How I got started with design


I’ve always been interested in “art” from the moment I was little. I loved to draw, loved to paint. For a while I even loved to scrapbook (imagine like $5000.00 worth of products).

I drew a lot when I was little. I drew everything. I would print out a picture, sketch it out, and then make it look pretty damn close to the original. Here are some photos of a few images that are back from my “emo” stage, you know back when that was cool too? Ps. that picture below was suppose to be David Beckham - It was one of my art projects in my high school art class.

How I got started with design, and ended up starting my own company -- Melanie Craft & Company.

I grew incredibly fascinated with graffiti and started drawing that way and even went as far as creating my own form of graffiti art. I even painted it on my walls. Sorry mom and dad. I know y’all weren’t a fan of that!

All this to say, art was always there. Art was a way to express myself without really having to say anything to anyone (of course until they asked about it). It was the look, the feels and everything tying it together that created something beautiful and unique.

Not long after, I ventured in a new direction and started playing around with site/blog design. It was back when I was in middle school - You know, back when having your own “xanga” blog or “piczo” website was a cool thing. I remember designing these sites with the most basic html and css knowledge. Changing out the background image, changing the font settings, etc.

It was so cool, and people loved the templates I created for them, and they always gave me feedback on what I should create next through a comment or by signing my “book”.

But then high school came around, and it was no longer cool to have sites like these, it was time for me to work and find out what I wanted to do with my life. I was often told that I could not make a living by drawing or painting or playing with computers. I couldn’t become that famous soccer star I wish I could be. I was told I would need to make a career by doing something that is in demand. I would need to choose something in a health field, or a desk job working for the government. I’ve thought about going to school as a paralegal, and working in the criminal field. 

For a while during college, I felt lost. I felt like I didn’t know what I wanted to branch myself into. I went to school doing several different things, but nothing ever felt just right.

After I moved to the States from Canada, and after I married my husband, I had a lot of time on my hands. I had been waiting on my immigration paperwork to finish, I decided to set up some social media accounts: first it was Twitter. That’s where I found Kory Woodard and ByRegina. Two of the most fascinating creatives and business owners I knew.

Kory, was one I followed closely.  I loved that she was a designer and made a living off building websites and showing off some of her design work through her blog. I felt like a lot of the posts she shared, no matter how personal it was, I could really relate to her and her designs.

It was that moment when I knew that I could do something in the art field. I could do anything. And as weird as it sounds, she was the one who gave me hope to start my own design business. It would be a way to show off some of the different things I could create - All while making money doing something I’ve always loved to do.

Instead of jumping right into business, I knew I would have to learn a lot of the CSS and HTML basics all over again. I knew I would have to learn all about running a business, and I knew I couldn’t officially start anything until I was legal and had a social security number in the states. The last thing I wanted is to get into any kind of trouble like that.

A year later, Kory created a mastermind group that I ended up being invited into. I loved the creatives and business ladies included in this group. Each of them, I could really relate to and learn from. This mastermind group is what helped me REALLY grow my business, learn more about coding and really learn from what they've tried and didn't.

Fast forward to last year, when my immigration paperwork had finally been finalized and I was able to work, I decided that it was right to work full time at a law office as a legal assistant, while I get started with my design business. I had already been set up using Squarespace and learning so much about the platform. A lot of these things I've learned, I've shared with you through my blog.

After I had learned a lot about the platform, and what you are truly capable of achieving with your design, I decided to take on a few design clients for FREE! Yup you read that right! I designed websites for free to really learn more about the looks you could achieve and learning about style and business.

By June last year, I had decided to officially launch my business as a Squarespace designer only.

Throughout the rest of the year, I really learned what my design style was and who I really enjoyed working with. I learned a lot about Illustrator and decided to expand my business to include branding design. I worked with one really amazing photographer to create her logo design. One I had really fallen in love with!

So far this year, I've had the opportunity to work with 4 different clients and continue to work with a few more on their brand and website design.

I now offer packages for any small business owner, photographer, boutique and more. I loved learning a lot about the design and pushing myself to new limits. I've gained a lot of knowledge in design and branding with the help of some amazing business besties, Kory, Krista and Fran, and with the love and support from my family. Without them, I could have made this dream a reality.

Thinking about all the possibilities in the future excites me so so much. My ultimate goal is definitely to grow my team, expand my services (SEO and maybe a cool workshop?). I also have big big dreams of having the office I've always dreamed to have where my entire team can work at and where we'll be able to host some pretty neat events.

I wanna learn about you! Tell me how you got started with your company in the comments below!