This week in our Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know Rhianna Wurman, the unbelievably talented artist, entrepreneur and all-around fun gal behind Ello Lovey!
LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?
Rhianna: After earning a degree in graphic design, I ended up in a cubicle as a production artist at a label printing company. With little room for creativity, I was yearning for a way to express my own artistic voice. That’s when I discovered a little thing called Etsy. It was calling my name, so I listened. I had nothing to lose and I was so ready to dive into my own creative endeavor. I started my shop on the side to see if it had wings and before long, it was taking me to places I never expected to go.
LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?
Rhianna: When I first opened my Etsy shop, I wanted to focus on prints and cards with a British influence. I was inspired by my lovely Grandma, who was from England and had a passion for making things by hand. I wanted to honor her and my heritage, and I didn’t want to veer too much from that direction. Over the years, my shop has evolved with my surroundings. Since moving to the mountains here in Asheville, NC, I’ve been so inspired by nature and animals, and that has been reflected in my recent work. I still hold dear to my British heritage, but I’ve naturally grown as a person, and I want my work to grow with me. Beyond prints and cards, I’ve experimented with illustrated jewelry, ornaments, fabric design and I’m currently working on adding t-shirts to the mix. On top of that, I am also a freelance illustrator.
LBC: How would you describe what you create?
Rhianna: I create illustrated prints and cards infused with a positive spirit and a little bit of whimsy.
LBC: Where can we find your products?
Rhianna: My prints and cards can be found in my Etsy shop (ellolovey.etsy.com) as well as local gift and paper good stores such as Garage 34, Whist and MTN Merch in Asheville. Nationally they can be found at Oh, Hello Friend in CA, Made: Indie Emporium in OK, Poppins in MI and more. You will also find my goods at local craft shows including The Big Crafty and the Indie Craft Parade. I also design surface patterns on Spoonflower and phone cases and other tech gear on Casetify.
LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.
Rhianna: I like to go the gym or for a run first thing in the morning before my mind finds any excuses not to. It’s a good start to the day to have that out of the way. Around 9 or so, I have my coffee and breakfast while I’m checking and updating my social media and emails. I print and ship any orders I need to send out for the day and work on any freelance projects or new ideas I have. I create daily doodles in my sketchbook when time permits. Most of the time my doodles turn into ideas for prints or cards. Around 6pm I start winding down, make dinner and spend quality time with my husband and our little Golden Retriever, Radley.
LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?
Rhianna: 1- Are you doing it to make money, or are you doing it because it’s what you are passionate about? You will be so much more motivated and fulfilled if you’re passionate about what you’re creating.
2- You have to be willing to spend time promoting yourself and your products. If you can’t do it on your own, you will need to find someone who can do it for you. It’s as important as making your product. No one will know about the wonderful things you make unless effort is put into marketing them.
3- Most likely, success will not happen overnight, so do not expect to bring in a paycheck right off the bat. Unless you can afford to take a risk, it’s safer to have an additional source of income.
LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?
Rhianna: A walk outside. Nature is the cure for so many things. It makes me realize that I don’t have to be perfect in order to be successful. It refreshes my mind and I’m able to prioritize projects by importance and immediacy.
LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.
Rhianna: Doing craft shows has been great for building face-to-face relationships with my customers and getting my name and brand out into the world. You just can’t beat that. Getting on Instagram has been the best thing I’ve done for my business. It connects me with my customers directly and they get to see the behind the scenes of my daily life as a maker. I’ve met and made some lasting relationships with other creatives. It is such a wonderful and supportive community to be a part of. I create and post a list at the beginning of every month on Instagram called Doodle a Day. I invite everyone to doodle each day to a different word. It’s a creative exercise for fun but it keeps me experimenting and honing my craft.
LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?
Rhianna: A mistake I made when I first started was pricing my freelance design work too low. I was just so excited to be getting jobs. As I realized how many hours I was actually putting in to them, I started to see that I was undervaluing myself. It was a hard lesson to learn but an important one, and I think it’s one a lot of people make as they’re starting their own ventures. I am much more realistic with estimating the time it will take to complete a project when I’m quoting jobs. It’s vital to your success as a maker to know your worth.
LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?
Rhianna: I donate to a local animal rescue here in Asheville called Brother Wolf. They do amazing things for the community and for its furry critters. It holds a special place in my heart because I am such an animal lover.
LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?
Rhianna: 1- Instagram. It’s a must for me to connect with the maker community and my customers.
2- The Adobe Creative Suite. I use Photoshop and Illustrator on a daily basis to make all of my designs digital.
3- My sketchbook. It goes everywhere I go and is where all of my ideas start.
LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?
Rhianna: I would have part-time employees to help me with production so I could focus more on new designs and expansion. I could really use an assistant right now. I would love to be in double the number of brick and mortar stores as I am today. In a few years I will have also written and illustrated my first children’s book. Possibly a pop-up book.
LBC: What’s one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?
Rhianna: I could live on tacos forever. Tacos are my jam.
LBC: What’s your spirit animal?
Rhianna: My spirit animal would be a bear. I love being surrounded by mountains and nature. I have a strong but loving spirit.
LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?
Rhianna: “I want my heart and my passions to be the most beautiful things about me.” -Scotty & Rae Smith from the Love Yourself Challenge
Thank you, Rhianna, for sharing your talent with us! We absolutely love your work and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for Ello Lovey! We’re cheering you on…
Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!