Imitation is the best form of flattery

A custom TYPOGRFX design featuring a company's manifesto

A custom TYPOGRFX design featuring a company’s manifesto

A few weeks ago I had a gentleman request a custom design unlike my typical “signature” designs. He wanted to incorporate 35+ inspirational phrases into one design that he could print as a large banner and display in his business, which helps start-up businesses get going. While I had never taken on a design with quite as many components, I was up for the challenge! As I started reading through the snippets trying to get a sense of what ones I wanted to highlight and how I could fit them all onto one piece, one phrase in particular struck me, and a big smile came across my face as I read it:

If you don’t have copycats you’re not doing it right.

In a marketplace that is now heavily saturated with “word art” I am still holding my ground with my own original designs. Many people are surprised to hear that I’ve have been designing TYPOGRFXs for 5 years now (I can hardly believe it myself!). When this adventure began, there was nothing even remotely close to this available that was personalized – I know this because I spent hours and hours researching, baffled that no one else was doing anything like it at the time.

With the growing popularity of Etsy, facebook and other social media outlets, and the introduction of Pinterest, word art has exploded over the past few years, which has benefited my business. It also has lead me to be fearful of other artists copying my designs. I always assumed that the day someone blatantly ripped me off would be the day that my business would start to decline. But after reading that phrase “if you don’t have copycats you’re not doing it right” I feel reassured that I’ll be just fine if someone copies me, because I will still be the original… the one who’s been doing it for 5 years.. and the one who’s designed over 500 custom pieces for people all over the US and Canada. After all, imitation is the best form of flattery, right?


No reward without risk, right?

When I started planning my marketing for 2013, the first thing I did was look back at the previous year and try to determine where my success was. It was clear that the majority of my TYPOGRFX orders came from two sources: shows and referrals/repeat customers. With that in mind I researched various arts and craft shows around the metro trying to find ones that fit within my budget and calendar. The thought of spending every single weekend at shows was not appealing, but I know that meeting people face to face and being able to show them my artwork in person is very valuable. I also knew I had to find the “right” shows to do, so that I wouldn’t have to sacrifice my personal life.

A good friend and business mentor suggested that art shows were not the right fit for me. I needed to be in front of people looking to decorate their homes and to purchase meaningful gifts. I needed to be in front of people with purchasing power. I needed to think bigger than any show I had ever done. My friend suggested that I try the Johnson County Home and Garden show. With an anticipated audience of more than 15,000 people and guest speakers like HGTV’s Taniya Nayak and Food Network’s Tom Bury, it seemed like it would be a great fit.

Home and Garden Show

Johnson County Home and Garden Show

Let’s just say that being a vendor at this show isn’t exactly what I would call cheap, but I figured out how many pieces I need to sell to break even, and it seems totally doable. So it was with a great deal of nervousness that I signed up to do the show. I figure no reward comes without a little risk, right?

Now I’m busy building faux walls (more on that later), printing thousands of brochures and business cards to hand out and trying to figure out how everything is going to fit into the GRFX wagon (a Taurus X crossover to be specific). Cross your fingers with me and wish me a successful show!

What big risks have you taken in your personal life or business? And what was the outcome?