Amelia and Natasha, please share your story with us.
We met in a typography class while both studying graphic design at Northeastern University. We immediately bonded over our love for letters and need for caffeine breaks during class. What began as regular homework sessions together turned into continued creative collaboration once we graduated. We spent countless nights together drinking wine and just creating — paper crafts, letter art, holiday decor, you name it, For us, entering the 9-5 working world turned our nights and weekends into a precious time to work on projects that weren’t requested by our bosses or art directed by our teams. And by creating side by side, we had constant encouragement, support, motivation, and critique.
It was during this time that we both decided to strengthen our skills in hand lettering. We challenged each other to try new tools and techniques and honed in on the work we wanted to create. Empowered by the support of our friends (who had watched our crazy projects come to life while hanging out with us) and our love of working with each other, we decided to launch an Etsy shop in late 2015. It started off with just a handful of cards and prints, and we weren’t sure what would come of this new little business. As time went on, we continued to add more and more work to our shop and became more passionate about growing We’re Into It and focusing energy on the work we were creating together.
We now teach brush lettering courses throughout the Boston area (and hopefully soon to beyond!). We have a collection of hand lettered greeting cards, prints, totes, and other goods that we sell at markets, in local shops, and on Etsy. We work with clients to create full custom wedding invitation suites and day-of decor. We are still constantly learning, growing, creating, and loving every minute of it!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
As many designers can relate to, we often find ourselves to be our own harshest critic. From sketching to inking, and then finalizing a pixel perfect design, we often find it difficult to be truly satisfied with a piece of work. Having a trusted partner to bounce ideas off of makes the process much more enjoyable and results in a stronger end product. We rely on each other to motivate, encourage, and move things along when we individually hit a creative block (or even when life gets in the way).
For those without a dedicated business partner, don’t be afraid to reach out and seek help from your best friends, parents or the people whose ideas you admire. We’ve found that people generally want to help when they can, and finding that dedicated person or group to encourage you along the way can make all the difference.
Since we launched our Etsy shop, our business has steadily grown, but at times that pace of growth has felt too slow. We know we’re being harsh on ourselves, but it’s difficult not to when social media allows us to see what everyone else is doing and at what rate. We hear about businesses that “became famous overnight” for some project they did or for something they were featured in. When you see it all the time, it’s easy to expect that it will happen to you, and disappointing when your path is longer and more arduous. Of course, we love Instagram as a tool to share, promote, and find inspiration from, but sometimes the content and displayed success of others can feel overwhelming. We constantly remind each other that we don’t need to compare ourselves to everyone else and that it’s not a competition. We’re creating our own path and have already exceeded so many of our goals!
A better way to look at competition is to realize that we can learn something from them. For us, having female role models in our field gives us motivation, especially during times of frustration or when faced with roadblocks. A few designer lady bosses we look up to and admire include Jessica Hische, Lauren Hom, and Tina Ross Eisenberg. There is such a strong community of women who are pursuing their dreams, and no matter what obstacles we come to, we’re going to continue to pursue ours!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into We’re Into It story. Tell us more about the business.
We sell a collection of hand lettered and designed prints, cards, totes, signs, you name it! We also work with clients to make custom designed pieces for events, weddings, and home decor. Our work is inspired by the things we’re into, whether that be wine and cheese, Beyoncé or just classic, beautiful lettering on its own. To put it simply: we love picking up a pen and creating work that makes people smile!
Our passions are wide-ranging when it comes to design and creativity, which means we have a large variety of work. People look to us for expertise in hand lettering, a discerning eye for all things design and as creative minds that can bring any vision to life. We pride ourselves on always trying new things to ensure that both our client and personal work doesn’t get stale. There’s no project too crazy or nebulous or large for us!
Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
Boston has such an awesome creative community! When we first started selling at local craft markets, our favorite part was simply spending the day surrounded by badass creatives hustling to sell the work they’re passionate about. We keep in touch with our “market friends” on social media and always look for opportunities in which we may be able to work together.
Find the environments where you feel like you can connect with people and become active in them. If they don’t seem to exist – make them! Our lettering workshops have been a great way for us to connect with creatives in the Boston area. We are so inspired by those who take our class, coming from all sorts of backgrounds, and love that we have a new network of letterers that we’ve helped to create. If networking-type events aren’t your jam, don’t feel forced to attend. In the end, finding what works for you and your business and nourishing the relationships you have are what’s important.