1069
7 min 18 sec

Graphic Designer Finds Success in the Cards

Wanting to keep her skills up-to-date, a designer creates and sells a line of handmade watercolor cards.
Arts & Crafts Cards Etsy

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What It's About

Hand-painted cards to brighten anyone's day.

Business Model
Arts & Crafts
Skills Required
Design & Marketing
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Thanks to online marketplaces like Etsy, personalized physical arts and crafts are a HUGE market, even in the digital age.

Fun Fact

Elizabeth’s first card design was two dinosaurs and said, "I'm so glad we don't have to hide our weirdness from each other."

Notes from Chris

Episode 1069
When Elizabeth Kraft started Bright Light Paper, she had two goals. First, to keep her graphic design skills sharp. Second, she wanted to add a personal touch to the way people communicate.

A self-taught graphic designer, Elizabeth originally went to school to study marketing. Her first job out of college was in a sales and marketing support role. While there, she was asked to create flyers for the sales team and instantly got hooked on design work. From there, she improved her skills and eventually moved into design as a full-time job.

A few years later, Elizabeth was coming home to Orlando, Florida after a trip to the west coast. She had found some cute things she wanted to send to her cousin, and thought it would be fun to make a card to send with the package. She enjoyed the process so much she decided to start designing cards as a hobby.

What is that card-designing process, exactly? Well, it starts when she comes up with a phrase—and her inspiration comes from all sorts of different places. From there she works out illustrations that go with the words. She sketches the illustration, then moves to the computer to put the design into a program. Once she’s happy with the design, she prints the card and then hand paints them with watercolor.

Her first few sales were from friends and family, and came right after she officially started the business. Even now, Elizabeth does no paid advertising. She says that Orlando is a tight-knit community and loves to support local businesses, so she’s found the support of local bloggers invaluable.

Her first sale to someone she didn’t know came through her Etsy shop, which she set up as soon as her personal sales confirmed this would be something people might be interested in.

The Etsy shop is one of her main sources of business, but she’s also found opportunities to get her cards in brick-and-mortar stores. Some store owners approached her after seeing her work on Instagram or featured in local blogs—and Elizabeth reached out to other stores because she liked them and thought it might be a good partnership.

Her biggest challenge has been figuring out how to scale her business. Because every card is hand-painted, it’s a time-intensive process, and she hasn’t been able to find a good way to scale.

Nonetheless, she’s excited for the future of Bright Light Paper. It’s all about bringing joy to the people who buy her cards, to the people that receive them, and to her own life.

 
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Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"We are so desensitized these days, so I always feel like getting a personal note in the mail is special."
—Elizabeth Kraft #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau