Tell us about yourself! Where is your hometown? Where do you live now? Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of design?
My name is Lorena Depante – I’m creative director and owner of LD Design Loft. I was born in the Philippines, and at the age of 9 my family migrated to Canada. I met the coolest person and got married in 2008; together we are raising our four children (two girls and two boys) in a town just outside of Toronto, Ontario. I simply adore food and food shows. I marvel at how different flavors interact, the nostalgia associated with meals, and the visual presentation that enhances each experience. For now, I fancy myself a chef de cuisine while serving my family of 6. I must say, my short order skills are on point — cheese quesadillas and pancakes are my specialties. Seriously though, when we have special gatherings I do love taking the time to try new recipes, and when I find a good one, I can’t wait to share it. As an aside, I also volunteer with the young people in our community. I find fulfillment in working with them through mentorship and group activities. I believe in the power of positive influence. I am in admiration of the people I’ve met who are genuinely selfless, and are generous with their time and talents. I hope my children grow in an environment that always encourages them to be kind and inspire them to be loving human beings.
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?
My MAC desktop has moved around so many times in our home. It used to be stationed at the open space by the top of our stairs, which we called ‘The Loft.’ Since having our 4th child in 2016, this has now been turned into a 4th bedroom out of necessity. My design space is currently set-up in another portion of our home, I’m thinking it only makes sense that my next business purchase would be a laptop, don’t you think?!
What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?
From the first time I played on the school library computer in grade 6, I was hooked on graphic design. It wasn’t until my last year in high school that I realized there was a whole industry behind this. I completed a diploma in Graphic Design and Advertising. I worked at an agency right out of College and handled projects for Carl’s Jr., La Salsa, Vex Hard Ice, Hauser Industries, Canada Cooler, and The Waterloo Airport, just to name a few. My experience at the agency helped me establish an in-house, print creative services department at Mary Kay Cosmetics Canada. I’ve also volunteered for a non-profit organization for many years as a freelance designer, which I find rewarding. While I was on maternity leave, I decided to build a website for my portfolio. After a few weeks of creating, I stumbled upon Zazzle —I was thrilled at the possibility of being able to offer my designs worldwide. I couldn’t believe that an opportunity with so much upside potential was previously unbeknownst to me. Needless to say, this revelation gave me the motivation to complete my website. But more importantly, the knowledge of having my own online shop, and a newly acquired entrepreneurial mindset transformed me. Zazzle serves as a wonderful creative outlet. My mantra ‘Your creativity, is no one else’s responsibility’ is truly fostered through Zazzle. I’ve obtained new skills, knowledge and inspiration, and has allowed me to explore my talents and business potential.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Other than Pinterest and the web, I find inspiration through travel, books, magazines and television. When it comes to Zazzle products, I find that my greatest inspiration comes from real life experiences. I’ve always loved designing personalized gifts and invitations, I remember the items I’ve made people and the genuine reactions they’ve had in receiving them. The party invitations that made an impression, the thank you cards I did for our own wedding, to the personalized gifts that are still proudly displayed in my mother-in-law’s home —based on these alone it has helped me produce our first best-selling product line.
When do you feel your most creative? Your least?
I’m motivated to create when I see the orders that come in from all around the world from our shop. It brings me joy to know that I’ve helped someone find what they need. And I’m even more encouraged when an occasion occurs that someone tags us on their purchase through our social media channels. I feel connected to the consumers and feel their excitement. I’m least creative when there are family emergencies, or if I’m feeling under the weather. One of the things I really love about Zazzle is that once you have a good store base, you are still able to reach customers even if life takes you for a spin, as it often does.
What are your favorite products to design on Zazzle?
I’ve recently started to work with watercolors more and illustrate. I’ve enjoyed applying my new artistic creations on several personalized items such as invitations, pillows, shirts, drinkware and phone cases.
If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?
It would be great to have customizable wall decals. I’ve had requests from people to create things for their children’s rooms and it would be great to have removable, easy to peel and stick decals on Zazzle. I’m imagining words, quotes and illustrations.
The first product I sold was a customizable, wedding thank you card. When someone first placed an order, I thought it was a mistake, and I thought I ordered my own product. My husband said, ‘Babe, that’s real!’ These words still ring in my ears, so it fuels me to learn more from others and keep at it. Luckily, I’ve found some amazing mentors, valuable resources and courses that have helped me along.
What are your favorite product types to design on Zazzle?
Special occasion cards and gifts for weddings & parties are my favorite. Our wedding was a wonderful event we planned together and it was filled with personal touches. Since we are raising 4 young ones, I have also been enjoying creating for babies and children’s parties. A lot of the invitations and gifts you’ll find in my shop have been designs I created for my family.
Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Designers?
Be a pro. Brand your shop professionally and have a consistent look and feel all across the board. Be confident and proud that you have this opportunity to own your business, to share your unique talents in a special way. Continue learning and improving each day.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?
I’m pretty active on social media and frequent Instagram. Tag @lddesignloft when you receive your order, we’d love to see your photos. Connect with me on www.lddesignloft.com. Thank you for allowing me to share in this way! Let’s keep creating!