At Home With Essie - A Family Print Shop
"I'm greatly inspired by nature and classic detailing, things of the past, old and used items that have a story to be told." - Essie (AFPS)
It's a Monday morning, you'll find Essie in the kitchen of her New Jersey home making breakfast, while classical music is chirping in the background. Once the bellies of her two littles are full it's time for school at home, story time, play time, nap time, and more play time.
A seemingly normal day in the Griffin household uniquely transitions in the evenings. In addition to homeschooling and homemaking, Essie operates her growing business, "A Family Print Shop".
We have dinner, play, baths, books, song, pray, and bed! Then work really starts for me. Most of my drawing and computer work happens at night until midnight, although I'm trying to stop by 11:00. During our busy seasons I have to work throughout the day while the kids are awake. I'm not as productive, but it's the only way I'll make my deadlines.
In 2012, I was a stay at home mom to a one year old and I thought it would be fun to have something on the side that I could do. I started an Etsy shop selling random homemade crafts and wall art, including custom silhouettes. I wanted to make one of my son (a paper cut version).
My husband said he could show me a cool way of designing silhouettes on the computer. He also suggested that I sell them, as they weren't common back then. I only sold for about 6 months and then decided it was too much; I was newly pregnant with our 2nd. Fast forward about 2 years and while my husband was in a major job transition, we both agreed I should try my hand at the business again since financially we were majorly struggling. I decided to only sell silhouette art and redesigned my offerings.
About a year after starting again I joined Instagram to promote my shop and I worked really hard to get my name out there naturally and through word of mouth. The rest is history!
I am still learning and I think that's important to note. Running a business is a continual learning experience. You will grow and get better at your craft as time goes on. You will find better ways to manage your time and work efficiently as long as you are striving for better, asking questions, and gleaning from those around you. Finding a community that can encourage you and help you to remember your priorities is also critical. Run your business as ethically as you can and do what is right.
I try to be friendly with all of my customers and I hope they realize that they aren't just a customer, but rather an important part of this business. What we are creating for them is something special and in return they are a special part of AFPS!
Running a business while also being a stay at home mom is hard! For me, running a business comes pretty natural. I could work 24/7 if I let myself because I love what I do. But I also feel the heavy weight of not wanting to sacrifice the blessing of raising children and being home with them. My goal was never to work full time, rather work part time here and there. At this point we have big decisions to make as to where to take this business. Thankfully my husband is capable of doing everything that I do (he taught me all I know). We are taking steps to have him come on board more and more; with his help I can get back to working more reasonable hours and focusing on my mama role.
I'm greatly inspired by nature and classic detailing. Things of the past. Old and used items that have a story to be told. I love that silhouette art is an old art form and bringing it back with modern & fresh, yet classic designs is really exciting!
I never expected to have grown to the point that we have as a business. I'm grateful. My dream is for us as a family to have time together each day, to not work our life away, but rather to live simply and love what we do. To do it together, while raising and teaching our children.