Made By Girl was being featured in our Cool Jobs column and I took the opportunity to reach out and ask her my own questions about starting a stationery business. She was just as sweet and willing to answer my questions now as she was all those years ago.
Hi Jen, it's so nice to talk shop with you again! It's great to see how you've grown your Made By Girl greeting card and print line and all the press you've received over the last few years. You've even added a whole new business line to your name. Are you still developing your card collection or are you focusing more on the original artwork that you've started selling this year?
I'm actually doing a bit of both. However, Made By Girl is my main business and so I've been thinking of expanding the store and bringing in other items into the shop besides prints and cards.
Speaking of expanding, congrats on the success of Cocoa and Hearts! What made you decide to launch a separate business for your paintings?
Thank you! I've been so blessed that Cocoa and Hearts has done so well! I guess I could have easily launched paintings on Made By Girl, but it just made more sense to create an entirely new site.
It was definitely easier this time around. With Made By Girl, I now had customers to introduce my paintings to. Whereas when I first started MBG, no one had ever heard of me before so it was a bit of a challenge. But it didn't stop me from trying, I just kept at it. Painting tends to evoke a feeling of tranquility for me and it helps me relax. I really enjoy it.
I have to admit I don't always understand abstract art and usually just go with what's visually pleasing to me. That said, I wish the artists would explain their thought process behind their work to let the rest of us in on the story. Could you just share what message you try to convey through your pieces?
There isn't a meaning or explanation when I paint. I just paint how I feel that day and if I feel like crap for some reason, the paintings will also look like crap. So, I usually try to paint when I'm feeling good! My paintings are mostly about color and how they can accentuate or brighten a space. It's as simple as that.
When I started back in 2006, I only knew of a handful of good design blogs and they all knew each other. I was the newbie trying to break in and get my name out there but no one was listening. It took me almost a year until people took notice. I think I've managed to maintain a following because of the surprise aspect and variety in content. I always make sure I provide good clear photographs and interesting posts, which I really think my readers appreciate.
What can we expect from your two shops in the future? We'd love to know what projects do you have in the works!
With Cocoa and Hearts I'm hoping to keep launching more paintings, especially larger ones, maybe even some mixed media. Then with Made by Girl , new site design, new art, framing availability and possibly even adding products by other designers!
Images: cocoaandhearts.com, madebygirl.com, madebygirl.com, madebygirl.com, and cocoaandhearts.com