Editor’s note: I invited Rajshel of Jane Hancock Papers to share her story when she reached out to tell me about her Kickstarter project and her beautiful work. Whenever possible I ask makers to tell us their stories from the heart so we can learn, share, and connect with them, I am always so happy when I am taken up on the offer! Rajshel’s passion to build her business and do the work that she loves shines through-in her words and her lovely handmade designs. I am happy to contribute $25 to her Kickstarter project in exchange for helping her reach her goal of taking her designs to NSS this year + some handmade goodies too! Read on to learn about her story & how you can support her business goals too!
I never planned on being a stay-at-home mom. When I graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta with my BFA in graphic design, I was so excited. I’m one of the first people in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree. I was ready to work, but after three years as the assistant creative director of a local lifestyle magazine, I found myself laid off and just two weeks from my due date. I knew hitting the pavement and looking for another full-time job would have to wait.
Shortly after giving birth to my son, I started working as a dispatcher for my husband’s towing company, which allowed me to work from home and spend more time with my two children. That was nice, but I was ready to be creative again. The year prior, I had launched Jane Hancock Papers, my own line of whimsical paper products. I had taken several printmaking courses focusing on letterpress and screen-printing and used those printing techniques when producing my product creating notebooks, note cards, bookmarks, coasters and more. Each item had a modern yet funky style to it. I enjoy pairing colors and design elements that were a little off the beaten path, but alas this had become more of a hobby.
When my son turned a year old, I decided to put all of my efforts into the business and make it successful. I participated in 17 different craft shows and put more designs for sale on Etsy. My sales went up, but not at the level I wanted it to be. I went back to the drawing board and worked on my marketing. I had my product photographed by a great lady I met through Twitter, put together a catalog, and hit the streets for wholesale accounts. I saw some success, and by the end of the year, some of my designs had been featured in books, blogs and magazines. I felt accomplished when I received my first two wholesale orders and was hungry for more.
In the back of my head, I always knew that I had to get my work displayed at the National Stationery Show (NSS) in New York City. That’s where all the buyers come to check out the latest and greatest, and if I’m going to build a stationery empire, I need to attend. The NSS is no easy feat, however; the booth cost alone is almost $2,000. I needed some help.
On Feb. 20, I launched my Kickstarter campaign hoping to raise at least $7,000 in just 34 days. As I write this, I still need to raise $5,700. While this may seem impossible, I feel confident knowing that pledges add up like drops of water in a bucket. Kickstarter uses an all or nothing funding system, so if I don’t raise the full amount, the backers keep their money. That being said, if just 230 more people pledge $25, I’ll reach my goal. The cool thing about Kickstarter is that you’re not just handing over your hard-earned money with nothing in return. I have set up several different reward levels from a 5×7 wall print to a tote bag, an entire stationery starter kit or your own custom letterpress business cards. I hope you will all take a moment to look over my campaign, help spread the word and maybe even make a pledge. No amount goes unappreciated. Pledge a dollar and I’ll still give you a shout out on twitter and add your name to a plaque that will hang in my NSS booth.
Click here or on the image below to visit Rajshel’s Kickstarter campaign & help her reach her business goals-the campaign ends this Saturday, we can do it!