Welcome to my "Friday Feature" blog series highlighting female creative small business owners! I hope these posts will give you insight into what these women do and what their lives look like. I also hope you'll find these posts helpful if you're in the creative industry, you run a small business, or you're thinking about starting a small business. You can catch up on the "Friday Feature" series here:
This week I am featuring Emily Guyer with "Justified Paperie." I had the pleasure of getting to know Emily when I lived in Raleigh for the summer and took Hebrew and worked for Open Door Church. Emily's husband Michael is the College/youth pastor at Open Door and so I got to know Michael and Emily by working with college students with them. Emily is a very talented graphic designer and more importantly a godly woman and wonderful wife and mom! She's a great example of wife and mom who is also juggling a creative small business well and I hope her blog will be an encouragement to you! And to all of my brides, Emily designs wedding invitations so be sure to contact her if you're looking for someone to design your invitations!
Please introduce yourself and your business.
Hi! I’m Emily Guyer. I am the wife of Michael and mom of Amelia. I am a minister's wife, work-at-home mom, shop owner of Justified Paperie, and freelance graphic designer.
My purpose and passion at Justified Paperie is to create beautiful designs for everyday life, because that's the space I live in: the normal, mundane, laundry-washing, toddler-chasing, nap-time-battling, Chick-Fil-A-eating, coffee-dependent everyday life. I want to use my art at Justified Paperie bring grace to that "mundane everyday life" and to reflect the beauty of my Creator. That means I create invitations for life's sweet celebratory moments, as well as affordable art prints and scripture art canvases to be hung on the walls of homes.
Why did you start your creative small business?
I think there were multiple factors that led me to decide to pursue freelance design and eventually open Justified Paperie. I have loved graphic design since taking an introductory class in college, and it soon became a hobby that I did in my spare time. As word got out, I received lots of requests to help with various projects and for the first time, I started toying with the idea of pursuing graphic design as a career.
In 2013, my daughter was born, and Michael and I decided it would be best for me to leave my job as an event planner and stay at home with her. Over the first few months at home, I was busy! I wasn’t just busy with changing diapers and making bottles (which ,believe me, I was)—I was also busy with design projects! Michael and I felt that it was wise timing to take the next steps of becoming a real graphic designer (not just a mom who can do graphic design if you ask her nicely and buy her a cup of coffee J)…. So in September 2014, Justified Paperie, my Etsy Shop, was officially opened for business.
What does an average day look like for you? What things/responsibilities are you juggling?
I am first and foremost a wife and mom. Then, I am a business owner and designer. So my average day consists of cooking, doing laundry, playing make believe, and meeting up with high school or college aged girls for discipleship. Most days, the majority of my work happens during my daughter’s naptime and after she goes to bed.
This “work time” is so valuable to me. I have to use this time strategically in order for it all to get done (but let’s be honest, do we ever feel like its really all done??). The majority of my time working is spent designing projects for clients—either corporate clients or custom requests through my Etsy Shop. The remainder of this time is divided between managing my social media accounts, maintaining my Etsy Shop, processing orders, and pursuing potential clients.
What has been a struggle for you as a creative small business owner?
I have wrestled with the question “Who am I?” Who am I as a graphic designer? What is my style? What do I sell in my shop? What don’t I sell? What is my social media identity and brand? What type of projects do I accept? For what do I want to be known?
What has been a joy for you as a creative small business owner?
I love to enter into a client’s world and create a design that fits their unique personality and communicates effectively. I love going to the initial meetings with my clients learning about them. I get to hear all about the project they want me to create and the message they want communicated. Then with all of these components, I get to go to the drawing board (well, technically, the laptop) and create a beautiful and effective design that is tailored to suit the client. I love the moment when it is complete and my client says, “Wow! I love it! That is so me!”
What productivity tips do you have for my readers?
Turn off social media notifications on your cell phone!! If one of those pops onto my phone screen, I get sucked into at least 20 minutes of mindless scrolling on my phone.
What resources or tools have helped you in your business?
I am a big fan of two sites: Creative Market and Design Cuts. I also love following other creative business bloggers and Instagrammers that inspire me. Some of my favorites are Jones Design Company, Jess Connolly from Naptime Diaries, Lindsey Letters, and Holly Mathis. They create beautiful things!
What tips do you have for readers who have (or want to start) a creative small business?
Know that your worth and your identity are not based on your skills or abilities, the success of your business, or the number of followers you have on Instagram. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, the gospel defines your worth: You are a sinner saved by God’s great grace. You are His child. He has given you every ounce of your ability and qualifies you for the mission that he has given you—to live for the glory of His name. Your worth does not ride or fall on the success of your business. If people love your product or hate it, your identity is secured in Christ. Spend your time making much of Him in this endeavor. Make it your goal to put Him on display. Be thankful for the work He has given you to do and the privilege it is to be included in His mission. Draw near to Him through this exciting endeavor. Stay humble. He must increase and we must decrease.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers?
Life is too short to drink Folgers Coffee.
We’ll end on a light note: What is your favorite clothing store?
The LOFT. Can I get an amen? I’m pretty sure 90% of my wardrobe is from The LOFT (the remaining 10% is from Target).