I haven’t done anything with my Shop Talk feature in a while, but I think it’s time to revisit.
To remind you, Shop Talk is where I do a quickie Q&A with a shop I heart. In most cases, these are shops I’ve frequented and can tell you from experience: They rock and are uber deserving of your support and patronage.
One such shop is Julie Ann Art, card-designer extraordinaire. Julie Ann’s cards are simple and quirky with exactly the right sense of humor. Consider this beaut I gave the beau for Valentine’s day:
He guffawed and asked, “How do you find these things? It’s from Etsy, isn’t it?”
How did you get started as an artist? I developed an interest in art at a very young age. I think my grandma passed the trait on to me. I remember her teaching me fancy coloring techniques — well, as fancy as coloring can be, I guess. My interest in art followed me all the way into my college years, where I graduated with a degree in photojournalism. I now work in the photography field full-time while also dabbling in ink illustration for my greeting card line on Etsy.
How did you take that creativity and transfer it into cards? What made cards a product that interested you? I started selling on Etsy in 2008, and my shop has greatly evolved since then. My beginning product was original canvas paintings, and I was quick to learn that original paintings are not, shall we say, the most popular product on Etsy. I started thinking about other ways to expand my creativity in a more rewarding way and painted a few original cards. As demand started to increase, it got harder and harder to keep up with painting each order, so I eventually turned to a pen and paper to establish a more efficient system.
There are so many paper products on Etsy. What is one or two things you do that makes Julie Ann Art standout? With Etsy growing at a rapid pace, it is getting harder and harder to stand out in the crowd. Over the years I have worked on developing a distinct style and look for my cards. I think that it’s very important to have your work distinguishable from others, and if someone can pick one of my cards out of the crowd, I know that I did my job right. Apart from that, and just trying to have creative and original ideas, I think a lot of what has helped me stand out is the help of the community I’m involved in. Being a blogger has introduced me to so many people that I have the pleasure of now calling my friends. They have my back and help to support me, as I help to support them. If I didn’t have them, I really believe I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What is your best-selling card? Why do you think it’s so popular? It’s hard to say because it varies by season, depending on which holiday is coming up. I have a “naughty” card for Valentine’s day or anniversaries (Snap, Crackle, Pop says: Ahem, see above) and I’d have to guess that it is probably my most popular card of all time. Why is it popular? It’s definitely original, creative, and something you’d never find at Hallmark.
What is your favorite card in your shop? Why? I don’t really have a favorite! Is that weird? To me, they are all little pieces of my self expression. I have enjoyed making all of them and even more so recently, as I’ve really started to understand who I am as an artist. I continue to try to improve, and also challenge myself, and not take the “easy” route and make something just because I know it’s trendy and will definitely sell. More heart goes into my card designs than ever before because I am so passionate about being original and true to myself.
What is one movie you can watch over and over and over (and over) again? I am a huge Harry Potter nerd so I will watch those movies (and read the books) for the rest of my life. Other than that, if “A League Of Their Own,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” or “Vanilla Sky” are on TV, I’m sure to put them on, even though I’ve seen them all about 100 times over.
What is one song that you immediately turn off when it comes on the radio? Man, this is tough because I feel like every song becomes this song at some point because everything gets so over-played! I tend to stick to my iPod or Pandora so I can pick whatever I want to listen to and skip commercials. ;]
If you got to have lunch with a literary character, who would you like to dine with? Ron Weasley. I love him. (Snap, Crackle, Pop says: Swoon. Me too. My favorite Potter character, hands down. Though Neville Longbottom is up there, too.)