What It's About
Hand-painted cards to brighten anyone's day.
Words of Wisdom
Thanks to online marketplaces like Etsy, personalized physical arts and crafts are a HUGE market, even in the digital age.
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 1069When 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.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Check out Elizabeth's bright and colorful cards at the Bright Light Paper website, and her Etsy store.
- Elizabeth first started selling her cards on Etsy.
- Boyfriend’s Sloppy Penmanship Turns Into Outsourced Writing Business: He wanted to impress his new girlfriend’s family, but he couldn’t write a letter to save his life—so he started a handwriting side hustle instead.
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- It’s No Joke: Prank Musical Greeting Card Earns $36,000/Month: What starts as a silly idea to make a musical greeting card with no off-switch turns into a multiple six-figure, nonstop success for two brothers.
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