Boss Lady is a series by Social Stylate that shares personal insights from creative women in business. Meet Jamie Bartlett, graphic designer and blogger behind A Pair of Pears, a design blog written by Jamie and her husband, Jake. After graduation, they got married and moved out to sunny LA to start their life together. The blog shares clever DIY projects, tasty recipes, and recent work projects in graphic design and motion graphics.
You moved to LA right after graduation and started your design business. What was the process of gaining clients while just starting out, and how does it differ today?
At first my “clients” consisted mostly of my family and friends. I did a few wedding suites and little projects here and there. The first year or so was really me figuring out what I wanted to do. I became more serious about blogging, set up a little paper goods shop, bought a letterpress and played around on that. I was all over the place. Mostly because I love creating things and wanted to do it all. This past year I’ve tried to stay a little more focused and have really honed in on what I want A Pair of Pears to be. I still blog, own a paper goods shop and do custom design, but now it’s more focused on specific things. I only take design jobs I feel passionate and excited about and that fit within our style. I think that’s only fair for my clients. Now most of my clients come through our blog. They are either readers or find their way to our site through something of mine that has gotten pinned on Pinterest. I do however want to be better about approaching brands that I would love to work with instead of waiting for them to find me.
Working with your husband can have its pros and cons. You two complement each other perfectly. How do you make it work?
It’s so funny you say that. Before I met Jake I always told myself I would never want to marry another creative. I thought it wouldn’t be very fun to be doing the same things and we would probably just end up comparing and competing against each other. That sounds so silly now that I type that out. Anyway I’m so glad that’s not how it turned out. It is so great having a creative husband and business partner. I think it works so well because, yes, we are both creatives, but we have different areas of expertise. I design a lot of the stuff for our blog content and shop but I ALWAYS go to him for critique and get his opinion on the stuff I do. He is amazing at designing motion graphics and taking care of the tech side of our site. We also want to be intentional about working together. That’s why we started the His & Her Project on our blog. It’s something not for clients and just for us to be fun and creative together. For the project, I hand letter a phrase and then turn it over to Jake to animate. Then we finish it off by doing the sound design together. And of course sometimes we bump heads but usually that just pushes us to be better at what we do
Where do you look for inspiration and what has been your favorite project you’ve worked on so far?
One thing I like to do when I’m thinking of new products for the shop or just starting a project is turn on some good music, grab my notebook and sit on the couch for a while jotting down ideas or anything that comes to mind. It get’s my creative juices going. Pinterest is also a great resource. I’ve started using that as part of my design process with clients. It’s a good way to share inspiration and get a feel for what they are thinking.
My favorite project so far…hmm…I’d say our wedding suite. That’s the first project Jake and I really worked together on and our first venture into paper goods design. A few months after we had designed our wedding invites, I looked at them and told Jake I didn’t like them anymore. So the first design was thrown out and we started from scrap. Our second attempt was completely different and we loved how they turned out.
What is your most successful form of marketing?
To be honest, this is still something I’m figuring out. But what I’ve learned so far is that creating a community within your brand is one of the best ways to get yourself and your work out there. Interacting on Instagram and commenting on other people’s blogs is a great way to make connections. I’ve gotten to know some really great people. We have shared each other’s work and even business advice.