Welcome to 2021 with Goddess Directory! After a short holiday break, we're back, ready to tackle the new year, and more invigorated to share new small shops + connect with the creators behind them than ever. If there's anything you're looking to see, feel free to send over your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know on Instagram at @goddessdirectory.
Today, I'm thrilled to share someone I've been Internet friends with for a few years now and lucky to meet in person several times (remember when it was safe to go to Disneyland?), Jessie Price. When Jessie starting sharing her art, I was impressed to learn that not only was she stylish and kind, but a talented artist as well. Now, Jessie shares her work through her shop, Happee Illustrations, and the name doesn't like - all of her items are bound to instantly make you happy. I'm so happy to share some of Jessie's story with you today, so read on to learn more about how a workshop inspired her to create more and her unique "office" she's working out of currently. Enjoy!
My pick: this "You Have My Full Support" greeting card is just too sweet and perfect for a friend.
Q: Let’s start from the beginning. Can you tell me a little bit about the process of starting your business? What made you want to do this and how did you turn your idea into a reality?
A: I’ve always loved drawing and creating. About 3 years ago, one of my favorite illustrators/speakers was holding a contest to win tickets to a workshop he was holding, and I just decided to go for it. I entered a piece, AND I WON. Within a week, I flew to Nashville and the workshop gave me tools and inspiration to start drawing more and open up my little business. I started illustrating flashcards & learning tools for teachers’ classrooms, family portraits, and maps for my local Chamber of Commerce.
Q: Was there a moment when you felt like this was something that was going to take off and become a success for you?
A: I think the moment I won the contest, it made me believe in myself, and showed me that people were watching and liked my work. From then I started getting commissioned from local businesses and I began using it at my desk job as a marketing manager.
Q: What were your friends' and family’s reactions to you starting to sell your art? Were you nervous to share it?
A: My friends and family were VERY supportive. My best friends Sarah and Heather were very encouraging and help me find the confidence to reach farther to get my work out there as much as possible.
Q: What do you wish you had known when you first started your brand?
A: Hmm. This is a tough one - I am the type of person to learn on the job. I just kind of went for it and hoped for the best. Perhaps it would have been nice to know the best practices for how shipping and mailing originals works, I struggled with this in the beginning the most. Luckily, a lot of my clients were very understanding when there were mishaps.
Q: Obviously, we’re in strange times right now so I have to ask everyone I talk to - how has COVID-19 affected your business and what are you doing to keep everything going during this time? What can people do to support you and others during all of this?
A: I have been unemployed from my desk job (where I get a large majority of my income) since March. Though it really has been a struggle financially since then, it has been nice to get a little more time to focus on running my small business and creating more.
Q: I love reading about your journey with your van! How is creating art for you while you’re on the road?
A: This has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of the van. I often get sick of my office space in my apartment, and the van is a safe enough place that I can drive to wherever and create without being fearful of COVID. It's like having an office on wheels. I’ve been making it a priority to go to the beach at least once a week and spend the day in the van with the doors open so I can hear the waves and feel the breeze. I get a lot of my best work done on the road.
Q: What do you wish more people knew about shopping small?
A: When you shop small, you’re not just buying a ‘thing’. You’re paying for someone's groceries or rent, you’re supporting someone’s dream, you’re enabling someone to create something that they truly love and put all their effort and love into, you’re one more way that they can reach even more people.
Also, even just sharing, commenting, saving, and liking a small shop on the internet is an effortless favor that has HUGE benefits to supporting a small business.
Q: Favorite item in your shop currently?
A: My favorite item in my shop right now are my ‘You’ve got a friend’ hats. They were an idea I had when I was in college, and I am so glad that I got a chance to create them. The hat says the word “friend” on it implying that you are a friend to all, that you have the responsibility to spread kindness and joy to everyone no matter who they are, and that you are someone that a friend can be safe with if they need the space. Also, 20% of the proceeds benefit Homeless Youth in the LGBT+ community with the True Colors United Foundation.
Q: What goals do you have for your business going forward?
A: I want to create for kids. I am passionate about teaching kids about mental health and science, and I would love to create more art that inspires kiddos to learn.
Q: Lastly, let’s spread the love. What are a few of your favorite small shops owned by women that you personally shop from?
A: Shops I’ve been shopping with and love!
Gift Horse @gifthorsenashville - I visited this shop the last time I was in Nashville, and love
EVERYTHING they have. Prints, cards, gifts, puzzles, jewelry. I want one of everything lol.
@Lime_andthe_coconut - she creates amazing watercolors inspired by the ocean, nature, and foods
@imradicallyjess - Jess creates macrame masterpieces that are unique and thoughtful. She also is just a wonderful person.
@theoceanpaper - I found this shop at a farmers market when I was in Kauai at the beginning of this year. They make arts and stationary, and also create their own watercolor paints. LOVE.
Follow along with Jessie:
Shop Happee Illustrations
Follow Happee Illustrations on Instagram
Follow Jessie on Instagram