Today we’re talking with Shelby Allison of Origami Prints, a Zazzle designer with an amazing eye for patterns and colors. Her artwork and templates are perfect for wedding invitations, holiday cards, baby announcements, you name it!
Tell us about yourself! Where are you from, where do you live?
I’m currently living north of Los Angeles in Southern California, where I’ve spent most of my life, with my wonderful husband and two cats. I mainly work as a full time Zazzler at home and am lucky to have such a great husband who’s supported me every step of the way.
What is your background in art and design?
My background in design started for me when I was very young – probably about 10. As a kid I always enjoyed doing things that were creative. I was never really into sports but I loved art. I remember having some pretty basic art programs on our computer as a kid but I loved playing around them and once I discovered Photoshop as a teenager I’d just spend hours and hours experimenting with all of the tools and had a total blast! I’d always thought of it as just a hobby until I took some graphic design classes at our local community college after high school. It was then that I realized that I finally figured out what I wanted to do for a living! So, I finished my classes there and eventually got my associates degree in graphic design.
How did you get started with Zazzle?
I actually stumbled upon Zazzle by accident one day while planning my wedding three years ago when I was looking for postage stamps. It wasn’t until about a year later that I realized that I could actually sell my artwork on the site and open up my own little “store”. At the time I was trying to learn how to work as a freelance graphic artist at home and didn’t really know a whole lot about Zazzle but the idea of getting to see and potentially sell my artwork on actual products seemed like a lot of fun.
During my free time I decided to upload a few products and by the end of my first month I made about $1.00. It wasn’t much but it got me a little excited and motivated to come up with some more designs. I started trying to put myself in the customer’s shoes and spent time coming up with designs that I thought people might like. Since this was all during the same year that I got married, once I discovered the option of designing wedding invitations I had a total blast!
I still had wedding planning on the brain and experimented with different invitation designs. I soon discovered that those particular designs were selling the most for me so I decided to focus more heavily on invites and that sort of became my little niche in the marketplace. As the months went on, my earnings slowly began to increase each month and i began to focus a lot more time on Zazzle and it started to become a full time job for me.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I spend a ton of time looking at what’s trending, especially when it comes to weddings, fashion, and interior design, and look at things like color palettes, patterns and textures. I like to focus on things that are trendy but I also like to try and add my own unique flair and come up with designs that won’t go out of style. Sites like Pinterest are a great way to gather all kinds of inspiring photos, patterns and color schemes.
What are your favorite Zazzle products to design?
Invitations for weddings and baby showers are definitely my favorite products to design. I love the fact that each time I make a sale and my customer gets their invites delivered that my artwork plays a tiny role in planning their special day.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to start their own Zazzle store?
My first advice would be to have lots of patience! It can take a long time and a lot of work to build up your store before you start earning enough to help pay the bills.
Second would be to always put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Create designs that you think customers would enjoy. Always think, “Would I buy this?” before you add a design to your shop. Sometimes it really helps to have a friend or family member look at your work and give their advice.