In this week’s Designer Moment, we get to learn more about John Lehman of coadbstore, which specializes in Coat of Arms.
Tell us about yourself! Where is your hometown? Where do you live now? Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of design? Any fun facts about yourself?
My hometown is Dearborn Heights, Michigan. I currently live in Sterling Height, Michigan. Both are near Detroit where I went to college at Wayne State University and received a BA in history and an MA in economics. I am 32 years old. I’m married and my first child was born in April of 2016. I’m a recovering Cafepress shopkeeper. I am currently employed as a Cost/Price Analyst for the United States Army, ensuring our Taxpayers and Soldiers get a fair price for the vehicles we procure for them. I’ve work on my Zazzle business on evenings and weekends. Over the last ten years, I’ve reinvested nearly every dollar I’ve made back into the business.
Tell us about the space where you do your work. Do you have an official studio or have your carved out a nook in your home? Both are equally wonderful and we’re excited to learn more!
I currently work out of a small bedroom in my suburban house. I can’t think of anything interesting to say about it!
What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?
In kindergarten, the school’s library had a book on flags of the world. It blew my mind. I was a lover of flags and became interested vexillology (the study of flags) and from there, I became interested in coats of arms. I have zero background in art of design. I contract all of that out to several artists from around the world!
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Most of my designs are from customer requests. Visitors to my website, coadb.com, request a surname. From there, I research the surname in old manuscripts to see what the blazon is, a description of what the coat of arms looks like.
When do you feel your most creative? Your least?
I am most creative late at night on Friday and Saturday nights, when everyone in the house is asleep!
What are your favorite products to design on Zazzle?
Although I love Zazzle’s unrivaled selection of products, I’m still old school: I love the t-shirt.
If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?
I would love to see flags. It’s a perfect fit for the designs I sell, and I get several customer requests per month for flags!
What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?
A t-shirt with the Walcott Coat of Arms.
Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Designers?
Content is King. It’s been said a million times, but it’s true. There are no long-term shortcuts: build a website that people want to go to. You can’t get there with product thumbnails alone.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?
I visited the Zazzle office and production facility back in 2008 and met some really cool people.