In the company of design stars

Taniya Nayak and Tosha Jackson

Taniya Nayak took a moment to pose with me and my assistant Kristy

Whew! I’m finally catching my breath from being at the Johnson County Home and Garden Show all last weekend. Overall, it was a successful and fun show to be a part of. It’s a real confidence boost to hear so many people exclaim how unique and wonderful my artwork is! I heard comments ranging from “This is the BEST thing at the whole show!” to “TYPOGRFX is the coolest idea in the world!”

My favorite moment from the whole event was when my assistant, Kristy, talked me into getting in line to meet Taniya Nayak (HGTV star who presented several times and met with people afterwards). I stood in line anxiously awaiting my turn, heart pounding in my chest! When I finally got up to meet her, I said something along the lines of “I really admire your designs and would love it if you would check out my artwork” while handing her one of my brochures and business cards. She responded with “Oh yeah, Tom (Bury – another HGTV star who was there with her) mentioned it to me that he saw it and liked it.” I was floored! Two of TV’s hottest design stars liked my work! Kristy and I got to take a fabulous picture with her, and she autographed one of my TYPOGRFX brochures.. Later in the weekend, we had a chance to actually chat and Taniya told me how she had done a similar typography wall graphic for Racheal Ray. Of course, I offered to help her out next time she needed “word art.” She said she’d keep me in mind and wished me luck with my business. I’m still ecstatic about the whole thing!

Now, as I get my show stuff put away and my office back in order, I’m looking forward to creating custom art for all of the wonderful people I met at the show.

 

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?

Meet me and my family

 

Tosha and family - Christmas 2012

Tosha and family – Christmas 2012

As you probably already know, my name is Tosha. I have a wonderful husband Jeremy (who I call Jackson, long story) and a ornery 3-year old Ryker. We live in a barn house on 20 acres just north of the KC metro area. We LOVE living in the country, where we are free to ride our four wheelers, drive our tractors and have bonfires to sit around with friends.

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved being creative, and I am so fortunate to be able to earn a living doing what I love. To be honest, I never envisioned myself as an entrepreneur. Of course, I had always had a strong drive to succeed and thrive on being involved in everything so it’s not been a stretch by any means. When I lost my “real job” while four and a half months pregnant with Ryker, I knew that I was at a crossroads. I had been struggling with the idea of sending him to daycare so I could go back to work after he was born. However, the LAST thing I wanted to be was a stay-at-home-mom. Don’t get me wrong, I fully admire and appreciate what SAHMs do each day, but I knew I’d go crazy if I didn’t have something creative to do. Plus, like most families, we depended upon my income as well. So I made the decision, literally within hours of being fired, to start my own business. And it was the best career decision I’ve ever made!

After Ryker was born, working at home with him was easy. He would just lay on a blanket or in his swing next to my desk while I worked. Of course, once he became mobile those days were over! But I still get to enjoy many “Ryker days” and the freedom to set my own schedule. It’s a luxury I try very hard not to take for granted.

These days, we enjoy working around the house as a family. I especially love DIY and decorating projects and look forward to sharing some of those with you in the future. Jackson and Ryker love spending time in the shed, working on tractors, trucks, go carts, or pretty much anything with an engine and wheels. And we look forward to taking our ‘new-to-us’ camper camping more this year (last year was a disaster when it came to camping trips!).

So what do you look forward to this year?