Get to know our owner/creative director Laura a little better, and hear more about how Art by Ellie operates...
What did you do before Art By Ellie?
Laura: I had a ton of jobs during high school and college as a table busser, waitress, worker in mall retail stores, babysitter/nanny, bartender, etc. Professionally, I began interning at magazines when I was 20 and would do anything they needed, from errands to editing, making copies, making coffee, meeting prep, direct mail, ad sales – you name a role in the publication industry and I’ve probably held it, whether officially or unofficially. I worked at a small ad agency designing mostly product packaging, I worked at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, I worked at a trade magazine about the toner and inkjet cartridge industry, I worked at a visitor's guide to Austin (SO much fun), and I was the Art Director at a legal newspaper. I even published my own magazine for a while and I co-authored a visitor's guidebook to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I feel like I've done a little bit of everything!
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO DIVE INTO YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
Laura: I think I always assumed I would eventually work for myself; I don’t know why. I am a serial entrepreneur and come up with new business concepts constantly and have to talk myself down off the ledge of starting five more at any given time. I noted things – both positive and negative – at each and every job I ever had for the future, similar to the way a child says, “When I’m a parent, I’m going to do X, Y, and Z” for when I owned my own business. Back in my teens, I would purchase books like “500 Home-Based Business Ideas” and “Start Your Own Business” guides by Entrepreneur magazine. Closet nerd.
WHAT INSPIRED ART BY ELLIE?
Laura: My first two initials are L.E., which phonetically sounds like “Ellie” when you read them. And since I design everything from scratch, it’s essentially, Art… by Ellie!
How long did it take you to see results after starting your own business?
Laura: I started doing work for dirt cheap for friends to build my portfolio while I still worked a day-job, and by the time I was 6 months in I had a steady stream of side-work. Fourteen months later, I'd built up a nice client base and I was quitting that day job because something had to give – I was working 45 hours a week + 7-10 hours per week commuting, we had two kids, and I was working another 2-3 hours every night into the wee hours on freelance projects. It was scary, but I made the leap (it was scarier to keep that lifestyle afloat)!
ANY ADVICE TO SOMEONE JUST STARTING OUT IN THE SAME INDUSTRY?
Laura: SO much – and we get questions all the time. I’m thinking of developing small part of the site just for this purpose!
What helps you work?
Laura: MUSIC. I love music, natural light (window blinds always open, and windows fully open when weather permits, aka not summer in Texas), and any number of beverages, depending on my mood – hot tea, iced tea, Starbucks Frappuccino’s, hot coffee from the kitchen, and lots of water. The music changes based on my mood too – we have Pandora stations of all kinds in the office, from ambient (Tycho is a fave), an EDM-ish station that plays a lot of Glitch Mob, but the most prevalent tunes you’ll hear in our office are of the chill hipster variety… see more below!
What is Your go-to playlist or song right now?
Laura: When I say I love music, I don't mean I love my kind of music. I literally love music. I still love going into music stores and checking out indie bands I've never heard of at listening stations. My husband has a massive vinyl collection and we listen to records on the weekends. Some of my all-time favorites are Sia, Bob Schneider, Imogen Heap, Lana Del Rey, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Ray LaMontagne, and Gavin DeGraw. Additionally, some of my favorite artists of the moment include Tycho, The Vamps, The Chainsmokers, Tyrone Wells, Ben Rector, The Shins, and Florence & the Machine. I love 90s music (angry chick rock, alternative, metal, hip-hop), singer-songwriters, folksy/country music, and classical (I play classical piano, too). I simply love music!