Continuing with the 3rd installment this year of our Customer Q&A series, we recently spoke with Beverly Jones, owner of Paper Traveler (www.beverlyjones.co) to discuss her greeting card business, design style, and inspiration. Check out the interview below:
What does your business offer?
I design greeting cards which fall into three collections, a collage collection, a vintage envelope collection, and a photograph collection.
I love arranging handmade papers and vintage envelopes, and have fun snapping photos, whether I’m out for a neighborhood morning walk, or a trip around the world.
Could you describe your background and how you got into design?
I’m self taught. I’ve collaged since kindergarten, and I’ve had loads of fun wandering around with my camera, a gift from my boyfriend. Over time, playing with design has become more formal and focused. I also used to be a buyer for a card and gift store; the designers I ordered from were my inspiration for becoming a creative artist on a professional level.
When did you create your first Paper Traveler design?
I created the first cards I felt comfortable about showing to strangers in 2003, and took them to Eastern Market in Washington, D.C. where I sold a few. It took several years for me to get to the next level, though. I started testing new designs in 2012, in the store I managed, and finally released them out into the wide world in 2013.
How would you describe your design style?
Many of my designs are nature inspired, whether I’m collaging with floral prints and subtle Japanese papers, or photographing pretty flowers or plants. My vintage notecards evoke nostalgia. Each time I pick up an old envelope I think of the connection between the sender and the receiver of the letter, and try to evoke an equally strong feeling for today’s shopper as I work with the design on my computer.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Almost every day I go for a morning walk, and when I do, nature, words scrawled in chalk on the sidewalk, and the street art I see all speak to me. I also love going to vintage malls and flea markets to find old, interesting envelopes. Other designers and small business owners are all around to encourage me, and help me to believe in my art and myself.
Where are you located?
I’m located in Reston, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.
What outlets do you use to sell your work?
So far, my cards are sold online, in bookstores, hardware stores, tabletop stores, card shops and boutiques, museum shops, and party supply stores. I’m excited to see what other venues are available, too, and I enjoy connecting with other small business owners to see if I can provide new products for their stores and companies.
How long have you been printing with CatPrint?
CatPrint has been my printer since late 2013. I love the flexibility that I have with CatPrint to do small print runs, especially as a micro business owner. CatPrint’s quality is consistently excellent, and I love the working relationship that we have.
What is the biggest difficulty you’ve encountered in starting your own business?
I didn’t realize how big this issue was for me, but actually believing in myself was extremely difficult for a long time. There were days — and sometimes weeks — when my attitude really crippled me, and I was unable to move forward to build my business. I finally realized that I had to give myself permission to grow my company, rather than make excuses and wither and die. I’m sure I’ll still have times like that, but I think I’m over the biggest self-confidence hurdle, and can now focus on other challenges, like cash flow!
Do you have any advice for artists looking to start their own business?
- Believe in yourself. 🙂
- Hire a coach, if you can, to help you focus on your next steps.
- Join an artist group/community on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media, for encouragement and support.
- Find multiple ways to sell your art.
- Continue to look for joy and inspiration in everything you do – it will carry over into your work, and it’ll help you to feel great!
Check out Beverly’s work online at:
Facebook: Beverly Jones, Paper Traveler