Ohhhhh my goodness. I am just so darn excited today!
Last month we had the ultimate pleasure in chatting with the knit queen herself, Krysten Ritter. We chatted about everything from her roles as a Marvel superhero, to her creating knitted gifts for them, to even her sweet little pal, Mikey, and the important role HE plays for Krysten! (Missed that chat? Check it out here!)
We are thrilled to be able to chat with some amazing creatives in our community, and others. Today we are connecting with a girl crush of mine, Sarah from Chalkfulloflove. This woman.. let me tell you.. I remember seeing her on Instagram years ago and have always been just so in love with everything she does! I am just so happy to be able to chat with her for a few and share a bit more of this wonderful woman.
You are seriously INCREDIBLE at what you do. How did you get started? Have you always loved lettering? Tell me your story!
Thank you!! I try, I try. I moved here with my now hubs after he got a new job with Apple. I was kind of in and out of what exactly I wanted to be doing. I left a not so cool graphic design job in Greenville, SC and decided being unemployed in Austin, TX was a better idea. I have always loved design and drawing. I got really into chalkboard lettering late 2013 and would post them on my personal Instagram. One of my friends commented “You should sell these!” So I decided I should! I took my $200 and bought supplies at Michaels, set up an Etsy shop and impatiently waited for my first sale. It took 3 months for my first cha-ching noise. Meanwhile, I got another graphic design job here in Austin, Texas. I nurtured my growing Etsy shop with a full time job. Those were some very difficult years, but don’t think I could have survived without my 9-5 salary.
You have freaking books out and available. Whaaaaat?! I may or may not have ordered myself a copy.. Tell me, how amazing was this process? Orrrr, how *not* amazing was it? Do you plan to write more books?
Girl, I still can’t believe it. Writing the first book was the hardest thing I have ever done. I did not have much direction. It was definitely the first of it’s kind. I was basing everything off of how and what I taught in my workshops. I used to sell something very bare bones in my Etsy shop and always got such good feedback on them. They also cost a fortune because it took me so long to kit them up and cost me so much to print them on quality paper. So when I received the first of a few negative reactions to the book, I was devastated. I put a lot of my heart into that book, but unfortunately it did not meet everyone’s needs. I used to read those reviews and just sit at my computer crying. It was so hard hearing what people said. Amazon can be a very brutal place. These aren’t the sweet customers I was used to on Etsy who understood that I was just one person trying to share what I have learned.Over the past couple of years since the release of the book, I have worked on having thicker skin and try not to let these things bother me. I also have the ability to take these kind of reactions and create better books because of them. Hand Lettering 101 is actually being updated after I have taken all the feedback into consideration and had the time to rework it a bit. I am so excited about it! All that to say, I love my books. They are one of my greatest accomplishments and I would love to continue writing more! Who knows what is next!
From books to kits to surprise boxes to apparel to door mats.. You have such an amazing selection of goodies for your customers to purchase! Do you have a favorite product that you love seeing being ordered?
I love selling anything I have created, obviously. But sooooo much time and effort and love goes into our curated surprise boxes. They are definitely my favorite thing to sell. I absolutely love getting surprises in the mail, so when I decided to create these boxes, I was so excited so many others shared that love!
Whaaaaat about your all time favorite moment in your career? What moment has made you most PROUD of yourself?
Even though it was the hardest, I think releasing two books is my favorite moment or accomplishment in my career. I am very proud of both of them and how well they have been received!
From entrepreneur to author to just plain awesome human, let's take a moment to learn about Sarah as that awesome human. Tell me about you behind the scenes and the things that make you just so happy.
Oh man. Tough question to answer. I hate talking about myself. I actually trip over all my words when someone asks me what I do. I am still trying to work on my elevator pitch so I am not just like “I make mugs. Yes, drinking mugs. Yes, it does make money. I wrote a book too. yeah, it is kind of like Etsy.” I love laughing. I was voted class clown in High School. Too bad I wanted best dressed. (maybe next year.) I settled for it though. I am incredibly shy and have dealt with depression and anxiety my whole life. But once I get to know you I get very comfortable and you might hear some of my many accents pop out of my mouth. I am a major homebody. I would much rather open a bottle of wine at home and sit on the patio then go to a crowded restaurant.
...wine. I love it. You love it. Tell me.. are you a red or white fan? I see a lot of Rosé in your feed and stories and, OH MAN. I've been a firm red fan for a few years now but this start to summer has made me open up to the joys that is pink wine. I guess I don't know what I'm trying to ask here, just tell me all the things about your favorite wines - ha!
WINE. I love it. I am def a red lady. I did not get into wine until I was probably mid twenties. Remember when Apothic Red got really popular? That was basically all I drank. I then started branching out. I usually talk to the sommelier at our grocery to get recommendations. He is pretty fabulous. Rosé is a newer love of mine. Mainly because it is like living on the surface of the sun in ATX and it is easier to drink in the summer! If you haven’t tried Whispering Angel do yourself a favor and treat yourself! As far as my favorite Reds - I love Phantom by Bogle Vineyards (who also have cheaper $9 bottles that are great!)
It's always so easy to see the exciting things and accomplishments of those with successful careers, but it's always important to remember that the humans behind the screen still have difficult and stressful times on the journey to those big moments. If you feel comfortable, when is a time that really tried you? Have you always felt confident in your business?
Like I said before, I do struggle with anxiety and depression. So, I have trying times quite often. If anything triggers it outside of work, I find it incredibly difficult to keep up my happy upbeat Instagram persona. And in those cases I usually will take time away from IG and work on myself. As far as business goes, I think I have made every mistake in the book. I have had multiple failed products that I have dumped money into. I paid a PR person a lot of money and she did absolutely nothing. I go through a lot of in and outs with Instagram. The app has changed so much since I first started and it was something I used to love and now it is something that really annoys me, haha.
Had you not gone the route of this creative endeavor, what other things might you be doing? Would you still be self employed? A completely different career path?
I would probably still be a graphic designer.
Other than hand lettering, do you enjoy other creative outlets? Do you paint? Make jewelry? ...CROCHET?!
I think I have dabbled in every thing you mentioned above. Except, I usually give it like a 30% effort and quit them all when I realized they were hard. Does wine count as a creative outlet?
Where is your ultimate favorite place to get work done? Do you love your cozy home office? Or do you prefer a coffeehouse setting? I wanna know what makes you feel productive and motivated - even down to what you're sipping on. ;)
It depends on what I am doing. If I am lettering, I do better at home with no distractions and sitting on the couch. If it is emails, or interview questions ;), or editing photos, I like to be on my big computer at the office with some 70’s jams playing in the background.
I see lots of green babies in your photos. Do you love having plants in your home? What ones do you love the most? I'm a closet house plant crazy lady so, selfishly, I really wanna know what new babies to add to my collection. But seriously.
I may or may not have gone a little plant crazy a few years ago when we moved into our other home. I went to Home Depot and just loaded up a cart. I had no idea what I was doing. My biggest pride and joy is a $5 dying split leaf philodendron who is now my largest and most thriving plant! I also love my fiddle fig because he is so precarious. When he grows a new leaf it is like the best day of my life. I have decided the secret to him is not too much water probably once a week and he loves the afternoon sunny spot by the window.
Let's play the grateful game. I want to know FIVE things that you are grateful for right now in your life.
1. My hubs
2. The ability to do what I love as my career
3. My beautiful home
4. My family
5. Can I say wine?
A lot of us here are in different stages of really wanting to pursue building our businesses to the next level, and possibly even making it a full time dream come true. If you can, could you share a couple of important lessons you've learned over the last several years to becoming a successful business owner?
Just because someone else is doing something and they seem successful at it - don’t try and do the EXACT same thing. That might bring you a little success upfront but that won’t last. Try to build something that will make you proud and be your legacy. It’s okay to fail, it is what you do with that failure that determines if it will continue to happen. Take everything as an opportunity to learn. If something flopped, try and figure out why and don’t repeat that mistake. Know your customer. Most likely, they are not exactly like you. Surprisingly enough, I am not really my ideal customer, so I have to ask all my biz questions through the eyes of my target customer. Will she like this? Will she respond? Don’t wait around to start. Just do it. Start learning.
Who are your favorite people to follow right now? Whether it's fellow creatives, girl bosses, brands, celebrities, whatever - tell me who I need to obsess over!
Well I like you. Because you are different and you make me laugh. T of Debrosse is one of my best friends and I usually don’t go a work week without chatting biz.
I love following:
Most of us have really benefited from the community on Instagram. I remember following you years ago when a friend of mine collaborated with you! Who has become your IG BFF? Who have you connected with so much that they've now become like family?
Oh I just mentioned her above! @debrosse_nyc T and I connected over IG the first year of both of our businesses. She actually came to my wedding and it was the first time I ever met her in person. We continue to talk almost every day!
Ok, this is has been SO much fun chatting with you!! You are such a gem and light. Thank you SO SO much for taking the time to sped some time with me! Can you let us know any exciting upcoming projects to keep an eye out for? Also, where can we go to see more of what you do and maybe even snag a few of your drool-worthy goodies? Let us stalk you! (I mean that in the most non-creepy way, I promise)
Ok, so it’s the beginning of July but in retail things are a little different. and I am SO EXCITED about our Fall and Winter collections. They are going to be the best ever!! You can always follow me over @chalkfulloflove or shop www.chalkfulloflove.com (Sarahsarah@chalkfulloflove.com / chalkfulloflove.com)
As if we didn't love Sarah enough, we DEFINITELY do now. I am coming away from this little chat wanting her to be my new BFF! Ha! It is just so amazing to connect with fellow Makers and Creatives. To hear their stories, see their journeys in new ways and just simply humanizing these greats.
Who do YOU want to see next on the Creative Interview Series?! Tell us below and we will do what we can to make it happen!
Thank you to Sarah for taking the time out of her busy schedule to spend some time with us. I personally am a HUGE fan of hers and hope that you all have become one now as well! Have you already ordered something from her?? TELL ME!!