When Courtney reached out to us about a collaboration, we literally did a happy dance + eagerly responded within 2 minutes! We met with Courtney for the first time at our shop. We chatted ideas, made a game plan for the landmark collection, + by the end of the conversation it was like we had known her for years! It was a trio made in heaven!
We could not be more excited to share Courtney's story + products with you!
What inspired you to start Palm Prints?
I actually didn’t intend for Palm Prints to become a business at first! During the Spring of 2020, like a lot of people, I needed a creative outlet as a distraction and a way to break up my day while being stuck at home. My full time job was working in finance for a company that sends college students abroad, so needless to say things were pretty stressful and uncertain at that time. Growing up I was always creating, whether it was painting or writing or drawing, but somewhere along the way I had stopped making time for it. So I finally decided to get myself some new art supplies and used illustrating and painting as a way to unwind every night. Eventually I created an Instagram account to have a place to save my illustrations to, and called it “Palm Prints” after my last name. I began creating illustrations of places that I missed traveling to as inspiration that I would get back there someday. Soon after creating my account, I had people reaching out and asking if my illustrations were available to buy - turns out other people wanted a little reminder of their favorite places to hang in their homes during that time, too! I realized I absolutely loved creating new illustrations and sharing them with others, so I decided to open my online shop and things grew from there.
How long have you been in business?
A little over a year now - I started my Instagram account in June of 2020 and in August of 2020 I opened my online shop!
You just made a huge shift from working in the corporate world to being a full time entrepreneur. How are you doing?
It definitely hasn’t fully hit me yet, it’s a bit surreal and such a dream come true. I of course have my moments where I worry a little about not having that steady paycheck anymore, but I also made sure I was prepared for this shift (a.k.a. overanalyzing every possible scenario that could result from my decision) before putting in my notice so that it wouldn’t be as scary of a leap. I also try my best not to let these negative thoughts intrude too much since I know they aren’t productive! All that aside, I can truly say I have never been happier.
Tell us about the creative process that goes into illustrating your prints.
It varies a lot for me, and the creative process is made up of a lot of aspects, but specifically when I am creating my map illustrations (which tend to be what I draw the most!), I will start off by doing a little research into the location I am focusing on. I will pull together pictures of the town/city and try and get a feel for what it’s like there (is it more of a beach town, is it brick-lined and historic, etc.) and an idea of what color palette and icons represent the location best. Next, I will look up the most beloved landmarks there or ask people who are local to the area what should be included on the map. I then roughly plot out the locations of landmarks in advance to see which ones will fit best. I start drawing the landmark icons, and once those are finished, I arrange them on the map. I then add the names of the locations and arrange those as well.
Another important aspect of my creative process in general is making sure that I am taking care of myself and also not overcommitting to too many projects at once. No matter how much I love illustrating, I learned pretty quickly that the second I feel overwhelmed it can be hard to keep creating, so I try to be more selective with the projects that I agree to do. This isn’t always easy because I am so appreciative of every project that comes my way!
What do you enjoy the most about owning your own business?
The connections I have been making along the way - from the people who reach out to tell me stories about why my artwork resonates with them, to the friendships I’ve made with fellow female business owners (like Jackie & Catherine!). It really has been amazing to meet so many kind, supportive people.
What ( if any ) challenges do you face while trying to balance business, family, friends, + your time?
I definitely have never been more aware of how I am spending my time than I have been over the past year and constantly feel like there isn’t enough time in the day! It’s hard not to feel guilty when I want to prioritize my business over social plans, as well as the other way around, when plans come up that I would rather ditch work for. I think that will always be a bit of a struggle, but I try (“try” being the keyword here) to remind myself that socializing and taking time for myself is just as important as being productive with my business. I’m also slowly learning that I don’t have to say “yes” to every invitation that comes my way. But I am very lucky that I have the most understanding and supportive circle of people around me which makes everything a lot easier!
You learn so much about yourself when starting/owning a business - what is something you’ve learned about yourself personally + professionally?
So many things, but the biggest was learning that I am capable of starting and owning my own business in the first place! Owning a business was always just a far-fetched idea and something that other people did, not something I would ever do. But once I realized that people were interested in something I had to offer and that I could actually start a business with it, I began leaning into other women I knew who were successfully running their own businesses, listening to podcasts, etc. and as I became more familiar with the idea, the more confident I became that I could do it, too. I also realized that a lot of it really is just as you go! The imposter syndrome still kicks in from time to time, but I am quickly learning to overcome it.
What about your business are you most excited about for the future? What goals do you have for Palm Prints?
I am most excited to continue to make connections with new people! But some of my more specific, short-term goals are focused on expanding my product line to include more than just prints and mugs, and I am hoping to continue to grow the wholesale piece of my business and get my products into more shops as well!
What is the best piece of advice you have received during your time as a business owner?
I would say that it has been the reminder to enjoy the process of growing a business and the small wins along the way rather than constantly being focused on what’s next. We have been conditioned to believe that we are not being productive unless we are constantly busy, or are successful only if we have achieved massive growth at a fast rate, but progress and success CAN be slow and steady. It’s easier said than done, but I am trying to remind myself of this often.
Anything else you might want to share?
If you are reading this and there is something that you are passionate about and you want to turn into something - do it! You can take small steps and it doesn’t have to be perfect at first! You are more than capable and you truly never know where it will take you.