about Julie, JAA (Julia Ann Art) and her life, here are a few questions to assist your steep eagerness!

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Image courtesy of Julie Ann
  

Hi, Julie! Can you tell us a little more about yourself? What are your quirks? Anything that people always associate with you with?

Hello! My name is Julie and I’m the owner of the paper goods business, Julie Ann Art. I was born in the mid-west, married on the west coast, and have just recently relocated to the east coast. Besides Julie Ann Art, I would think most people associate it with my dog! She is always by my side and even has her own Instagram account.

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Image Courtesy- Heywanderer

How different is Etsy from starting your own gig elsewhere?

I think Etsy is a great place to start because it’s user-friendly and there’s no large upfront cost. When I opened my shop, I bought art supplies to create some paintings and then paid a 20-cent listing fee and boom, I had an online store!

You can also spend a lot of time in the Etsy forums/teams to get tips, ask questions, and start building a sense of community.

If your goal is to build a brand and become self-employed, your own website is also really important. It will likely just take a lot more time and money to create and should be considered an investment in your business.

What kind of art had you been exposed to as a teenager? What art/artists would you cite as your influences?

I have always had an interest in Andy Warhol and his work. His combination of pop culture with art really set the bar for so many after him.

I love his ability to turn something so simple into some of the most iconic art pieces in the world.

Can you tell us something about your educational and professional background?

I graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Photojournalism and worked at a few photography studios after college. As time passed, I began to realize I was stuck on a plateau, working for companies that didn’t seem to care about the professional growth I was craving. For years I had been running my Etsy shop on the side until sales became so consistent that quitting my day job became an actual possibility.

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                               Picture Courtesy- Julie Ann Art

Were you always interested in making cards? What made you start your own Etsy shop; more precisely, why greeting cards, out of everything in the world?

In all honesty, I opened my Etsy shop without much thought or intention. I began selling paintings, for no other reason than “why not”? It took time to figure out my design style and my shop’s purpose.

I eventually landed on cards because it felt like a way to make art that served a purpose or reason. There is something about creating a piece of work that is shared between two people out of love that just makes being in the snail mail business extra special.

What about your job do you enjoy the most?

I love the ability to connect directly to my customers. I have buyers who have turned into friends because they have been with me on this self-employment journey for literally years. They have watched me quit my day job, they have watched me get engaged, and then married. They know my dog Penny and my obsession with her. I have found them to be so supportive and they really are the reason I get to do something I love for a living.

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Picture Courtesy- Pinterest

What advice would you give an aspiring blogger or someone looking to start their own Etsy page?

Get to work! There is no time like the present! Seriously, you don’t have to wait until you have it all planned out.

A lot of running a business is figuring things out as they are presented to you. You will learn as you go, but the first step is to get started.

Who are your favorite artists, the ones that everyone should definitely check out?

Two of my favorite Etsy shops are Nan Lawson and Berkley Illustration.

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  Picture Courtesy- Julie Ann Art

What is managing your own business like? What are some things you wish you had been given a heads up about?

Managing my own business is the best job I’ve ever had by far, but it is not a walk in the park. I think it’s a common misconception that being self-employed gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. The truth is that I feel a lot more tied down to my work than I ever did at any day job. E-mails and orders come in at night, on the weekends, and when you’re sick. While I may be able to take a vacation when I please, it is nearly impossible to take a “mental” vacation and stop thinking business thoughts.

Your works are fun, sassy and super quirky! Can you give us a glimpse into your creative process – the concept, initialization and what goes into making a product?

I always have a list on hand that I update any time an idea strikes. I only end up using maybe 20% of the concepts on this list, but I find it helps to just put everything out there because you never know if one idea will spark a better one. My designs are all hand-drawn and hand-lettered on either paper or an iPad and then edited in Photoshop or Illustrator. Then I work with a local printer to bring my products to life!

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  Picture Courtesy- Julie Ann Art

How do you deal with a creative block? Do you have any stress-busting rituals?

As frustrating as a creative block can be, I don’t try to force inspiration for my greeting cards. If I’m struggling with an idea I step away from the project and focus on something else instead. I also like to have brainstorming sessions with friends and fellow creatives if I feel stuck in a rut.

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 Picture Courtesy- Julie Ann Art

When you’re not working, what can we find you doing?

I like to spend time outside with my husband and our dog. We recently moved from the West coast to the East coast so we have been exploring the local trails and taking in the new sense of nature. I also will never say no to grab a drink (and tacos?) on an outdoor patio.

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 Picture Courtesy- Heywanderer

What are some of your favorite places to be? Are there any places you desperately want to visit?

Palm Springs might just be my favorite place. I loved visiting there while I lived in California because it was unlike any town I’d ever seen before. In the future I would love to visit Iceland and Machu Picchu.

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 Picture Courtesy- Make Collectives

Are you excited about the future? Can we expect something new on the store or other projects?

I am really looking forward to launching our new gift line this fall. It has been a challenge to focus on new gift products to add alongside our cards but the challenge makes it that much more fulfilling.

I will always love to sell greeting cards, but recently I have felt such a strong urge to do more, try more and learn more.

I can’t wait to share what new products we’ve been working on and hope that my customers love them as much as I do!

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 Picture Courtesy- Make Collectives

What music can we find on your weekend chill out playlist?

Mumford and Sons has been a longtime favorite of mine, I even have a tattoo of their song lyrics. Any of their music immediately puts me in a happy mood. I am also obsessed with Sia. She is such a one-of-a-kind artist with important messages carried throughout each her songs.

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 Picture Courtesy- Julie Ann Art

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Ahhh, Moose Tracks but it is SO BAD FOR YOU!! So bad… yet so damn good.

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 Picture Courtesy- Julie Ann Art

Are you a night owl or a morning person?

Morning person! I don’t know when that happened but all of a sudden I get up early and go to bed early. Does that mean I’m getting old?

Laying out a tranquil disposition, Julia Ann reflects perfect qualities for a person to breed on. With a mindset like that, she is definitely to inspire millions! To look at more of her fab products, check her out on Instagram!

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