Happy Friday Everyone! It’s been a busy January – can you believe that we’re already approaching the end of the month?! I don’t know about all of you but I felt like that month just flew by! My schedule has been insane which is probably half the reason the month was over so quickly! I’m going to veer off on a bit of a tangent before diving into today's topic as I always like to share some of my personal life with you guys!
As most of you know, I was hard at work over the summer studying to pass my ACE personal trainer exam (which I did, yay!) In September, I started working as a Fitness Coach and was really enjoying it! Something else that I do that many of you probably don’t know is I work as a promotional model for a marketing company that represents various liquor, wine and beer brands. Well, recently, I was offered a part-time, work-from-home job as their Market Manager and I accepted! However, the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to balance having 3 jobs (hello 70-hour work weeks!). Something had to give as I could feel the burnout coming and so, even though I absolutely love the fitness industry, that job had to go. I’ve got one more week of juggling all three positions until I can finally introduce a little bit of balance back to my life! Don’t worry though – you guys all know that my wedding business and my amazing couples have always been and always will be my top priority! If I didn’t share this with you, I doubt anyone would have even noticed a difference! I still strive to answer every email and phone call within a couple of hours and am always hard at work for all of you that have chosen to work with me! Everything else is second to you guys!
The past year has been a roller coaster of trying to find a part-time job that fits with my lifestyle, that I enjoy (because let’s get real, half the reason I chose to become an entrepreneur was to be able to focus solely on work that I find satisfying and fulfilling!) and still gives me the flexibility to build my business. These are the things that no one tells you when you set out to work for yourself – it takes years for your business to become your sole focus so be prepared to have a side hustle going on until that day comes! I am beyond excited for this new role as securing something that was entirely remote was exactly what I had been striving for! It’s also a great use of my extreme attention to detail, scheduling, and events background! Whew, okay, enough about me! Let’s move into today’s blog post which is a Vendor Spotlight!
I’m choosing today to feature Amanda Tiberi, a graphic designer who runs XO Art and Design out of Chicago! Why am I featuring a vendor from so far away you ask? Well luckily for you, Amanda creates beautiful works of art to use in your wedding that can all be shipped to you! Amanda and I connected through the virtual universe and quickly became friends! After admiring her gorgeous designs, I actually hired her to design my new logo.
You guys – she was a DREAM to work with. She sent me so many designs that all matched the style I was going for. She bent over backwards to ensure that the final product was one that I was 100% happy with. I can’t say enough good things about her work and can’t wait to collaborate on our next project together! But for today, she was kind enough to answer some questions I had for her about her experience, her work, and what inspires her! Let’s get to it!
Tell us a little about how you got started and what inspired you to become a graphic designer:
Art has been my thing since Day 1. When I was 2 or 3, I would draw my mom pictures on my Magna Doodle toy, and my mom decided to enroll me in an art class as soon as she could (thanks Mom!). I’ve taken art classes for most of my life, so when the time came to start looking at colleges there was no question that I wanted to go to art school or be a part of an art program. What’s funny is that I didn't want to be an artist (I always feared the whole starving artist kind of thing haha!) – I knew I wanted to go the designer route. I think what actually inspired me to want to become a graphic designer was designing my Myspace page (I know right…throwback!). I would change the design of it EVERY single day, and even taught myself a bit of coding for my site. I also used to read a lot of magazines and my dream job was to be the graphic designer for Seventeen Magazine or Cosmo Magazine.
Sounds like you always knew this was the path for you! Tell us a little about your education and experience?
I ended up choosing to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Their School of Art & Design required a foundation year of general art and design classes before you were able to choose what you wanted to major in. During that first year, I was exposed to a little bit of each major. Their program selection included areas like Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Painting, Sculpture, Photography, and Art History. At the end of that first year, I really wanted to major in Graphic Design. However, an even better opportunity presented itself; one that I didn’t really even know existed until then. I ended up choosing Industrial Design (for those of you unfamiliar with art terminology it's basically product design.) I absolutely loved it! I felt like I learned every 2D skill that a graphic designer could learn on the computer, plus I had the advantage of learning 3D modeling! It was a whole new world that I never knew about and opened my eyes to all of the possibilities that my degree could lead me to. Every single one of my classmates that graduated within our program has taken their skills in completely different directions and a lot of them are extremely successful. I’m so proud to come from that program!
I love that story! Good for you for following your dreams and pursuing your passion! It’s so rewarding to be able to do what you love! Now that we know a bit about you, tell us about your process when a client reaches out with a project!
I swear I get a little rush of excitement every time a client reaches out for a project, especially for a project that I’ve wanted to try haven't gotten the opportunity. Since I do SO many different types of art & design projects, it really depends on the project itself for how I handle it. But generally speaking, once a client reaches out to me we talk about what they are looking for, what their timeline is or when they need the project by, what their budget is, and what my pricing looks like for that type of project. Once all of that is squared away and we decide to work together, I mark them down on my project calendar and I either begin the project if it is needed ASAP or I mark when I need to start it in order to finish it by the deadline. I have them sign an invoice if it is a lengthy project, but the majority of my projects are pretty lax! I probably have 10-20 projects going on at any given moment! Sometimes, it gets a bit stressful but the majority of the time I am so happy to be busy. I love being busy and I love saying yes to as many clients as I possibly can.
Girl, you and me both! When you reach out to an entrepreneur, there is an actual person who jumps up and down about your inquiry. I still do the happy dance every time I book a new client, I don’t think that will ever get old! So, tell us, when you start working on a new project, where does your inspiration come from?
Depending on the project, I ask my clients some questions to get more a feel of what they are looking for. Once they answer a few questions, a million ideas run though my head for how I can execute the project. I also find so much inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest! I’m a very visual person, so photos (and photo-centric social media channels) are where I truly find so much inspiration. The majority of accounts I follow are designers, artists, and calligraphers so my feed is always drenched in inspiration and color palettes that spark ideas.
Isn’t is so great that we live in a world where have we access to SO many different ideas at the tips of our fingers? I also get a lot of my wedding design inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram! It’s great to be able to see so many different styles and be able to blend them into something that fits your project! Is your work custom-order only or can we browse any samples for those late-night impulse buys?
Most of my work is custom, but you can go to https://xoartanddesign.com/shop/ to see available pieces and prints ready to be purchased! I’m usually so busy with custom work that I don’t have the opportunity to create as much art as I’d like to before it is already purchased. I am working on creating more items so I have a constant flow of available work – that is one of my 2019 goals if I ever find the time!
Great! So being that I am in the wedding industry, tell me all about the types of pieces that my couples could order from you!
Oh boy, the list is truly endless! Right now clients can order drawings, paintings, calligraphy envelopes, calligraphy vows, brand logos, snapchat filters, invitations, wedding maps, personalized jewelry boxes, painted wine glasses, personalized cheese plates, personalized globes, personalized door mats, agate slices, marble coasters, personalized hangers, art prints, calligraphed home décor, wedding rentals, and wedding signage including welcome signs, seating charts, place cards, table numbers, menus, programs...like I said the list goes on and on! I can’t even think of everything I do! Soon I will be offering personalized leather and jean jackets and will be adding some digital download wedding suites to my Etsy! So much to do, so little time. I’ve tried to downsize on what I offer, but it’s impossible because I love every single thing that I create and I think I’d get bored doing the same type of project over and over again, which is why I offer such a wide range of items!
Wow, you offer so much! I can see why you always have so many projects going on at once! If one of my couples wanted to order something, how far in advance do you typically request orders be submitted?
I ask that clients place orders with me as soon as they know they want something. The more time I have to prepare my calendar, gather materials, do my design work, and actually create the project, the better. Items such as seating charts and escort cards are VERY last minute for most weddings. Therefore, I only need about 2 weeks to do those. If I can have about 4 weeks to work on every other type of signage or design, that’s usually enough time for me! I pride myself for never missing a deadline though :)
Good to know! I always encourage my clients to get things done as early as possible but of course, some things can’t be done until all those RSVP’s come in! Let’s shift gears a bit – tell us about your most unique project request?
Oooh this is a hard question! I’ve had tons of crazy requests from clients, but honestly those turn out to be the absolute best projects. I do a lot of acrylic signage, and one time a client wanted an acrylic seating chart and table numbers with a Chicago themed L train track theme. I remember thinking ‘how in the world am I going to execute this..?’ but lo and behold, after much brainstorming and planning, the bride and I came up with a plan and the end result was one of my favorites. You can find photos of the project on my website and Instagram!
OMG love that! Isn’t it funny the things people come up with? I agree though, sometimes those crazy requests end up being the most fun! Your passion for what you do just oozes out of you! Before we wrap things up, tell us what you love most about what you do?
I love making people happy. I want to make someone’s wedding day a little more special. I want to make someone cry happy tears when they open a drawing of a beloved pet or home or loved one. The part I love most about what I do is seeing or hearing people love or appreciate my work. It’s the best compliment ever! Art may not be important to everyone, but it really is an incredible part of life and something that I want everybody to enjoy as much as I do. I love that there are so many forms of art – there is truly something out there for everybody! I love that I have found my absolute passion in my life and I want to share that with as many people as I can.
Amanda, thank you so much for taking the time to share all of this with us! I personally love your work and will be referring you to as many of my clients as possible! If you guys want to check out more of Amanda’s work, you can find her at all of the below links!
Thanks again for stopping by this week! Until next time, Happy Planning!