The Story of Paper Anchor Co.

watercolor illustration

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. 💚🌿

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