You know those punny greeting cards in the store that always make you laugh? Shawn Smyth is the woman behind it all. We talk about what got her into the greeting card business, future projects, and advice to future makers.
How did you get started making cards?
I got started making cards in 2014, shortly after I graduated college. I had fallen in love with this super cute handmade shop in Denton called the DIME Store, and would spend as much time as I could hanging out there, marveling at the amazing things people were making with their two hands.
One day, the owner was working behind the counter and we struck up a conversation. I asked how people get started becoming a part of this store, and she went into detail how they work with local makers. She looked at pictures of my artwork that I'd saved on my phone, and suggested I try starting out with greeting cards. So I did. I opened a tiny Etsy shop with 6 greeting cards that year.
What projects are in the pipeline? Is there anything we should expect to see in Market 1023 soon?
I have a few non-paper goods in the pipeline right now! You can expect some screen-printed things and some laser-cut things this year for sure! I never know when I'll get hit with inspiration for new products though, so there's almost definitely going to be surprises this year that I don't even know about yet.
What keeps you creatively motivated? Do you plan it into your day? Or do you work with spontaneity?
Staying creatively motivated is a tricky thing. I try to think of it like staying healthy. Similar to how your body needs good food, rest and exercise, your creativity needs certain things to stay healthy and productive. For me, it's bright colors and sunlight in my home, a night-owl schedule (I love waking up at 10a, working til midnight, and going to bed at 2a-ish), avoiding foods that give me brain fog, and hanging out with other creative people. When I keep my bases covered, there's no shortage of new ideas, and I just jot them down to be turned into actual things later.
What are some dream illustration jobs? Do you want to illustrate books or make logos, or make a coloring book?
I've always wanted to illustrate a book! I think that would be really neat.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to become a maker?
My advice for new/aspiring makers is this: find your people. The maker journey is MUCH easier when you don't feel alone.
I'm naturally an introvert who would rather be silent and observe in group settings, but when I'm in the presence of other makers, or people who support makers, I shake things up. I make a huge effort to be talkative and outgoing. All the nice things I'd usually say in my own head, I say out loud... even when I'm scared of embarrassing myself. I've approached SO MANY makers and store owners like some sort of weird fangirl, and it usually turns out great! The worst that ever happens is I'm a little embarrassed and now they have an interesting story to tell at parties. Haha!
Find Shawna's cards, stickers, and enamel pins in store and online at Market 1023. And check out Shawna's Etsy store here.