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Hey y'all! I'm still around, even though I haven't been nearly as active on here as I intended. As usual, life gets in the way and I fully admit that I haven't prioritized Ruby July as much as I should have. I'm looking forward to refocusing and making more of an effort for this to succeed, so I plan to post more regularly and start coming up with more content for my Instagram.

So. We're in the middle of a pandemic.

2020. Has. Been.


Year. Because of that, I've been furloughed since the end of March (yes, it's now six full months later) and things don't appear to be changing anytime soon. I'm grateful to still have my job at the camera store, and have been able to do a couple hours of work here and there as needed. The pandemic has definitely thrown a wrench into the future of many small businesses, so it's been an adjustment but I'm glad the store is still kicking and doing alright so far. As an introvert, I'm kind of built for social distancing so that part of the past few months hasn't always been terrible. There were definitely a few points over the summer where it was more mentally challenging, especially around my birthday in July (seriously, who expected this to still be going on in the summer, much less now?!) and my productivity comes and goes in spurts. Some days I spend a repulsive amount of hours swiping through TikTok or playing Animal Crossing and other days I spend furiously organizing my apartment or working on Ruby July. It's all about balance, yeah? This past week I bought a shelf from IKEA and put it up, and I'm thrilled with how it came out. I mean how can you not be inspired by this?! All of my beautiful calligraphy supplies on full display. 😍

I've also been receiving a pretty steady flow of orders on my Etsy shop for the typewritten prints, so that's been a positive experience during the past two years. It's amazing to be able to provide something unique for people and I always love the personal nature of selling through Etsy. The custom quotes have been the most popular by far, and I've loved the variety of quotes and projects that customers request. (You can view all the typewritten prints I'm offering on Etsy by clicking here.) Outside of the typewritten prints, I have been really focusing on getting the calligraphy side of Ruby July up and running. I did end up calligraphing my friend's envelopes for her wedding last year, and I learned so much from the process. I also confirmed that calligraphy is something I do truly enjoy doing, so I'd really like for that to be my primary focus moving forward. I signed up for an online calligraphy summit in October, so I'm hopeful I will learn the tools I need in order to really flourish and grow as a business. Over the summer, I was finally able to purchase all of the envelope colors I will offer through Ruby July, and calligraphed samples on each color with both of the scripts I am confident in writing at the moment (Emilia and Harper). I'm offering 30 colors, split up into four different color collections: Jewel, Summer, Pastel, and Neutral. I'm hoping this will provide enough options for many needs, but I'm definitely willing to help customers in finding something else if these colors aren't absolutely perfect for their event. You can view some samples of my envelopes in the gallery below (clicking on an image will take you to that particular Etsy listing) and you can view the full array of envelopes by clicking here.

Other than the exciting calligraphy news, I've signed up for a few online courses through Coursera, which has been surprisingly fun and is something I might consider continuing to do in the future. Some courses are being provided for free by the State of Minnesota for residents who are currently collecting unemployment insurance (that's me!) due to the pandemic. I've signed up for a Graphic Design course as a refresher on the basics, and just signed up for a Social Media Marketing specialization, which I hope will help me learn to maximize my efforts online both at work and for Ruby July.

I still plan to offer stationery designs in the coming weeks, but at this time I think I'll have those be digital downloads only. I'm looking to use Corjl as the hosting site, as it seems to be pretty user-friendly on both the seller and customer ends, and will give customers options to personalize as needed. I'll be sure to share more on that as I am able to get things finalized and posted. That's all the news I have for now! I'll try to post a bit more frequently here and will do a couple posts highlighting specific products I'm offering so you can stay up to date too!

It's alive! I finally opened my Etsy store last Friday, and am so excited that it's up and running. I haven't made any sales yet, and I'm honestly fine with that as figuring out shipping will probably be a work in progress. Everything about the process was a huge learning experience, and I'm grateful that I stuck through with it and have put everything up. I did end up learning a TON about my camera; the first few photoshoots were horribly underexposed and I quickly learned about adjusting the exposure and white balance for a better end result. I'm in love with my camera, and can't wait to see what else I can do with it. I ended up taking four photos of each print, so that potential customers can get a feel for what it could look like in different situations, as well as the different paper and frame options I have available. Take a look at everything I'm currently offering by clicking here. Below is a slideshow of one of the print sets, which is a good feel for how the rest of the shop works. (Also, say hello to my lovely little succulent, Edison, whom I haven't killed yet. Hooray!)

My plan is to continue adding different quotes to the shop, to create more of a variety in selection. I'd also be thrilled to make custom orders, so I'm excited for people to start seeing what I offer and create more visibility. In other news, one of my good friends got engaged recently, and she asked me to do the calligraphy for her invitation envelopes! I'm confident that my skills will be up to par by the time she needs them done, and I'm very much looking forward to setting up a legit workspace area in my apartment. I have a desk in mind, and I can't wait to get everything in place and help boost my creativity and workflow. I saw Hamilton last month, and it was as amazing as it was the first time. I didn't win the lottery, but the friends I took with me to the show both really enjoyed it. If the news is correct, and the tour will be hitting Wisconsin next year, you can bet your butt I'll be at one of those shows, too! Today also happens to be my one-year anniversary at my current job, and it honestly doesn't feel like it's been that long. I'm still so thankful that things fell into place when they did, and something decent came out of the shitstorm that was last year. I'm infinitely more comfortable in the position than I was when I began, and it's helped me learn and grow my confidence as a designer. The past year was great, and I'm excited to see what will happen next. Until next time!

Summer's almost over, and I've spent the last few weeks really ramping up in preparation for launching my Etsy store. It's been a lot of little things coming together, but things have been in motion and I'm excited to finally be able to offer my designs and art to the world. I'm planning to just start out with offering hand-typed quotes that I typed with my vintage typewriter. I found it a few years back at a thrift store, and honestly just thought it was a neat little suitcase at first. I opened it up to find a beautiful little typewriter inside, and it was in great condition so I bought it right away.

To go along with the hand-typed quotes, I wanted to provide a few framing options so that people would be able to just purchase a finished product and it would be perfectly ready to pass off as a gift. This has involved a lot of mini-photoshoots in my living room, which has also helped me get more familiar with my new camera.

Below is a framed print option, and a sneak peek of what you'll be able to find on Etsy! I'll be sure to post an update to let everyone know when the shop is live.

I've also been trying to figure out a good way to offer stationery and wedding suites for purchase. This is probably going to take a bit more time, so I'm just focusing on smaller things first. My plan is to start with the typewriter quotes, continue practicing calligraphy (and hopefully soon offering calligraphed home decor), and finally branch into offering a few downloadable printable options to test the waters a bit with the stationery side of things.

It's nice to have something to keep my mind active, and although at times, it's overwhelming, I'm excited for the prospect of bringing in that side hustle game and hopefully expanding as time goes by.

Besides that, everything has been pretty stable and uneventful. Hamilton is opening in Minneapolis today, and I've got tickets for a date in September, so I'm super excited to be able to see it again. I'm also entering the lottery every day, so fingers crossed I can get a pair of tickets and drag my mom along again. :)

Hope everything is going well for all of you, and I'll check in again soon with updates.

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