Alex Labriola

Looking to move abroad one day? Then this interview is for you!

Just a year ago Alex Labriola, the founder and creative director of Al Stampa, a design and illustration studio, moved her one-stop-shop for all branding needs and letterpress printing from Brooklyn to Amsterdam.

We are so inspired by this leap and impressed by her willingness to grow with this move. Thank you for sharing your journey Alex! 

Alex Labriola | Freelance Wisdom

Tell me about your path to becoming a freelance designer.

Ever since I was little, I pictured myself having my own design studio in some capacity.  It was important for me, and critical in my opinion, to work for others for a large chunk of time and soak in as much as possible from those experiences. I have always enjoyed working for other people, and learning in a work environment.  I got to see how design and illustration can live in large corporate environments, as well as in-house within smaller companies.
I was designing, illustrating and hand letterpress-printing custom wedding invitations as a side business since 2010, and there came a time when I realized that this too was a way of branding, only for an event and not a company. I realized my passion was rooted in telling the story of a company, individual, or couple, and the brand of Al Stampa felt whole.
When my husband and I decided to take a leap and move to Amsterdam a year ago, I felt it was the best time for me to go out on my own completely and give it a go.  If not now, when?

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients? 

I had made so many great relationships throughout my 10 year career working as a designer, art director, and creative director in the interiors, and hotel industries. I was able and courageous enough to send a mass email out to everyone to tell friends and old colleagues I was available for work.  I luckily have an amazing community of people who wanted me to succeed and refer me whenever possible.  I think one of the most important parts to consider before you take the leap into full-time freelance is not to burn any bridges, and always act like what you’re doing is important to you, even if you hate your job at the current moment.  Work ethic is work ethic at the end of the day, and it’s better to leave everyone with a great impression of you and how you work because you never know when you’ll work with them again, and in what capacity.  
Alex Labriola | Freelance Wisdom
Alex Labriola | Freelance Wisdom

Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

Get dressed in the morning and make lists! I re-write my lists of to-do’s throughout the day, to clear my head and focus myself.  I also try to devote some of the day to other things like drawing around the house, soaking up some Pinterest time, or even taking a walk. It’s important to take time to build what you want, take time to be with your family and cook/eat a good dinner at night.  Always look to inspire yourself so you’re not pumping out uninformed work… How you take care of yourself comes through in how you live your life and the type of work you produce! It’s all connected.

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

We all have off days.  The most important thing to do when this happens is to recognize that you need the bad days in life to revel in the good. Take a break and get inspired in a different way.  On days like these I’ll pick another form of creativity like cooking a beautiful dinner, or looking at a different medium of design, for instance old blues vinyl albums.  Break out of your process a little, to give your mind a break.
Another hard part I’ve found is making time for self promotion.  Luckily, most of my clients have come to me through referrals, or Instagram, but beyond that, it hasn’t been something I can focus on, and I would love to be able to this year!  
Alex Labriola | Freelance Wisdom

What is your favorite thing about freelance?

I used to hate mornings, and think “oh I’m just not a morning person” until I started working for myself, and now my favorite time of the entire day is a quiet early morning with coffee, my music, and my work space.  While it’s amazing to have my own schedule, and be able to bring my work with me anywhere, I work way more than I ever have because it’s just me, myself and I. Since it’s all for me, and my growth, I never dislike my work days, but the pressure is on!
I also love that I get to see my progress as a designer, illustrator and letterpress printer more clearly because I get to work every day at what I love, and invest all my time in being better each and every day.

How do you continue to attract your ideal clients? 

Someone I admire greatly told me – create the work you want to be hired for.  This was the best advice and has been my inspiration every day.  I started to think less about how to get work, and just reveled in the days I was able to draw/design what I truly wanted to.  I started a little gif series on Instagram over the holidays that led to some really interesting work, and now I’ve started the #100dayalstampapatterns challenge where I work on an illustrated pattern a day for 100 days.  My dream is to create an illustrated wallpaper collection, and this challenge is meant to get me thinking about pattern on a daily basis, get the “not so good” work out of my system to clear space for the collection I hope to make in 2018.  It also allows others to see daily drawings that may inspire future work.
Alex Labriola | Freelance Wisdom
Alex Labriola | Freelance Wisdom

You have taken your creative studio abroad to Amsterdam. Can you tell us more about that journey, the motivation behind it, and how you are finding it to be for your creative studio?

My husband and I had lived in Park Slope for 8 years and were both in a position where we were feeling a bit like time was getting away from us, and we were unsure of what our next move would be.  I was unhappy in my current work place, and had longed to go out on my own finally instead of keeping it a side-job, and we decided we needed a year to invest in ourselves.  My husband has Dutch citizenship, so we have always dreamed of living in Amsterdam. He applied for a Masters degree, and we crossed our fingers.  When he got in we were so happy, but terrified and unsure if it was the right move.  We packed up our life, and the three of us (Kitty Lou included), flew over to our new home.  Almost a year later, I couldn't imagine what our life would have been like without this move.  My business is blossoming every day, and we live exactly how we’ve always dreamed of living.  I pinch myself sometimes!
Being here is so inspiring for my business.  There is a huge letterpress culture, there are designers everywhere, and it’s the city of self-employment!  I found a letterpress studio to work in, and get to bike over, and  print amongst the canals whenever I can!  My studio is in our apartment, so I have a little nook next to French windows that open up to our quiet street in De Pijp.
All of my clients are still US based, which is great for me time-difference wise. I get to work all morning quietly, without email interruption, and then by 2 pm my time, I start to get feedback and client inquiries, which I work on for the remainder of the day.  
Alex Labriola | Freelance Wisdom

Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details? 

I love the program Harvest, where I do all of my invoicing, timesheets, expenses, and client organization.  It lets me actually see how many hours it takes me to do certain things, so I am charging a fair rate.  It also allows me to see all out-standing payments, and all that’s been collected thus far so that I can better plan my finances, as well as sends automatic invoices to clients with whom I am on retainer. I also keep a separate excel of every project, all costs, vendors, quoted price and profits.  It helps for tax season deductions, and also helps me look back to compare vendor pricing, or quickly give a client a ball-park cost to initiate next steps.  I always send a highly detailed quote with all information and process for a signature, to have on file just in case (with friends too!) and then I follow up with the invoice.  I find this protects the client and myself throughout the process.  I feel the more organized you are, the more likely you won’t run into big problems.

Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?

This year in particular has been all about investment of time, money, and confidence into Al Stampa.  My work creeps into every moment of my day, but I’m still in the honeymoon phase of building this to the level I want it to be at, so I don’t mind. Luckily my husband has been finishing up his Masters this year, so he’s been in the same ‘nose to the grindstone’ mode.  We definitely love to walk around our neighborhood, get a great glass of wine, and we cook amazing dinners to favorite playlists by Michael Antonia (our wedding dj) 5-6 nights a week.  That is part of the life we have built and we would never be as happy as we are right now if we didn’t give that time each day to each other. I also really believe that not taking time to do things you love, or see people you enjoy, will impact your work in a negative way. Conversations, outings to the movies or to a new neighborhood, give me inspiration for my work, so it’s important for me to keep that in mind when I want to stay in one night and work work work.  
Alex Labriola | Freelance Wisdom
Alex Labriola | Freelance Wisdom

What do you do to stay creatively inspired? 

I’d say I’ve always been inspired by old movies, hand-lettering styles from the 40s-50s, and my endless collection of illustration and design books.  My sister, who is also an artist, has always given me amazing books every year for my birthday, because we are soul sisters; Charley Harper, Illustratus, David Weidman, Oliver Jeffers and the list goes on.  I take a lot of inspiration from old illustrators/designers/painters like Alvin Lustig, Saul Steinberg, Toulouse Lautrec’s sketches, vintage movie poster design, letterpress printers and hand painted signage. Travel is huge for me, and signage especially. I take lots of photos of signage from all over the world to inspire design, even though my designs are much more contemporary and clean.
Being in a new city this year has given me so much inspiration, from the signage, to the packaging, to the markets, and even the way people live.  I print all my letterpress work at a studio about 10 minutes away from my apartment, owned by a good friend now.  Having someone who has been printing for over 30 years, is a huge inspiration to me as well.  I learn so much from just talking to him about letterpress and other printers, seeing how he works, and meeting people through him.  It’s critical to get out of the house, away from the computer, and to soak in everything around you.

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:

Ambition, Organization, Passion

 

Alex Labriola | Freelance Wisdom

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Lorna McCarthy

Lorna McCarthy is the owner and lead designer behind McCarthy & Co, a boutique design practice, focused on creating interiors that are authentic and emotive. Based in London, Lorna's speciality is applying an intuitive approach to each project. Studying History of Art has given Lorna a different approach to interior design, allowing an innate and in depth understanding of style, space, composition and colour which she applies to the creative direction of every project.

Although the past eight months haven't been the smoothest transition to being the fabulous, independent business woman that she expected, there's no doubt that her freelance experience so far has made her a better designer.

Lorna McCarthy | Freelance Wisdom

Tell me about your path to becoming a freelance interior designer.

I became a freelance interior designer, not by mistake but certainly not planned. Although I had always aspired to go out on my own, it ended up happening a lot sooner and with a lot less preparation than I ever would have anticipated.
In school I studied history of art, after which I did a very short internship at a prestigious design studio. While I didn't actually learn anything while with them, it did allow me to include the name on my CV, following which I was lucky enough to be taken in by a small company. I am so thankful for this experience and my mentors there, as it enabled me to gain an understanding of design from the inside out - including, most importantly, the nitty gritty of how to manage clients, how to invoice effectively, what you need on an install (baby wipes and floristry scissors!); the every day stuff. Here I honed my skills in all aspects of interior design over the course of four years, going from the administrative side to eventually leading and managing my own projects.
I have never had formal training [in interior design] and learned entirely in the job. In the beginning I saw this as a draw back, but now I can appreciate that this without a doubt cemented my approach and application of interior design, and has given me such a thorough and pragmatic education, without which I wouldn't have had the capabilities or confidence to freelance. It's enabled me to develop an organic approach and way of doing things. On top of this I credit studying history of art as having developed my understanding of style, space, composition and colour, something which I apply to every project and is at the very heart of me as a designer.
After a while though I became quite jaded about the industry and as a result had actually walked away from interior design. But, I only ended up having a three month hiatus! My first freelance project was for an existing client who asked me to work for her independently, and I haven't looked back since!
As I had experience of running my own projects and have always been very independent [as a designer] going freelance felt like a natural progression, and for me I know that I'm at my best working independently. The freedom of being able to work in your own way, choose who you're working with and ultimately having control over the design process is very important to me, and I wouldn't want to design any other way.
Lorna McCarthy | Freelance Wisdom

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

Well, as I have only been established since the start of this year, I would say I'm still very much in the 'beginning' stages! But for me it has absolutely been establishing genuine relationships with clients, who then wanted to work with me independently. This, and word of mouth. In the beginning I thought it was all about your website, how you approach advertising yourself and 'who you know', but really, for me, it's come down to positive experience and word of mouth. Design is so personal so it's important that you and the client are a good fit; I wouldn't take on a project if I felt I wasn't suited to the client or the job. Forming authentic, personal relationships with both clients and suppliers is something that I want to continue as I grow; both of which are a huge source of inspiration for me.  

Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

If you start to procrastinate, ask yourself why! For me procrastination is such a dangerous habit, as it can have the potential completely de-rail a project as they tend to run to very tight deadlines. When I find myself procrastinating, at the root of it is usually feeling overwhelmed, or a lack of confidence to make a call or decision. If I'm honest about why I'm feeling the urge to procrastinate then I find I can overcome the hurdle that's driving my procrastination and get my productivity back on track.
Lorna McCarthy | Freelance Wisdom

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

My greatest struggle as a freelancer so far has to have been going through an unexpected identity crisis when I first started out, and after a good few months of 'what the f- am I doing?!', learning that it's okay to do things differently. Age was definitely a sticking point [I'm 25, which is young for this industry!]. In the beginning, although I didn't realise it, I had an idea in mind of how as an interior designer with my own company I should be approaching new clients and new projects. But in reality this was how I felt I should be approaching things, not taking into account my own personality, strengths and weaknesses. I was overlooking the very reason I wanted to become freelance - to do things differently and to offer an alternative to the run of the mill experience of interior design. Because my ethos rests largely on creating authentic relationships with both clients and suppliers, it follows suit that I am not the strongest networker. So following the path of what someone else is doing, even if it might be working well for them, is not going to be authentic to me or effective. I had to get comfortable with who I am and how I want to establish myself as a designer - for instance, outlining certain values like paying suppliers a fair price and not compromising on this. It's only been since accepting that it's okay to do things a little differently and in my own way that I've been able to find my feet as a freelancer, produce my best work and be able to stand firm behind myself as a designer. 
Another thing was the financial aspect. After a few months [of establishing my company] I started working in a local cafe alongside my interior design work, which although isn't always easy [managing both] it gives me the financial stability I need while I'm still finding my feet and establishing a client base. I think pride can rear it's ugly head when you're a freelancer; wanting to say yes, I'm doing amazingly well, to put out a facade of being fantastically busy. But the reality for a lot of people is that it can be a struggle in the beginning. This is something that I felt was important to touch on, because looking back I had an unrealistic idea when I first started out about how smoothly one project would flow into the next. I've learnt that it doesn't make you any less valid as a designer, or freelancer of any kind, to have a 'side job'; but rather, in my case, was simply a way to make it work.
Lorna McCarthy | Freelance Wisdom
Lorna McCarthy | Freelance Wisdom

What is your favorite thing about freelance?

For me as a creative, it's without a doubt the freedom and control to do things your own way, and not to have to compromise on this. Something that is hugely important to me is supporting small businesses and craftspeople, and working for a company where someone else ultimately makes the decisions I wasn't able to do this. It's been so rewarding to choose each and every supplier I work with, to pay a fair price and to know that I am supporting someone's livelihood, not just imports from China. 
From a creative perspective, I need to be accountable and responsible for all design choices which again, in interior design isn't possible if you're working under someone else. Because I'm a total control freak (only in design might I add, nothing else!) I love that I'm able to have complete control over every decision. For me, it makes the whole design process from start to finish so much more enjoyable and rewarding, and ultimately better. I love to completely immerse myself in a project and find I'm able to do this working for myself in a way that I was never able to before. Being able to make the choice about who you're working for and what you're working on more than outweighs any of the negative aspects to freelancing I've experienced so far!

If you could design for anyone, who would it be?

To be honest I am incredibly lucky with the clients I have, but as I'm soon to be relocating to Falmouth [in Cornwall, UK] in spirit of that a dream project for me at the moment would be a Cornish boutique hotel or cafe! 

Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?

The work/life balance is something I try my best to create boundaries around. While design is a huge part of me, my entire identity isn't 'interior designer' and so I try to make sure I leave time for nurturing relationships and other interests outside of design. As I'm a bit of a magpie the sourcing side of me never switches off, but when it comes to everything else I do try to set boundaries and adhere to them. Although the odd late night is at times necessary, I try on the whole to keep my evenings after dinner work free as best I can. This keeps me sane and happy, both things I value!
Lorna McCarthy | Freelance Wisdom

What do you do to stay creatively inspired?

Always be on the look out for inspiration, whether it be a natural landscape, new supplier or rooting through a secondhand shop. I'm constantly open to being inspired, and I find living in that way enables me to draw on inspiration organically when it comes to putting together a design concept.

Freelance work can be isolating. Do you have any tips or tricks for combating these lonely feelings?

Isolation is something that I definitely struggled with, particularly in the beginning. As I had just moved to London when I first started my company, McCarthy & Co, I found it hard not being a part of a community. I think isolation can be a problem for freelancers, particularly if you're going through a challenging time. For me, it did gradually get better as I found my groove and became more confident and focused. As I am frequently liaising with suppliers and clients that usually helps to dispel any feelings of loneliness, but if isolation does start to creep in then I'll make the time to arrange to meet a friend mid week for a coffee and a catch up.

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance creative are:

Passion, belief and determination. Not knowing when you're going to get in the next project isn't easy, so it's imperative that you have determination and believe in yourself and your abilities. To me as a designer, belief is something which is absolutely crucial. If I don't believe in myself, my ideas and my work, then how can I expect a client to? I’m Christian, so belief is integral to me, and this applies to my work as well. And passion speaks for itself!

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Caroline Corrigan

Caroline Corrigan is an upstate New York-based graphic designer and illustrator. She loves working with small businesses, non-profits, makers and creative entrepreneurs to create visual tools that tell stories, build brands, and make stuff happen. She also helps out at Pepco Studio, coordinates The Half Moon Market, and owned/operated Fort Orange General Store from 2014-2016. One more thing, she's 9 months pregnant!

We love her style, her calm demeanor, and the ways in which she stays creatively inspired. 

Caroline, we are so glad we snagged an interview with you before your babe enters the world. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us!

Caroline Corrigan | Freelance Wisdom

Tell me about your path to becoming a freelance graphic designer and illustrator.

I grew up just outside of New York City, but came upstate to Albany for college, where I studied fine art and graduated with a BFA in painting. I absolutely loved studying art/art history in school, but soon after graduating and looking into MFA programs, I knew that the fine art world wasn’t for me. I briefly considered going back to school for illustration, but I ended up taking a job here at a local arts center and did everything from hanging shows in their gallery, to administrative work, and making flyers and brochures–which, not surprisingly, was my favorite part of the job. I was proficient with Adobe Creative Suite, but what really helped my work improve was getting a Lynda subscription and making time to really learn the software by taking courses in my downtime at home. It was a big time commitment, but it changed everything for me. Eventually, I moved on from that job and began working part time for my friend Phil, who is an amazing book cover designer. That experience was invaluable; his training really helped me get a sense of my own voice and get comfortable working on real projects with tight timelines.
Eventually I started to get some work of my own, and began to feel a little more comfortable with the idea of freelancing. The Albany area is pretty small and the cost of living here is affordable, so it makes taking risks like freelancing or opening a business a bit less daunting than if you lived in a larger city. I did a ton of research before deciding to freelance full time. I poured over countless books (Creative, Inc. was a favorite), articles, podcasts, e-courses, and talked to other people who were making it work. I kept my expectations realistic in the beginning and was open the idea that it might not work out, while at the same time trying to stay positive, and being up for the challenge of working really, really hard.
Caroline Corrigan | Freelance Wisdom
Caroline Corrigan | Freelance Wisdom

Do you have any tips for being your most productive?

Stick to a routine, minimize your distractions, and take care of yourself.
I find that I work best when I get up early, eat, get dressed, walk my dog, and get to work right away. It helps that my husband works a 9-5 schedule. If I start work when he does, I will definitely have a more productive day. I’m not much of a night owl, so I try to stick to regular daytime schedule during the week. Of course, there are always projects that extend into the evenings and weekends, and so am I glad I can do that from home.
I use Trello online with the Pomello desktop app to organize my tasks and time my progress. It’s helpful for billing hourly (and has built in breaks!) but I like categorizing and moving each task in either “to do,” “awaiting feedback,” “ready to invoice,” etc. Also, it’s a little embarrassing to admit that I need it, but I use this awesome website blocking extension for Safari called “Waste No Time” which is amazing. You can set the amount of time you can look at certain websites. Instagram is still a big, fun distraction, though!
Caroline Corrigan | Freelance Wisdom

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

It’s probably a tie between figuring out how to charge what my work is worth, and feeling confident in sharing what I’m working on with the wider world/social media. Of course, those two things are connected. It has gotten easier over time, but I still struggle with it somewhat. I also have a hard time carving out space for personal projects.

What is your favorite thing about freelance?

So many things! Working quietly in my sunny little space while listening to public radio and podcasts, the freedom to run an errand or have a slow morning if I need to, and just being able to make cool things for people. The flexibility is the best though. I definitely take it for granted sometimes, but it is really nice to be able to work at home, or at a cafe, and actually have control what I’m doing.

How do you continue to attract your ideal clients?

Posting my favorite projects on my website and Instagram really helps. It’s taken me a long time to learn this, but you have to show people what you love to do. Eventually you’ll be sought out specifically to give a client’s project your unique voice and aesthetic. Honing that aesthetic is the difficult part––it takes a long time and is an ongoing process, but it’s a great feeling when others begin to recognize it (and want to pay for it!).
It also kind of goes without saying, but putting yourself out there is essential. I think many creatives, especially those of us who work alone find it awkward, but it never hurts to introduce yourself to people, go to events where you might meet like-minded creatives and business owners, share your favorite projects, and maintain a solid and active online presence. This was so hard for me in the beginning.
Caroline Corrigan | Freelance Wisdom

Do you have any tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details? 

Quickbooks Self Employed is my go-to for invoicing, doing quarterly taxes, tracking expenses and mileage. It’s super easy to use, has an iPhone app, and keeps all of that financial stuff in one place. I also have an accountant that I have help with my taxes and questions that I work with about 2-3 times per year. I think it’s totally worth it to hire a good accountant to help with questions that are difficult to answer and to ensure that you’re doing things correctly.

What do you do to stay creatively inspired?

Of course, the endless stream of imagery that is the Internet provides constant inspiration, but print media is the best, I think. I love the illustrations in the Sunday Review section of The New York Times, The New Yorker, old art books and record covers, etc. Looking through layout design in the newspaper is like trying to figure out how a beautiful, complicated puzzle works.
There’s also this area in downtown Albany not far from where I live that has an amazing public collection of abstract art from the 1960s, including work by Ellsworth Kelly, Alexander Calder, Helen Frankenthaler and Franz Kline to name a few. Anyone can just wander around the grounds of the Empire State Plaza or go into the government buildings and check out these great massive paintings and sculptures for free, any time. I really like to read, too. This past year I read a bunch of Joan Didion books in row, and have spent a lot of time looking into the work of Sister Corita Kent. I love getting a little obsessed with an artist, writer or musician, learning everything I can about them.
I also work with my friend Adelia to coordinate a twice-yearly maker’s market here in Albany called The Half Moon Market. Every fall and spring, we take over this historic 1920s Lake House in the center of the city, and put on a really great handmade market for the weekend. My job is to primarily work on the branding and overall look and feel of the event, which we change up every time around to keep things fresh. It has been such a fun side project to work. I love how it supports creative community, contributes to the quality of life in the city, and gives us an opportunity to hang out and connect with other creatives for a weekend filled with beer, food trucks, and music. It’s a nice break from all the solo work time I am generally occupied with.
Caroline Corrigan | Freelance Wisdom
Caroline Corrigan | Freelance Wisdom

Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?

Still working on this one, ha! It’s really hard to balance both especially when things get busy. There’s this inherent need to please your clients when you’re a freelancer, but there’s also that latent fear that work could dry up at some point. I have a hard time saying no, and generally enjoy the work I do. Also being at home, the lines between work and downtime are not always clear. But, at some point you need to step away for the day. It’s so important to carve out time to hang out with your partner or friends, take a walk, or just cook dinner. Those things make you feel human. If I feel like I didn’t get enough done in a day and I’m burnt out, I usually resolve to just get up early and get right back to it in the morning. On the other hand, if I’m on a roll, I like to just power through the evening. Often that’s when the best stuff gets done. The key is to make sure to make up for it the next day by taking a little downtime in exchange.
Caroline Corrigan | Freelance Wisdom
Caroline Corrigan | Freelance Wisdom

I think many people in our audience have entertained the idea of opening up retail shops. You owned/operated Fort Orange General for two years. Can you tell us more about that experience and what you learned?

Fort Orange as a really fun two year experiment/career detour. My friend Katy and I had a couple of business ideas that we had schemed about on and off for years, and when we saw this affordable and nice looking store front go up for rent, we just jumped on it. We were both at good places in our lives for it. I had just left my job at the arts center and wasn’t freelancing full time yet, and she was working part time as overnight nurse. We knew we would regret it if we didn’t try.
There were so many things we learned about running a business, like working with a partner, dividing responsibility/time/income, finance, taxes, dealing with the public, etc. The shop was also a total blank slate to experiment with merchandising, and learning how to develop + implement a brand aesthetic, beyond graphic design. It was so fun to have that physical space to utilize. The biggest take away for me were the relationships I was able to make with the maker community, both locally and around the country. We worked with so many great artists, many whom we would have never connected with without the shop. It also helped me finally realize what I wanted to do with my career, which I think for most people, involves a lot trial and error.
In the end, my friend who I ran the store with was diagnosed with an advanced stage cancer (she is doing great now, thankfully!) and we had made the decision together to close the business. It didn’t feel right running it without her while she was going through that. I also realized that after two years in, retail wasn’t a good long term path for me, and I knew I would be happier focusing on design. We ended up getting contacted by a former college classmate who was interested in taking over the business, so we sold it earlier this spring, and he has just recently reopened the shop! It’s interesting (and even a tiny bit difficult at times, honestly) to see something you built be run by another person with a different vision,  but I am really excited for him and glad that the little shop we built will remain in town.
Caroline Corrigan | Freelance Wisdom

You are expecting, congrats! What are you most looking forward to about being a freelance designer and mom?

Thank you! I am super excited to be a mom and all that comes with it. I’m eager to see how motherhood influences my creative work. I anticipate–and hope–that it leads to more drawing, actually. Of course though, I am also am a little nervous about how it will affect my workload and ability to juggle everything. I know I will have to be a little more discerning about what I choose to take on. I am planning to take a little time off to spend time with our baby and learn the ropes of motherhood, so I am really grateful for the freedom and flexibility that freelancing allows. Side note: this blog has been so helpful demonstrating how motherhood and freelancing can totally be compatible lifestyles. Thank you for existing!
Caroline Corrigan | Freelance Wisdom

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