Today, we’re continuing our Meet the Makers Series with Shawna Smyth of Shawna Smyth Studio. She creates whimsical, colorful greeting cards for nearly every occasion. And her enamel pins are adorable– her seal of approval pin makes me smile every time I see it!
Hi Shawna! Thanks for sharing your story with us today. Can you tell everyone a little about yourself?
Hi hello! I’m a 33yo artist living in Denton, TX with my SO and our little old lady cat, Carmen. I love to surround myself with brightly-colored, happy art, and I get great pleasure from feeding birds, squirrels, and neighborhood cats on the porch.
I’m really driven by the need to spread joy and remind others that this planet and the people on it are pretty amazing.
The world could definitely use more joy! What are you most excited about for the future?
This is kind of self-centered, but… I’m really excited to see how my life changes since finding out I have mild/moderate ADHD. I’ve been comparing myself to other business owners for 6 years, feeling lazy and slow, and it’s really encouraging to understand that my path HAS to look way different. I feel like I have permission to do things “the wrong way” now because that’ll actually be the right way for me.
I’ve been implementing new routines and strategies to work with my brain, and I’m already seeing massive improvements. It’s exciting!
Thank you for sharing that with us! We’re glad you’re learning more about yourself and wish you the best of luck in figuring out what “right” looks like for you! Tell us about Shawna Smyth Studio! What do you make and how long have you been doing it?
I make greeting cards, prints, stickers, and enamel pins. In the beginning (2014), I was just making greeting cards and printing, cutting, folding, and packaging each one myself. Over time I learned that I suck at being a manufacturer, and that design and admin is where I thrived. So, I started outsourcing the printing/cutting/folding to a wonderful US company that is SO MUCH better at it than I am, and now my products are a higher quality than I could have ever accomplished on my own, and I have the time and energy to design more and be a better human. When you’re constantly forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy (and aren’t very good at) it tends to suck the joy right outta you.
Yes! Outsourcing the things that suck joy is one of the most important steps for success and satisfaction in what you do. What advice would you give a young artist?
Grow your business in a way that works for YOU, and avoid the comparison game as best you can. You’re one of the best-equipped people in the world to think creatively and find your own path to success.
Great advice! What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is designing. I love to sit down with my list of ideas (an ongoing list that I continuously add to when new ideas strike) and start sketching. Sometimes I get so “in the zone” I can complete 10-15 new products in one sitting. Other times, I can draw and re-draw the same design 20 times and scrap the whole thing. Either way, I get a lot of drawing practice in, which is always a good thing.
Drawing practice is always a good thing!! What’s the most recent show you binged on Netflix?
I finished up “Community” not too long ago, and now I’m working on “Arrested Development” and “Star Trek: Next Generation.” Let’s be real though, when I’m not watching Netflix, I’m watching a lot of cartoons on regular tv. The lighthearted storylines and different art styles/use of color are like caffeine for my brain. I get so inspired!
What an entertaining way to conduct research! Thanks so much for sharing the story of Shawna Smyth Studio with us! We’re so glad to have you as part of the Mosaic Makers Collective!
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