Makers for Makers: Bedsidesign (Now Swell Anchor Studio)
I am honored to be sharing bedsidesign's story for our second #makersformakers feature. The owner, Christie Jones, and I met through the amazing Hey, Sweet Pea community. One night, we had just signed into a live video session and Elise casually mentioned that Christie and I should chat based off what she knew through her friendship with each of us. After looking at Christie's business bedsidesign, a soul-filled calligraphy studio that also leads workshops, I couldn't help but agree that we should be friends. Eventually Christie was the stronger one of us and reached out to say hello through email, and since then we write each other books weekly and text frequently about life, plans, business, and okay...we admit it...even reality TV. Though we live miles and miles apart, we are scheduled to meet up this fall and I can't wait! I feel like it's going to be like seeing a long lost sister.
Through our many chats, we have realized our lives have so much in common and our conversation from the start was as natural as if I knew her my whole life. She has been a great mentor and friend to bounce ideas off of and grow alongside with. She's inspiring, hard working, loving, and insanely talented. I am so stoked to be able to share her incredible passion here today.
TELL US ABOUT BEDSIDESIGN.
bedsidesign was born in December 2011 out of a notebook filled with creative ideas that would come to me when I was supposed to be sleeping—hence the name bedside + design. It started out as a design focused blog where I would explore different areas of creativity—from photography to interior design all the way to DIY projects and crafts. As I blogged and tried out different mediums my creativity was sparked and my love for building community online was ignited. The last thing in my notebook to try was calligraphy.
In April of 2013 I took my first online calligraphy class. I instantly fell in love. I had searched for a medium that I would be able to lose myself in. Six weeks into learning calligraphy I landed my first freelance job. I fell in love with the process and began planning my business. In December of 2013 I launched my business and by January 2014 I was able to leave my day-job.
As I shared my process I was approached by a community college to teach an adult education series on calligraphy. When I taught I was so inspired by other’s creative journeys and my passion was ignited. I wanted to continue to feel this and began teaching beginner’s and advanced calligraphy workshops. Combining my love for calligraphy with my passion for teaching brings me so much joy.
WHAT MADE YOU REALIZE YOU NEEDED TO BRING THIS DREAM TO REALITY?
I spent my days and nights dreaming of owning my own business. I spent two year trying to figure out my place in the creative world. Once I started learning calligraphy everything in my heart screamed, “THIS IS IT!” To have that backed up with wonderfully encouraging friends, family and paying clients made me realize that this was my outlet.
WHAT ARE THE CORE BELIEFS, VALUES, & OVERALL MISSION THAT DRIVES YOUR COMPANY?
One of the reasons I always wanted to have my own business was to have the freedom to set my own schedule. I’ve struggled with my health for years and at the time that I was starting out [my business] I was extremely ill. I primarily started the business out of the need to be able to work when I was healthy and to allow myself the freedom & time to take care of my body.
Having personal health as my core concern for my business created values that support this. Sure, money is awesome but that’s not my primary reason for doing what I do. I believe in having the freedom to live the life that I need to and want to live by creating a business to support that. I want to live life, spend time with my darling husband, my beautiful dog, my family, and friends. This makes it really easy to prioritize clients, my workload and time off.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST OBSTACLE WHEN STARTING OUT?
Honestly, my health. It was really difficult to have the creative energy to produce work while being ill. I knew that this is what I needed so I kept moving forward - both to become healthy and to be productive. Finding that balance in a time of health crisis was stressful but it taught me a lot about how I work, how I create and how I need to set healthy work/life boundaries. It was a stressful few months though, I won’t lie!
DID/DO YOU HAVE ANY MENTORS? OR MAKERS YOU ADMIRED THAT HAVE INSPIRED YOU?
YES! Since I started first with blogging I had a long list of people who inspired me. As the years have passed and I since I launched my business I've edited my list down to a select few.
For mentors I look to Hey, Sweet Pea—they are the loveliest couple that believes and supports makers so strongly. Their guidance and advice has helped me shape my business.
I've always been inspired by 1924us and their work. It is minimalistic, rugged and unique.
I also love developing deeper online relationships with people like you!, Meredith Bullock, Ilana from Sugar & Type, and Sandra from Raincoast Creative Salon. These relationships inspire me and help me find clarity through their support.
WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY AS A MAKER LOOK LIKE?
My husband Ian doesn't have a set schedule so I try to mesh my schedule with his as much as possible. That could mean working in the early morning or waiting until late at night. My job is typically 50% creating things with my hands and 50% creating things on my computer. Some days I only create with my hands—for addressing projects—and others I'm designing wedding suites on the computer to be printed. I love being able to switch gears—and give my hand a break! In between working I take care of my adorable dog Leo, remember to eat, try to sit outside on my lunch breaks as much as possible and listen to music all day long. I don't sit for more than six hours doing calligraphy by hand because I'll be out of commission for the next day—it's all about pacing myself.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING A MAKER?
I love creating with my hands. I always dreamed of being an artist. I love that I’m able to express my creativity and to share it with others.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR MAKERS JUST STARTING OUT?
I tell this to all of my students, friends & family and I swear by it. If you want to be a maker and you’re just starting out start off small. Take 15 minutes 2-3 times a week and remove all distractions. Simply create for 15 uninterrupted minutes. Be intentional during this time and really focus on what you are doing. After a week or two of consistent & intentional creativity you can begin to increase the timeframe by 5-10 minutes. I believe that creativity is something that you need to cultivate. I also believe creating in this timeframe will have more impact over time versus a 6 hour binge session on a Saturday once a month.