Thank you, ladies, for your questions for m… Below are my answers, which will hopefully shed a little light on the things you asked!
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Em asked :: Do you have any suggestions for starting out [in graphic design/designing stationery]? Where do I begin? Is there anything I can do before I start taking classes?
I would say that from the start, you need to work to develop a unique and distinct personal style. Start reading design books and magazines, and soak up as much as you can. Keep a folder of inspiration and things you gravitate towards. I would also recommend starting an informal style blog, even if it’s just for yourself. Blogging is a good way to accumulate inspiration, and begin to meet others who are like minded. Starting out in this business can be terrifying, especially in today’s world. There are so many, many talented people out there! It’s hard to find your place among them. You, as a designer, should have a “personal brand” that is evident in your work, so that you stand out from the masses. I could write pages and pages about this topic, but I would say, in a nutshell, that as long as you are passionate about this career path, you should continue on with your education and saturate yourself in the design community!
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Danielle asked :: What devotional are you reading?
I am currently reading Pursuing the Christ by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. I can’t recommend it enough. I would honestly read it over and over again, during any time of the year. The devotions are short, but packed with many powerful things to think about and ponder. You can purchase it on Amazon for under $10!
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Jamie asked :: How do you keep everything organized? Do you keep an online calendar? A “Daytimer” book or an app on your phone? Also, with being a full time wife, homemaker, employee and business owner what are your ‘can’t live withouts’ to keep you functioning? What is the snack/sweet you go to when your stressed?
Believe it or not, I really am not extremely organized! I am very much a big picture person, and often, the details overwhelm me. So, keeping everything organized can tend to be a challenge for me. I usually have no less than 6 post-it notes stuck to my computer, as well as a couple lists jotted down on a notepad. I keep reporter-style journals in my purse at all time for keeping track of ideas. My calendar is from Target (Real Simple brand) and it’s nothing too fancy. More often than not, I forget to write important things down, and somehow just miraculously remember them!
My “can’t live withouts” include, but are not limited to :: getting plenty of sleep; hot baths several times a week; good music to listen to while I’m working (Mat Kearney is a favorite of mine); time OFF to spend thinking about things besides work, the business, the blog, etc (usually happens on Sundays); weekly bible study and church to keep my mind and heart centered on the One who gives me hope and peace.
When I’m stressed, I tend to eat for convenience, and so I head for the cupboard that contains cereal (my favorite is honey nut cheerios), granola bars and oatmeal. I also really, really love Red Vine licorice!
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Ashley Maureen asked :: How did you came to be where you are today? What advice do you have on being able to follow your dreams and still make ends meet?
I started out by going to a small design school. What was lacking in “educational clout”, was more than offset by the connections that I gained here. To this day, many of my design collegues and friends are those I made through school. The teachers I had then continue to mentor me now. Starting off at this school really made a difference in the path that I chose later down the road. The rest of the story has more to do with being raised by parents who are very entrepenurial and showed me through their actions that setting a goal and acheiving it is entirely possibly as long as you are willing to work hard. I spend a good portion of my time defining what my goals are, and charting ways to achieve the,. Emmy Lu and this blog grew out of a passion for design, business, and writing. All of those three are areas of interest for me, and so this was a natural path for me to follow.
I must point out, that probably one of the greatest misconceptions that some of you may have is that I stay at home, and live a fairy tale life in the cottage, designing cute stationery and playing with Emmy the rest of the time. While I’d love to say that this is the case, reality is a bit different. I actually work a full time graphic design job in addition to running Emmy Lu Design Studio and this blog. So my piece of advice to you is pretty much that you need to be willing to work extremely hard/long hours until you get to where you really want to be. Working hard, putting in tons of hours, and ultimately, loving what you do and having a goal in sight can go a long ways. Also making measurable goals for yourself is very helpful when it comes to continuing in the day in and day of what can sometimes be a very hectic routine. While I haven’t yet “arrived” at where I want to be… I am on the path, and really loving every minute of the journey!