Designer Moment: IYHTV Designs

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Tell us about yourself!

I was born in Kamloops, BC, Canada but we moved to Edmonton, Alberta when I was only 4 years old.  I called Edmonton home for 31 years and just two years ago made the move back to BC. Now I live on one of the most beautiful islands in the world in Ladysmith, BC. It has been amazing to be able to go back to a simpler lifestyle in this little 8000 person town. I have a deep love for the ocean and living on the West Coast is nothing short of inspiring. I like coffee, camping and newly-sharpened pencils. I’m the mom of two handsome sons. Hendrix (4) is the bossy one and Justin (7) never stops talking.

Tell us about the space where you do your work.

As much as I would love to have an actual office, my home has my own little space carved out. My “office” consists of one end of our kitchen table where my laptop is set up. I tend to take up half the table with work, so when we have company over for dinner, my office has to be put away.

What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?

I actually graduated from culinary school as a chef (which is probably why watercolor recipe keepsakes are some of my favorite things to design). Having kids meant a few career changes as I never wanted them put in daycare. I changed careers to be able to be the one home during the day raising them. But designing for me started out with my photography hobby really.  By trying to advance my skills in editing photographs I learned how play around with layers, textures and overlays, and I taught myself how to use Photoshop.  Once I became a mom and my kids’ birthdays rolled around, I could never find the decorations and designs I wanted for their birthday parties.  I started making all my own invitations and decorations for their parties and people kept on telling me I should sell my designs. I used to work graveyards and after my second child was born, it became too much to keep up (working all night and being a full-time mom to two boys under four all day).  I quit my job and my husband gave me the final nudge I needed to launch my design business for real.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

Photography helped me learn to pull inspiration from the smallest things. I notice everything, and everything is magnified. Even if I don’t have my camera with me, I notice it all, be it beautiful or ugly, ordinary or unusual; a couple holding hands, a rusty sign, a sunset, a piece of trash in a gutter. I appreciate everything around me in a way that I never imagined I could. I think that helps to translate into designing. I could see a set of dishes in a store that speaks to me to create an entire wedding design suite.  I try to keep on top of trends on Pinterest, stay ahead of the seasons and holidays when I am designing and just really design things that I would personally buy (which I do all the time). Sometimes, it is even looking at a product and thinking about what would look good on it.

When do you feel most creative?

I am definitely more creative in the evenings.  You would think having kids would force me into being a morning person but it doesn’t.  I can’t function for the first few hours in the morning.  After lunch is usually when I focus on social media posts, responding to client emails and planning out new designs, but most of my actual workflow doesn’t happen until after dinner.

What are your favorite products to design on Zazzle?

How do you pick? The thing I love most about Zazzle is the vast amount of products available to customize. I love making personalized gifts for family and friends. I do tend to design more invitations than anything else, as they are what sells the most.  I really love designing party cocktail napkins, if I had to pick.

If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?

More all-over-print clothing.  All-over-print underwear would be great! Once you become an adult, you look forward to getting socks and underwear as gifts like you did when you were a kid. Being able to have all over print underwear with matching socks would be such an amazing Christmas gift set!

What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?

It was a baby blanket with a pattern of deer antlers on it. It was so exciting to get that first sale and it drove me to be more motivated than ever at creating new designs.

What are your favorite product types to design on Zazzle?

Paper products for sure! I love creating a coordinating design suite of products whether it’s for a wedding, birthday, baby shower, etc. It’s so nice to be able to have a cohesive collection to offer for a specific party theme/design.

What Are Your 5 Favorite Products in Your Store?

Mountain Wedding Party Invitations

Watercolor Vancouver Island Map Art Postcard

Let’s Get Stuffed Thanksgiving Friendsgiving Napkin

Recipe Heirloom Tea Towels

Bachelorette Weekend Party Favor Personalized Shot Glass

Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Designers?

If you are just starting out, take the time to set up your store in an organized and aesthetically pleasing way.  Categories, subcategories, etc. If someone visits your store and cannot make sense of the layout they will just leave. Read the forums, as there is a plethora of information to answer your questions; as well as a great community of other designers who will take the time to give you a few pointers if you ask nicely.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?

A new chapter has begun for me, as my youngest just started full-time kindergarten. For the first time in years, I will have no children at home between 8:30 and 3:00 every day. I will have no one asking for snacks or shooting me with a nerf gun during the day so hopefully that will translate into getting more designing done! Or at least having the house stay clean for longer than five minutes!!!

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