Where It All Began

In 2015, I started following some of my favorite Etsy sellers on Instagram. It didn’t take long for my “explore” feed to be filled with art of all kinds. I started noticing what people were calling “hand lettering” and I began following people like crazy. One day, St. Patrick’s day to be exact, I decided to open an Etsy shop. On a whim. I made a logo that night and opened my shop. I created a separate Instagram account for my art and started following all the artists on that page.

At first this was just a way to get inspired constantly. I started off my Etsy shop by selling bookmarks and painted wood letters. A few months later I started diving into “hand lettering” and I haven’t looked back since. I started making cards for my boyfriend and then posting them to Etsy. At this time I was posting to on Instagram like 1 or 2 times a week. I didn’t make many sales in my first year on Etsy. 

In 2016, I decided that with the new year I was going to change my name from Designs by Jordyn to Jordyn Alison Designs. I thought this sounded better and was more individualized. It was still broad enough to allow for changing my services years down the road, but also had character. I love how both my first and middle names are spelled unique and I think they sound good together. Plus, what’s the chances that someone else has the same exact name as me? 

In 2016, I made an effort to do a 365 day lettering challenge. I think I made it all the way to September or October before stopping. I wanted to give myself something to focus on while my boyfriend went off to boot camp. During 2016, my boyfriend left for boot camp in February, graduated in Texas in April, and then moved out to California which I then visited in July. My year quickly got busy and it was in these travel times that I felt like lettering and posting was such a pain. I learned to let go of the idea of posting constantly and enjoying the moments with my boyfriend since a majority of the year I didn’t get to see him. 

I made a tremendous amount of progress in this year because I practiced daily. I promise if you devote 10 minutes a day to hand lettering, or whatever you can, you will get better.

What I learned: 

  • Don't open a shop on a whim. 
    • Make an effort to do some market research.
    • Come up with a good logo before opening. 
    • Market yourself BEFORE you open to get a feel for people's interests. If you have somewhat of a following before you open you will have more success when you launch (this isn't to say you should have thousands of followers but even if you have 1 you're doing better than I was!).
  • Figure out what you really want to sell.
    • When I opened my shop I had no idea what to make. I remember cutting out bookmarks and painting them one day and thinking this was a good idea. Somehow, they got 1,000 views in one day and sold out (about 30). For a brand new shop that is really good, but just because I had "success" didn't mean it was something I should continue making. 
    • I wish when I started I would have practiced my lettering more so that my early designs would have been better. I think that would have helped me grow trust from the beginning. 

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