How I Started My Art Career Part 1

How I Started My Art Career Part 1

I get a lot of questions about how I got my start in the art world since I kinda started my art career randomly at 29. I didn't have a degree or formal training in art or illustration, and I definitely didn't have a portfolio. All I had was an overwhelming sense of dread about my at-the-time desk job, and the vague feeling that life might not be worth living if I couldn't wake up every day and do something I love.

I'll now tell the abridged story of how I started my greeting card company and eventually got my line into places like Urban Outfitters, Paper Source, Nordstorm, and Target. I know the greeting card biz landscape has changed a lot, so if you have any questions about anything specific, I will do my best to answer as honestly as I can in the comments. No gatekeeping information around here! :)



 I made a set of 3 Valentine's Day cards that were food and wine themed. I called it my 'perfect pairing' line and my plan was to use it as a test to see if I wanted to keep doing greeting cards. I also thought it'd be clever to break into what I percieved was an untapped segment of the greeting card market: bougie grocery stores. I printed a out a few dozen sell sheets + purchase order forms and walked into every single bougie grocery shop or wine store in the greater Brooklyn/Manhattan area (and if you're familiar with the NYC bougie food scene, that's A LOT of places.)

The first shop ever shop to place a PO with me was Greenpoint Fish + Lobster (shout out! those guys are the coolest.) It truly felt like such a thrill to walk into an IRL store and see my art on the shelves. I was addicted! Here's an ig post from those days:

The other project I had going was that I was planning an spirits-themed Valentine's Day art fair with my friend Bianca who at the time had a tasting room for her vermouth company in Red Hook, Brooklyn. 

Here's a pic of me set up with my art at the fair we planned in her space, "Bazaar Love":

Okay wow, this is getting rather long so I will continue my art career/greeting card start story in tomorrow's email where I will go over:

  • How I even knew how to launch a greeting card business and what to do.

  • How my pivoted the failure of my first line and turned it into a book deal with a legit publisher.

  • How I eventually got my line into stores like Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom + Paper Source.

  • Anything else you want to request in the comments.

Hope you're enjoying this 'How I Started My Career' series! While I know my privilege is the ultimate reason I get to do what I love full time, my goal with writing these is to be as candid and honest as possible about what things looked like for me on my way here. While I cannot remove the gatekeepers, I can tell you everything I know in the hopes that, even if you can't perfectly enimate my story, you'll at least find some pieces useful!

Okay I love you guys. Part two is coming tomorrow. Part three may be coming on Monday depending on how big of a whopper writing it out ends up being.

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