It didn't take long, however, for Jennifer to realise that jewelry is a challenging market to jump into on Etsy. "There are so many talented jewelry makers out there that it's difficult to stand out," she laments. Luckily, Jennifer had a back up set of skills: "I had been making greeting cards using scrapbook paper since college and I decided it would be fun to start selling cards."
After playing around with designing some of her own cards, Jennifer realised how few wedding invitation designers there were on Etsy. "As soon as I started designing wedding invitations, my business took off," she recalls. "I left my job in the mortgage industry in May of 2008 to focus on Pink Lily Press full time and have not looked back since!"
Through Pink Lily Press, Jennifer primarily designs and prints wedding invitations and personalized stationery. "I also make any paper items necessary for weddings such as favour tags, menus, programs, and other fun paper goodies like recipe cards and personal calling cards," she explains. Jennifer creates all of her designs by scanning in her own drawings and digitally enhancing them, or by manipulating her own photos.
"I love being creative," Jennifer grins. "I have always enjoyed drawing, doodling and learning new crafts, as well as things like cooking, baking, and decorating my home." She finds inspiration in the world around her, whether it's browsing through decorating magazines, going for a walk through the neighbourhood, or taking photos while on vacation. Add this inspiration to her love of computers and paper, and you have the perfect recipe for a stationery business.
Like many crafters and small business owners, Jennifer admits that she has a hard time sitting and doing nothing. "If I have the luxury of sitting on the couch to watch TV in the evening, I usually have a pencil and pad of paper on my lap!" she laughs. When she is taking time out, Jennifer adores spending time with her family ("the older we get, the more we enjoy spending time together!") and is passionate about her home. "Home has always been a very important place to me and making home feel like a warm and welcoming place is essential, as is entertaining family and friends."
Her business is also her passion, although Jennifer acknowledges that running a business by herself is incredibly challenging. "Not only am I responsible for the actual design/production aspect of the business, but also record keeping, tax filing, and all of the other nitty-gritty responsibilities that accompany running a business." She is still learning how best to balance all that is required of her, and thinks it will continue to be a learning process for as long as she runs Pink Lily Press.
That's not to say Jennifer doesn't adore every moment of her journey. "The best piece of advice I can give someone looking to start their own business is to do what you love," she smiles, "because in the end, that's what keeps you going on a daily basis when you're so busy that you don’t have time for anything else."
The key elements that Jennifer sees in running her business are time, a lot of trial and error, and being prepared to make mistakes and learn from them rather than letting them get her down. She also recommends a willingness to create custom items, as she has found that they have given her some of the best ideas for new products. Finally, she says, "Be prepared to evolve. As your business grows, you may discover that a different product is more likely to bring in more customers."
To continue following Jennifer's journey, you can find her at her blog, on Facebook and on Twitter. To check out her gorgeous goodies, head across to her Etsy shop, 1000 Markets shop, or her website.
Jennifer has generously offered a giveaway prize to readers of Pepperberry & Co.'s Tuesday Tales. The winner will receive a set of 10 Notecards of their choice, with the option to have them customised!
To enter, you must be a follower of Pepperberry & Co. and leave a comment letting Jennifer know what your ideal custom Pink Lily Press design would be.
If you blog, Facebook or Tweet about this giveaway, simply leave an extra comment for each to receive up to 3 extra entries. Good luck- I'm so jealous (as always!) that I can't enter!