Paper Anchor Co. was legally established in June 2017 (when I purchased 100 of my first enamel pin), but it actually started in 2013. It has been a slow and steady growth (with me always working 1-2 jobs throughout it all) and I thought I’d share my story for anyone who is interested in my solopreneur journey. ✨
It all started late 2012 with me designing my graduation announcement and painting my very first greeting card as a takeaway at my portfolio show. After graduation, I accepted a part-time wedding stationery design position (while still working as a server at night). There I fell in love with print, paper and designing a tangible product.
At the end of 2013, I went into the cutest gift shop Sweet Paper in the hopes of them carrying my very small card line, (I think I had 5 designs) and instead was offered a part-time design/assistant position (again while working as a server by night). It was there that I learned so much about the stationery industry – pricing, order minimums, industry standards and about Proof to Product's Katie Hunt with the dream of one day attending her Tradeshow Bootcamp conference.
From there I went on my own designing wedding stationery and painting day-of signage, selling a few greeting cards on Etsy and still working as a cocktail server.
It wasn’t until mid 2015 when a client requested I make something new for their special day – a Snapchat Geofilter. This is where my business shifted, where creating a digital asset offered me the opportunity of financial growth without having to initially invest in a product. I quickly became Etsy’s top selling Geofilter shop and had to templatize my designs to efficiently run the shop while still working full-time as a designer at a local brewery.
And then we get to 2017, geofilters started slowing down when Instagram Stories came into play and I saw the need to shift again. I had used that equity to start really paying off my student loans and then used the rest to invest into a newly popular accessory – lapel pins. I started with three designs and from there used that income to reinvest in my business and pay off my loans while still working full-time as a graphic designer.
To this day I still work full-time while running my small business out of my apartment. I post myself painting on the weekends or me dropping off orders in the evening, but I don’t show the late nights of me designing, researching or packing product. I show the organized shelf in my second bedroom, but don’t show the product boxes piled up to the window or my dining room table that is my “office”/shipping station. I thought I’d share that I may be in hundreds of shops, but I also humbly run this business out of a an apartment. I do hope to one day do this full-time, but for now I am sticking to my slow and steady growth. 💚🌿