Printed Mint #Girlboss Interview Series
Tell us about yourself, your brand (business name, products you sell & services you provide, and the market you serve) and your email address
My name is Stacey and I am a full time 2nd grade teacher at a brand new school in a suburb just west of Houston, TX. I opened my Etsy store, Smylies Creations on July 3rd, 2020! I do hand lettering and graphic design as I was a graphic designer prior to becoming an educator. I've had plenty of friends in the past encourage me to open up an Etsy store since I love creating a lot of things from doodling to lettering and creating designs for school, personal life, and more! I sell mainly shirts and stickers for all things teachers and non-teacher related things as well!
What year did you start your business and what inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I started in 2020 - I've been a creative artist for a long time. I actually have a Bachelor's Degree in Art. I mainly like to hand-letter and/or do graphic design work. I was a graphic designer at my last job so I was in charge of creating flyers, newsletters, posters, etc.. I loved doing all that and continue to do so for my classroom and school!
How did you come to learn what you do? (self-taught, education, classes, books, mentors etc.)
For hand-lettering, I am self-taught. I actually taught myself when I got engaged in hopes to be able to address my own envelopes. Which, I did, but they were not the prettiest at the time! My graphic design work was half taught from college and half self-taught as well. I love continuing my learning with anything and everything design related. I'm learning how to be a UI/UX designer, actually!
What has been the most rewarding phase of your career?
I hit 100 sales from my Etsy store in just a little over 2 months. I wasn't even expecting 50 sales! I wanted to just share what I love doing which is creating. It's really encouraging and warm to see how many people enjoy my work and support my little hobby/side gig!
What is the most challenging part about being an entrepreneur?
Sometimes I do get in a creative rut. I tend to not know what to create next so I end up looking for inspiration through other Instagrammers or browse through Pinterest. Usually my inspiration comes from things that I am currently going through.
What do you do for inspiration? Do you ever hit creative roadblocks and how do you overcome them?
Yes! Very often. I want to say this hits me on the weekly. Sometimes I really just can't think of anything to create and it used to discourage me, but not anymore. I've learned to be patient with myself. I do notice some days I'll wake up and have a million things on my mind I want to create. Or I'd see a post from someone else on IG and it makes me want to create something to go along that. I always make sure I'm only inspired and do not copy others' work. I would hate that happening to me!
What’s the secret to your success (personally/professionally/spiritually)?
Gosh - I don't even know if there's even a "secret"! I think posting daily even if it's just on my stories on IG has helped. The more I post and the more I show my audience the things I'm currently working on, they get curious and intrigued to the point where they want to hear and see more of me and my biz!
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs just starting out? Do you have any tips or tricks you learned along the way that you’d like to share?
BE TRUE TO YOU. Do what you love and continue to stick to YOUR brand. I've seen many people make mistakes of "copying" someone else's work and their business/side gig had to be shut down. It's disheartening to hear and see, but if you just stay true to your brand and stick to what you love doing, you'll be fine! Posting daily has also been helpful to me to get more views, likes, and followers. Don't just post something you think people will like. Don't think your work isn't good to show off. You never know! Some people may REALLY love your work. It could be a nice surprise!
What do you think the #girlboss / creative female community needs right now?
I think we need to continue supporting one another. I follow many people who inspire me. When I comment and praise and compliment their work, they reply with the kindest responses. It's soooo nice and comforting to see that people actually see your work and enjoy it rather than keep scrolling. I try to do this daily!
What are you working on now and what’s in store for your business this year?
Because I just hit 100 sales the other day on my Etsy store, I told my audience that I'd do a store in my store to celebrate! With that - I'm going to be releasing 4 new tees for the fall/autumn season. I was SO excited to show everyone the tees I designed so this is going to be so much fun to release!