How I Started my Business

Posted by Deborah Juarez on

Hello friends!


I have been thinking about my business a lot lately: how and why I started it, how it's evolved, how it's grown over the years and what it looks like today. 


Something like a decade ago, I was in photography school and loving it. I was taking all these pictures and it was a lot of fun. We did both film and digital photography, even using medium- and large-format cameras. I LOVED the large format, but the camera was really heavy and cumbersome, and it wasn't exactly a hand-held camera.

Even the medium-format was a ton of fun, and my Holga wound up being my favorite camera. It's cheap plastic body and unpredictable results made for some extremely fun photography. When I bought mine, they were only about $20-25, and while they've gone up in price a bit since then, they're still a really fun camera to play with. (I had a friend who had at least 5 of them.)


I never really loved the idea of doing assignment-based photography (someone hires you to do a specific job), and loved just running around taking photos. This meant that unless I started selling some art, I was never going to make any money. 


I started out by opening a store on Etsy. I posted a bunch of artwork, created descriptions and all that, and then waited to see if I sold something. I loved my art, my friends said they really liked it, but I never really sold much. I think I sold maybe 3-4 prints over those first 2 years. 


I stumbled across a Facebook ad for Print on Demand, and the idea of putting my artwork on stuff like coffee mugs, pillows and other household paraphernalia was born. 


At first, I was just putting my photos onto things, but then I started using other formats of art. The thing I did first was just quotes. I grabbed a famous person, looked up a bunch of quotes by them and did a cool arrangement using different typefaces, and then slapped it on the side of a coffee mug.  


I played with quotes, funny sayings and now, I'm using everything from puns and slightly sarcastic sayings to bible verses and other spiritual messages. I also do more traditional artwork (although all digital, on my iPad) from drawings, painting and simple vector drawings. 


I started with strictly coffee mugs and pillows, and I'm now more heavily into t-shirts. I also do journals, calendars and desk mats (like an oversized mousepad). 


I do still do prints, but they're a collection of my Bible.Grams, which originated when I wanted to do something a lot more faith-based. I was doing them as a meditation and them posting one-a-day on a new Instagram (@bible.grams) I had started. I don't do it as frequently anymore, but I fully intend on getting back to it. I still have to upload a lot of my older ones to the store.


My business has evolved quite a lot since it started, although it's been fully focused on selling my artwork from day one, now I'm a lot more flexible with how I do it. 


Everything on this website is my own original artwork, even if I pull the wording from other sources. 


Love and art,



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