Big news :: closing up shop
In case you haven't heard the news from me elsewhere in the digital world, I wanted to let you know ...
I am closing down the digital illustration part of the Studio.
In reality, this part of the Studio has been on hiatus since the birth of my daughter. It was always my intention to bring it back. But whenever it came time to do so I kept finding other things to do. Has that ever happened to you with something in your life?
Of course, I didn't stop and think, "Man, why am I having such resistance to doing this?" No, that would have been sensible. I just kept procrastinating. And then feeling bad about procrastinating. So I procrastinated some more. And on and on.
But last month I had three ladies reach out to me to get prints of my illustrations. When the third lady reached out I figured that this was a sign to finally reopen the print shop. After all, we always hear signs come in threes. And her message to me was just so touching and inspiring. It reminded me of why I had started drawing my ladies to begin with and what I thought they could mean if I could diversify them enough to show beauty and commonalities amongst the vast range of women in the world.
For a hot second I thought that I was re-inspired to start back up again. Open the shop. Keep drawing the ladies and releasing new prints.
That feeling lasted about a day. And then I forgot to follow up with this amazing lady. And then another day went by and I forgot again. Except I don't think I was really forgetting. I think I was unknowingly resisting something that wasn't right for me.
A few days later I was driving home. I was alone in the car. The radio was off. Just silence all around. And out of nowhere I asked myself,
"Jessie, what if you just stopped doing illustrations and closed the print shop for good?"
And in that moment I knew that was exactly what I was going to do.
My ladies. The print shop carrying them. Those were never intentional creations on my part.
I started drawing and posting them online because I wanted some accountability to pick up something that I used to love to do but hadn't done in eight years. I picked ladies to draw because I've always loved portraiture. I picked digital illustration because it was something new and I wanted to give it a go. I chose my minimalist fashion style because I wasn't seeing it anywhere and thought I'd like it. And that's all the further thought I put into it.
Then once I started posting my illustrations on Instagram something magical happened: You all started supporting me and asking me to do more and wanting to buy them and ... and I was happy to oblige. In fact, I couldn't believe how much it was taking off. By all means, it was a success.
But when you don't pick your path, when you instead follow where others are leading you, you may find that you end up somewhere that's not meant for you.
And that's what I realized that day in the car.
I wouldn't trade the last couple of years for anything. I am unbelievably grateful for everything that's happened, for the opportunity to build out this aspect of my work, to have my illustrations hanging in homes and businesses around the world. I am unbelievably grateful for all of you who have supported this aspect of my work.
In all honesty, if anyone had ever told me I would be making and selling illustrations for a living, I would haven't believed them. Not because it was something I was uninterested in. No, it was something I don't think I would have ever believed I could do. Yet I did it. Thanks to all of you. And that's a remarkable thing.
So what's next?
The Studio itself isn't shutting down. There's still creative work happening, but it's coming from a new place. A new heart, if you will.
the main focus of this studio will be on helping women uncover and express their unique core style + visual identity.
More education. More understanding. More empowerment.
I know that this new focus might not be for you. Some of you are just here for the pretty illustrations. Others aren't really into the grounded, identity-driven style posts that have been popping up here. For some of you, if you're engaging with someone focused on style you just want outfit and decor inspiration photos á la Pinterest. Well, I'm not Pinterest. This isn't where you should come to find that.
This is for the woman who tries to build a wardrobe that fit their lifestyle, who hunts for the pieces that make their personal space a sanctuary.
This is for the woman who appreciates and even fangirls over good design and has a secret yearning to be more creative in her life.
This is for the woman who puts the time and attention into her style but always feels like she's searching to make it feel just right.
After having met enough of these women and helping them see their potential and ability to do the very thing for themselves that they so admire in others, I know the impact this work can have.
It's not about being social media perfect. It's about showing up as who you truly are.
It's not about just feeling confident. It's about feeling so truly in your skin that you don't even stop to think about what others might think.
It's not about getting that coveted look. It's not about a look at all. It's about you.
So, I have to make room for this work. I have to create space to build out opportunities and community for women who desire to move beyond personal style to core style. I believe in them. I know they have so much vision and heart and talent that is just waiting to come out. And I know that once it does come out, once they make that connection between who they are and how they can express that in a style that serves them, they show up in the world differently. They own their space and their voice and their beliefs in new and powerful ways.
You may be one of these women. My hunch is that if you've been following alongside me it is, at least in part, because of my style. And my illustrations were nothing but a visual articulation of what's possible when you truly know how to express a style. I doubt it was just the illustrations. And building out the ability in others to create such an impactful style is what comes next.