Melissa, who has six Zazzle stores, was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions about her inspirations, and her experience as a Zazzler. Check out the interview below and don’t forget to check out her stores Whupsadaisy, Noteworthy, LifeThroughALens, ArtForTheSole, TVaddict, and MHamiltonDesigns!
Zazzle: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Melissa: Maryland based Graphic Designer, Photographer, Aspiring Writer, Fantabulous Cook, Insomniac, Cat Lover, Internet Junkie and Work-at-Home Mom–that’s Melissa Hamilton, in a nutshell.
Born and raised in Central Michigan, Melissa left the Midwest at age 19 and moved to Washington DC. There she studied fine art at a community college and worked in retail management. Ten years later, she moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland where she went back to school full-time and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Marketing at Salisbury University.
In 2006, Melissa discovered Zazzle while on maternity leave and her company, M. Hamilton Designs was also born! Starting with one store and a zazillion ideas, her company soon grew to six stores on the Zazzle website.
Zazzle: What’s your inspiration for your designs?
Melissa: My inspiration often comes from the contrasts in my life. I love nature, but I also enjoy the bustle of big city life. I like fast and furious, as well as slow and reflective. People-watching is a great inspiration; our fellow humans are so honest when they don’t know anyone is paying attention. Having a sense of humor is also very important to a person’s creativity. My three-year old daughter, Shelby, is funny, honest, and beautiful – being her Mom inspires me on a daily basis!
Zazzle: What has been your favorite design you’ve created, and why?
Melissa: I have six stores on Zazzle, and many favorites among my eclectic variety of designs. One of my favorites is from my store Whupsadaisy Creations; it’s a mixed media print of my daughter Shelby, called Innocence and Possibilities.
Out of all of my Zazzle stores, my favorite is my Noteworthy shop. Some of my favorite designs from that gallery include my Baby Girl Birth Announcement, Modern Baby Birth Announcement, Makeup Artist Business Card, and my Salon & Spa Business Card.
Photography has been one of my passions since I was a little girl. A few of my favorites from my Life Through a Lens store are my Flamingos Poster, Frangipanis Poster, Sailing on Assateague Island National Seashore Print, and my Union Station Arches Poster.
I absolutely love creating shoes… so much so, I devoted an entire store solely to that purpose. Some of my favorites from my Art for the Sole store are my School Girl Pink Plaid Shoes, Patio Terrace Custom Shoe, and my Modern Bubbles Custom Shoe.
From my newest store, M. Hamilton Designs, opened in January 2010 – it’s all about bright colors and a variety of textures for these whimsical creations! A few of my favorites are my Pink Giraffe Mousepad, Power Politics: Cats vs. Mice Mousepad, Tabitha the Tabby Cat Mousepad, and my Think Green Mousepad.
Zazzle: Do you have any fun stories about being a seller on Zazzle?
Melissa: I feel extremely lucky to have become acquainted with a great group of sellers on Zazzle. We’re very supportive of one another, considering we are also competitors. On Facebook and Twitter, we have a group of Zazzlers who have bonded and become truly good friends. I am inspired by all of them, and appreciate their daily support and friendship. I think it’s completely awesome that cyberspace has opened an amazing opportunity for us to “meet” people we would have never known otherwise. Once of my best friends, Jamie Wogan Edwards (aka jamiecreates1), is someone I met through Zazzle . I’ve never met Jamie in person, but we often joke about being sisters separated at birth because we are so alike.
Zazzle: What is your favorite Zazzle feature? How do you use it?
Melissa: One of my favorite Zazzle tools is the SHARE link, which enables you to share any creation with a variety of venues. I promote other artists work, as well as my own, on my Facebook group page, so this tool makes it easy to market my own designs and share fellow artists’ work as well.
There is so much you can do on Zazzle. Over the past three years, I have seen the website grow extensively and the seller community has been provided with the tools for complete product customization and therefore endless creative opportunities.
Zazzle: What got you interested in selling your art on Zazzle?
Melissa: In December 2006, I was on maternity leave after my daughter was born and dreading going back to work. I had purchased some items from Zazzle for Christmas presents that year, but was unaware what Zazzle was all about at the time. My husband was the one who began poking around on the site and said to me, “This is your calling, you have to do this!” I started out with one store back in 2006, and now I have six stores. I love what I do and I think that’s rare in this world – being able to design this way is an amazing opportunity!
Zazzle: Whattips can you give someone who is just starting out on Zazzle?
Melissa: 1. Try new things, there’s always the delete button if it doesn’t work out!
2. Explore and enjoy the Zazzle community! Got a question? Ask! My door is always open, I have helped many Zazzle beginners and it makes me feel good to lend a helping hand.
3. You should be your own biggest fan, be proud of your work and tell the world about it!