Meet amazing Amy who had such a love of art and design that she decided to start her own graphic design business.
Hi Amy! If you could first of all introduce yourself and say a bit more about your background/life story
I’m Amy, a freelance graphic designer and wedding stationer from Lancashire. When I was younger I used to draw and design things all the time. I would spend ages designing menus for my pretend cafe, or logos when playing shop. After leaving school I decided to do an art foundation course, but it was during that year that my mum sadly passed away. Despite my sadness and grief, I threw myself into completing my course and gained a distinction which I was really proud of. I then studied graphic design in Cumbria where I also met my husband. I took on a few freelance projects, designed my own range of printed clothing which I sold on a stall and in boutiques, and tried the handmade scene with mugs, hair clips and artwork. I really enjoyed the excitement and passion of working for myself but I didn’t follow my heart and I got a job as a designer where I stayed for a couple of years. However, as my heart wasn’t in it and my creativity was stifled, I left to finally pursue my heart! I took on 2 jobs, one in a sandwich shop and one in a school, both of which I enjoyed, and I began setting up my design business. I’ve since worked with some brilliant clients and couples, and have had my work featured in various places. I was also really thrilled to be a finalist in the Wedding Ideas Awards 13, the British Wedding Awards 16 and the Guides for Brides Awards 16. But by far the best achievements are my 2 gorgeous children who keep me busiest of all.
Tell me a bit more about your business and how you first came up with the idea.
When my husband and I were planning our wedding, I knew I wanted to design the stationery so that’s what I did. We received so many lovely comments about them that I wondered why I wasn’t designing stationery for others. Friends and family began asking me to design theirs and I created a small range which I launched at a local wedding fair. I added my logo and branding design section of my business not long after as I really enjoy working on branding and logo designs, especially with small businesses and start ups, as I feel passionate about helping new ventures look good and establish a positive brand identity when they start out! I also have a few cards and prints which I sell online and from a pink suitcase at local craft fairs near to Christmas.
I’m always working on ways I can develop my business to offer new services and products. I’m currently working on new items for my Not on the High Street shop which I hope to have restocked soon. I’m also learning how to juggle my new baby, toddler and business after my 2nd maternity leave.
What have been the best and worst things that have happened since you’ve been in business?
The best things have been being a finalist for the Wedding Ideas Awards, British Wedding Awards and Guides for Brides Awards. These were such amazing moments and I was so grateful for all the support from my clients, customers, friends and family. I couldn’t do it without them! The worst has been when others have claimed my work to be their own/tried to sell my work online. I just tried to remain calm and polite when all this was happening and tried to protect everything I’ve worked so hard to create and build up.
If you could go back in time, would you change anything?
There was an opportunity before I took my design job, to open a cute little shop which I could’ve filled with my design products and worked freelance from. But I turned it down to take the full time job and I think, looking back, I would’ve rather given the shop a go. I’m not saying it would’ve worked but i guess I’ll never know now!
How do you fit in running your business with your family?
My family come first. Every time. I won’t get these years back with them so I’m trying to cherish every moment. I’m grateful for my hubby who also works for himself as he supports me so much! And I do most of my work during nap times, pre school hours and evenings so that I can be mummy most of all because this time is so precious!
Who do you look up to in business?
I look up to all the small business owners out there! I’m friends with other designers who are all inspiring in their own way. They push themselves to achieve their dreams and they know it’s hard graft and passion and not an easy ride. I love being able to chat to them about the industry and how they are getting on. Being freelance can sometimes be lonely so having a few like minded folk around really helps! Plus, they’re amazing so they keep me inspired too!
Are you a member of any networking groups or other associations which help support your business growth?
I’ve just joined Suzannah’s business group, and a couple of other business groups too. I’m also part of the Not on the High Street sellers group on Facebook and these are all proving really helpful for keeping me motivated and up to date with business matters. They’re also a great way to ask questions to people who understand.
What 3 words would you use to describe your ‘business self’?
What 3 business tips would you pass onto other mums who are running a business?
Cherish your kids, time with them is so precious. Remember you’re doing it for them so don’t miss out on time with them in the process!
Make sure you avoid burn out by taking some time for yourself. It’s sometimes hard to draw a line under work especially if you work from home. Little treats or time with friends can really help you recharge. Trust yourself, if you feel a deal isn’t worth doing or you want to try a new range then do what you feel is best for your business, don’t compare or try to keep up with others – Believe in yourself!
Finally, where can we find you online?