Jules Tillman is an artist and creative business coach living in Portland, OR. She runs Creating Beautifully, selling physical and digitals goods, mostly for other creative entrepreneurs.
Introduce your shop
Hi, I'm Jules and my shop is called Creating Beautifully; where I design fun, motivational, and sometimes snarky posters (print at home or printed for you) and mugs for bloggers, artists and entrepreneurs. I think it's especially important for soloprenuers to surround themselves with things that make them smile while they work (since all we have is ourselves and what's around us!) I also have a few instant downloads (ebooks, calendars, etc.) to help you grow your online business.
When did you turn your craft into a business?
I'm an artist and have been selling my art on Etsy since 2009. But in 2014 I started working with other artists and makers, helping them grow their businesses online. So I decided to open this shop in 2015 in order to support those creatives by designing inspirational posters that they could either download instantly after purchase and print at home (or at a local print shop), or I could print it for them in various sizes. Then I added the mugs (because what entrepreneur doesn't need copious amounts of caffeine each day?!) More recently I added ebooks and printable calendars, etc.
How did you come up with a name for your store?
I already owned the domain CreatingBeautifully.com so I decided use Creating Beautifully for my Etsy shop name as well.
How did you start selling on Etsy?
I first signed up with Etsy in 2009 to sell my art (http://julestillman.etsy.com). But to be honest, I was in the middle of a move to a state and city I'd never even visited before, I was working and attending school full-time, with a very active daughter at home. So I thought I could just throw my art on there and it would sell. I didn't realize all that went into owning a successful Etsy shop! So it wasn't until a couple of years later when I started going to local Etsy meet-ups (in my new city -- it was a great way to make new friends here, too!) that I really started to work my shop in earnest.
Do you run your website or blog, social media?
Creating Beautifully would not be where it is today without social media! In fact, it really started as just an Instagram account, then I added the blog (both of which were re-branded earlier this year) and finally the Etsy shop. I think Instagram is such a great way to really connect with your customers and/or potential buyers. I find that, more and more, People love to buy from, and support, people! Not giant corporations. So letting them see into your tiny home office or studio, and getting a peek at your process is so important. Plus, it's always fun to watch people make things, right?
It's debatable whether or not Pinterest is social media (I like to say it's like social media and Google had a baby!) But if you consider it social media, it is BY FAR my favorite! It bring about 70% of traffic to my website/blog, and about 45% of my traffic directly to my Etsy shop. And the numbers grow as my pins get re-pinned more and more over time. So I try to make sure I have "Pinterest-friendly" images in my Etsy shop listings.
What’s your most favorite product?
Probably my "Mother Hustler" mug because I relate to it the most! ;) But I was super excited when my "La Jefe" mug made it onto a Huffington Post list called "11 Marvelous Gifts For The Latina Mamis In Your Life" right before Mother's Day!
What are your future goals?
I have so many! I would love to work up to 100 products in my Etsy shop and use some software and processes to make my income from there a bit more passive. I also donate a portion of my profits to a local art center for at-risk youth. I'd love to double, or even triple my donation this year over last.
What’s your process from an idea to a finished product?
Like a lot of people, I feel like my best ideas come in the shower, or right before falling asleep at night. So I always try to write them down right away! I actually keep most of them in a note on my iPhone, so I always have a list of ideas to choose from. I design my posters and mugs in Photoshop. Come to think of it, that's how I create my printables and ebooks, too!
Where and when do you find yourself most creatively inspired?
Besides in the shower and right before bed, I love to get outside and take a walk by the river by my house. It refreshes me in a way that nothing else really does.
But I'm also inspired by going out and meeting other entrepreneurs. Like at the local Etsy meet-ups, as well as bigger conferences. I think it's so important to surround yourself with like-minded people, because working for yourself can be tough at times and those people who are also in business for themselves can relate, and help life you up when you're feeling down. (And vice versa!)