Illustrator Anna lives in Warsaw, Poland, where she runs runs Anna Grunduls Design. They sell posters, stickers, postcards, etc.
Tell us your story
I'm an illustrator from Poland and started my business when I was a student in Germany. My story begins much earlier though, I've always had a creative and entrepreneurial spirit. During my art education I developed a very ornamental, detailed style and after illustrating two books for a foreign publishing company, I decided I'm ready to share my craft with the world.
In my shop, I sell papery goodies to color in - posters, stickers, postcards, you name it! I want to help color-loving people create their own works of art and fun stationery, everything by providing them with tons of fun! I'm a perfectionist, so I often spend several days or weeks on one illustration, but quality of my designs means the world to me. I know coloring can be very time consuming and I want the outcome to be satisfying and breathtaking!
My items are all manufactured in my studio in Warsaw - from design, through printing to packaging and labeling. I keep expanding my list of stockists worldwide and provide beautiful, professional packaging for all of my items - perfect to give as a gift or store the work in progress picture.
When did you turn your craft into a business?
I started listing my illustrations on Etsy, when I was still a full-time student in Germany. I thought of it as a portfolio, place to showcase my works with the option to buy. I never really planned to become a business owner, it started as a hobby. By the time I was graduating (less than 1 year later), my shop was already a full-time job and soon after that I hired my first assistant.
How did you come up with a name for your store?
The name of my store is simply my name! I think it helps me speak more freely to my customers, because it feels more personal and they know, that I stand behind my work. My family name is also very unique and I knew it won't be confused with any other shop out there.
Do you talk to your customers?
I encourage my customers to message me anytime. Even if it's not related with an order - I'm always happy to chit-chat about coloring. I stay active on all possible social media, but my personal favorite is Instagram. I'd often run flash giveaways in insta-stories and I love how easy it is for my followers to direct message me or share pictures of their items in action. I also have a website, where you can buy my products or sign-up for a coloring mailing list (annagrunduls.com).
What’s your most favorite product?
It's so hard to choose just one! I'm a perfectionist, so every product I publish is something I'm really happy with. I think my personal favorite is the mandala coloring map (http://annagrunduls.com/mandala-coloring-world-map/). It's so much fun to color in and it has many uses. It can be a wall art, a travel map and I know several Etsy sellers, who use it to track their Etsy sales goals.
What are your future goals?
My nearest goal is moving to a bigger studio. My business is slowly outgrowing the dedicated studio in our apartment. I'm currently looking for the perfect location, where I could hire more helpers and keep more ready to ship products in stock. I'm very picky though, because the space needs to be very bright and nice - it has to be instagram-worthy! ;)
What’s your process from an idea to a finished product?
It all starts in a little journal, that I keep beside me as I work. I write down all ideas for new illustrations there and choose one that I find most interesting or that I promised myself, I'd try out. I than make little sketches and look for reference pictures online and in books. My illustration style is very realistic, so it's important to me that the objects I draw look credible. After the research comes the most tiring and the most satisfying part - illustrating. I can spend several days working out the details of one picture! I create my artworks digitally, which is often more time consuming than analogue drawing, but it allows me to go back and correct any details. I'm a communication designer from education, so I design everything myself - also the labels. Finally, the illustrations are printed, packaged and labeled.
Where and when do you find yourself most creatively inspired?
As I work! I love listening to podcasts and audio books as I illustrate, they are often an inspiration for my new items. However, I always have my journal with me, even when I'm out with friends or grocery shopping - you never know when the inspiration will strike!