Featured Artist Friday: Meet Julie

Posted on November 17 2017

Julie started Julie Ann Art for the hell of it when she was a 24-year-old college graduate, living with her mom. After years of balancing this new venture with a full-time job, Julie realized that what started as a fun hobby had organically grown into a feasible  stationery business. In 2012, Julie made the exciting (terrifying?) decisions to quit her job and pursue Julie Ann Art full-time. Four years later, she continues to take the stationery industry by storm, online and in retail stores across the world.

We asked Julie a few questions to help us get to know her more + here's what she said:

How does a typical day progress for you? / Do you have any morning rituals?
Monday thru Friday I roll out of bed and do a zombie walk to my french press. Once the coffee has been brewed (black with cinnamon) I start to come alive, put on Pandora, light a candle or two (I'm obsessed) and buckle down on work. I tend to process orders from our Etsy shop and website in the morning, and my assistant will come over in the afternoon to help with wholesale orders. I squeeze in design time and social media content creation whenever I can. 
How do you kick off a new week with a fresh start?
I actually kind of love Mondays. They get a lot of flack because they aren't always easy, but after a weekend off I enjoy getting back into my work routine. On Sunday night I will make a detailed to-do list of the coming week's tasks so that I'm ready to go when I wake up on Monday. It helps to spark the motivation when I can see all the tasks in front of me.  
Do you do any research or look for inspiration when starting new work?
If I am struggling to come up with ideas I will definitely do research or seek inspiration outside of myself. For example, one year I was struggling to create holiday designs. This could have been partially due to the fact that I lived in California and it was 90 degrees out. We didn't have air conditioning so I went to a local Starbucks. Their air was blasting and I was immediately cold. Then I looked up Christmas music lyrics and the ideas starting flowing!

Anything you wish people understood more about your work and process?
As far as my work goes, I hope that people enjoy its imperfect simplicity. The paper industry has so many extremely talented designers that offer more complexly beautiful work. Sometimes I wonder where I fit in. While quality is important to me, I never strive to be too perfect in my designs or lettering. My brand is based on honesty, realism and human emotions. It doesn't feel right to make sure every line is perfectly straight or all kerning is exact. That's not how humans are, and that's not how I want to represent them in my work.

What do you love to paint/draw/design most?
Valentine's Day cards, for sure. When I first started designing cards (and was clueless to business and had no vision for what I was doing) all the first cards I made were love cards. I probably would've happily continued creating love cards forever and ever but of course learned that variety is important to a product line! I still find them the most enjoyable to design though.

What are your biggest struggles with being an artist?
Being an artist in the paper industry can be a struggle when living in a digital world. For example, rather than sending a card, people can now post an "e-card" on a Facebook wall, or tag a friend in a photo of a card on Instagram. At craft shows I have seen potential buyers take a pic of a card to text it to a friend and then walk away. It's a tug at the heart strings. It's hard when your product can essentially be"used" without purchasing it. Everything is so digital now that I don't think these people give this a second thought.

Do you have a favorite type of music or artist you listen to while creating?
It depends on the time of year! For example, I listened to Christmas music from November-January (and drove my husband crazy with it). That, plus a couple pine candles from Candelles and I was feeling like I was in Santa's workshop! When I'm really stressed, usually in January-February leading up to Valentine's Day, I'll pick a "relaxation" playlist on Pandora so I can imagine I'm in a schmancy spa getting a back massage. I also really enjoy Sia, all the time no matter how I'm feeling. I think she's incredible.

What are your biggest goals for this year?
I'm returning to the National Stationery Show in May for my 2nd year so I'm hoping to tackle it the best I can to have an even better show. I also just recently brainstormed up an idea for next holiday but honestly the concept is so new I don't think I should say it yet! That is a challenge when it comes to creating new things. They are usually done way in advance but must be kept under wraps until they are ready to go live!
view julie's collection
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