9 min 44 sec

South Carolina Transplant Creates Watercolor Stationery Brand

A new resident of Charleston, South Carolina pursues a passion for watercolor print design. She ends up creating a stationery brand of prints, cards, mugs, and notebooks inspired by the coastal lifestyle.
Arts & Crafts Creative Manufacturing Product Social Media

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What It's About

When she leaves her old life behind, this designer turns to watercolors to fill her time...and her wallet.

Business Model
Arts & Crafts
Skills Required
Painting & Marketing
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Renee is an avid believer that if you write out your goals, you’re more likely to make those goals happen. She sets daily goals for herself because she firmly believes that it’s good to look at tasks from a day to day perspective and it’s satisfying to check things off as she goes. It’s an added boost of accomplishment!

Fortunately, she has plenty of paper to write down her goals.

Fun Fact

Renee's first sale was actually from a neighbor. She had no idea he knew about her, and he had no idea he was buying from her! She refunded the shipping and personally delivered his order to him.

He was a little confused at first, but they had a good laugh about it and he and his wife are still customers of hers today.

Notes from Chris

Episode 473

Renee Gutzwiller has always had a bit of a creative streak, and these urges were heartily encouraged by the creative role models she had growing up. Her mother was a full-time photographer, and her grandmother had been a seamstress. Paired with the business acumen of her entrepreneurially inclined father, Renee was on the fast track to learning how to pursue a creative career.

Renee went on to get a Master’s degree in Design Management and landed a role as a User Experience Designer for a tech company in Charleston, South Carolina. But despite the creative elements of her day job, Renee realized that she still wanted more. She fell in love with watercolors, and she started filling her home with her works of art.

The move to Charleston brought many changes. Far away from her friends and daily routine, she found that she needed something a little more substantial to fill her free time. What she needed was a side hustle.

Inspired by the beauty of this old coastal city and its influx of tourists, Renee decided to start painting watercolors of the area and selling them to visitors eager for a keepsake to take home with them. She called her company Island Haus Paperie, and decided to start selling her watercolors in the form of prints, cards, notepads, and of course, stationery.

When she first got started, she sold her products in person at market events and on her website, but these days you can find her products in 10 different stores, 8 of which are located in Charleston.

So far she’s selling around $1,000 each month in product, and after her printing expenses, Renee clears approximately $700 each month. Her profit increases each month because she’s starting to print larger quantities, which makes her printing cost go down tremendously. She has a lot of plans up her sleeve, and this is one side hustle that she won't be watering down.



Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"Let go of things that you don't excel in. You don't need to be everywhere, and you don't need to make your product bend to every style. Do what you do best!"
—Renee Gutzwiller #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau