Heather Kerr, of Zazzle store dreamingmindcards, talks with us about her color inspirations, and how Zazzle helped her become self-employed while learning more design skills on the way.
Zazzle: Tell us about yourself! Where are you from, where do you live?
Heather: I’m from Ontario, Canada, where I’ve lived my whole life. I live with my wonderful husband who works together with me on our Zazzle store, which has been great for both of us.
Zazzle: What is your background in art and design?
Heather: I’m a self-taught artist. I haven’t had formal training but I’ve always loved all kinds of art. It’s been a passion of mine from the time I could hold a pencil!
We started our store with paintings in 2007, and that’s actually how I learned to use Photoshop and similar tools. I had to learn how to take photos of my paintings and make them presentable to post online on Zazzle products. I stumbled into the graphic design side of things by learning how to edit my paintings, add text or other graphic elements, and I really fell in love with it.
Zazzle: How did you get started with Zazzle?
Heather: My husband and I were both working jobs that paid the bills but weren’t what we wanted to be doing. We were looking for a line of work that would be more flexible for the both of us. So, we looked online for something that we could do from home and something that would work with what I always wanted to do anyway: art. That’s how we came across Zazzle.
We opened our main store in 2010 that started with a few simple greeting cards, and expanded into weddings. It all grew from there with all of the different categories available on Zazzle. There’s been a lot of trial and error but we’ve had a lot of fun with it. It’s been successful, and we’re really pleased with it.
Zazzle: Where do you find your inspiration?
Heather: Inspiration can come from almost anywhere. We joke now that both my husband and I can recognize patterns from all over: on television, in commercials or magazines – anywhere.
For me I usually begin with a really inspiring color combination, that’s what will start a design. I especially love bright colors, but even if they’re not bright the colors can say something strongly about what the product is. I like interesting colors, something unexpected. Most of my products start with a color I love so much that I just have to make a product with it.
Also, there’s so much talent on Zazzle that it really inspires you to become better as a designer. You’re surrounded by such talented people that you want to bring your best.
Zazzle: What are your favorite Zazzle products to design?
Heather: There’s so much you can do with card and invitation products. There are so many different types of events you might need an invitation for. From there, you can create so many other different types of products, to make nearly everything matching for the event. People always want coordinating sets for their events. You can start with the basic invitation and build the set from there.
There are so many great new products on Zazzle, too. My latest obsession is the wrapping paper, I love it! We’re also trying out new areas by expanding more into home décor items and phone cases. The lamps are another new product I really like.
Zazzle: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to start their own Zazzle store?
Heather: Patience. At the beginning it can be a lot to learn and a lot to take in. People can underestimate how much time it can take for your products to get out there. Give it time! Pay attention to all of the great advice that’s already out there. There are so many great tutorials, forums posts and other information that you can take advantage of to learn from others who have already done it. The most beneficial thing for me has been learning from others who have already been using Zazzle.