I can't believe I started Little Truths Studio ten freaking years ago! Holy moly. Yep, I'm gonna say it: where does the time go!?
Here's a timeline of some of my favorite milestones in the last decade and a few lessons I've learned along the way.
We launched Little Truths Studio in 2014
Looking back over the years, I've made my living in a few - rather un-creative - ways: I've sold insurance. Worked in children's services. Worked in senior services. Taught gymnastics. Taught kindergarten. I come from a family of small business owners and yet I wasn't sure how to flex my own entrepreneurial muscles.
So after experimenting with watercolor for a couple of years, at age 42 I finally felt confident enough to go public with my Big Watercolor Experiment and open my own little shop on Etsy. It was so scary! Minimizing this entrepreneurial endeavor as a "side dabble" and telling everyone that I didn't think it would go anywhere felt safe. It was less risky to just assume I wouldn't succeed than to be embarrassed when my business flopped.
But the feedback was good, and gradually I started feeling like, hey, I can actually do this! This might actually go somewhere! So I leaned into it 1000%.
My artistic style evolved
In the beginning, I wanted to build a product line focusing on science-related art:
While I still love all things science, I quickly realized that niche was a little too limiting. So I let my love of science and nature evolve organically into broader expressions and affirmations of human connection and a deep love of the world around us.
I also decided to ditch the micron pens and focus solely on watercolor in my illustrations. :)
I discovered a love of photography
I am happy to say my product photography has improved a bit since the old days! Look at this next photo - how about this prop placement! Yikes lol
Investing in a DSLR camera opened up a new world of creativity. I love using my camera to shoot products but I also love using it for social media and blog posts and taking endless photos of my garden.
I quit my day job in 2016
After a whirlwind first couple of years I was able to leave my day job. Honestly I would have stayed in this job longer but they couldn't reduce my hours any more and I was stretched too far juggling my work commitments and my budding business. So I took the leap!
You can read the full blog post about quitting my day job here.
You can read more about the evolution of our business in an interview with Emily at Wholesale In A Box here.
We had a product go viral in 2017
In 2017 this print went viral and remains our best-selling product. There's so much to say about this print but that's for another blog post! It's been our most loved, most copied, most criticized product.
We began working with a distribution partner, Buy Olympia, in 2018
As our business grew, we knew we needed to scale our business in a new way. We decided to partner with Buy Olympia to handle wholesale distribution to our expanding base of stockists. They have been amazing to work with.
You can learn more about our wholesale program here.
We published our first guided journal in 2018
We converted our garage into an art studio in 2019
Above is the closet/laundry room that we had renovated into a small studio in 2016. At that point all my inventory fit into a closet!
But after a while we had to acknowledge that a "closet" was just not enough to hold all our business supplies and inventory. The studio was spilling over into the rest of the house. We had shipping supplies in our bedroom and our dining room table was always covered with work. We considered many different options - renting an off site studio, building one on our property, expanding the house. But economically we realized that converting our garage into a studio was going to be the most practical solution, so we began that project in 2019.
You can read more about the garage remodel here.
We published a second guided journal in 2020
We moved to Paint Water Farm in 2021
We moved to Paint Water Farm in 2021 and this time we renovated the daylight basement into an art studio. Finally our studio has enough room for all the products and all the supplies in one space!
Little Truths Studio rebranded in 2023
In 2022 we started the process of rebranding - my logo hadn't changed for years and was beginning to feel stale. We worked with Emma from Soul Stirring Branding for a whole new look and new website and we couldn't be happier with the result.
You can read a little more about our rebranding project here.
As with a lot of you, we are still reflecting on how the pandemic affected us as humans and as small business owners. We are still adjusting, or "pivoting" as they say. :)
So looking ahead we are streamlining our product line and focusing on the strengths we started with when we founded Little Truths Studio ten years ago.
We began as a small, scrappy stationery company and we are going back to our roots! Some of our very first greeting card designs are still among our best-sellers like this card and this one and this one. It turns out that we are really good at making tender-hearted cards that help folks connect with each other, not just on holidays and special occasions, but on ordinary days too. So that's what we're doing: focusing on what we're really good at and then doing more of that. :)
At the moment we are having our annual half-price card sale through the end of January to make room for over 30 new cards and 20 new stickers coming soon. I'm so excited to share them with you!
So that's our last ten years in a nutshell! I hope you'll stick with us for another decade and see what happens next.