small biz chats: Jessica Levitz of June Letters Studio
In this week's edition of Small Biz Chats, I'm chatting with Jessica Levitz of June Letters Studio. She's a graphic designer and illustrator who loves working with creative clients. I love seeing her illustration and sketching work, and she's worked with clients like Vanity Fair, West Elm, Threadflip, and Yelp. She has a beautiful soft style with some gorgeous hand lettering skills as well. She has a great story to share - dig in!
What is your business, and why did you start it? I am a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, working under the business name June Letters Studio. After several years working at tech companies as an in-house designer in San Francisco I decided to strike out on my own as a full-time freelancer. While working in-house, my requests for freelance continued to increase, and so after saving up some money and securing a few great freelance clients I took the leap!
What were you doing before you launched your business? I was working as the lead visual designer at lingerie company True&Co. I designed everything from clothing labels to the website to printed packaging. It was a great job, but I knew that I truly feel happiest when I can work on many projects at once and from the comfort of home!
How did you find your first paying clients/customers, and what really helped you to grow your business? About six months before I took the leap to start my own business I did a major overhaul of my website and started blogging almost daily. I found that people started to pin my work and my readership grew very quickly. Most of my clients find me through Pinterest! It is really incredible what that platform can do for a visual business.
What tools are most important to help you stay organized and on task? When I first started out I kept organized by writing out lists on random pieces of paper - this of course didn't work for long! I now use Asana to manage tasks and projects. I also keep a (mostly) organized folder for each client on Dropbox. I like using Dropbox for my clients so that I feel confident I won't lose their work!
What aspect of your business is your absolute favorite thing that you do? I luckily love so many aspects of my job - but probably my absolute favorite thing is the sketching that I do at the start of a project. I love breaking out my paper and pens and just getting out as many ideas as possible. I feel so much more creative with a pen in my hand than when I jump straight to the computer.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to launch his/her own dream business? Plan ahead and get some practice before you fully launch! While it is tempting to just suddenly quit your day job and pursue your passion, you will be so much happier and more successful if you plan your departure carefully. Write out a business plan, gather advice from friends and family, start a savings account!
Thanks to Jess for sharing her insights!
All images are copyright June Letters Studio.