Meet the Maker: Amy Zhang, Illustrator Extraordinaire
Meet Amy Zhang, owner of her eponymous Denver-based illustration studio specializing in pretty, witty greetings and gifts. Amy's gorgeous and unique illustrations caught our eye and ever since her Self Care Card Deck has been a client favorite. It is simply a perfect addition to any Le Wren care package. Get to know more about Amy below!
When did your love of illustrations begin? How did you get into illustration?
I am actually a self-taught illustrator! Creativity has always been a huge part of my life — from music to fashion to writing — and I have a degree in graphic design, but illustration was something that I turned to after I graduated and was craving a creative outlet. I dedicated a full year to painting one small illustration every day in order to improve my skills, and I'm so proud to see how far I've come since then.
What drove you to start your own studio?
I've always loved greeting cards. Growing up, I beelined it to the card section of every gift shop, I kept up-to-date with stationery blogs (yep, that's a thing!), and I even had a running list of punny phrases that I thought would make for cute cards — long before I ever thought I'd start my own business. After working in graphic design for a couple years after graduating, my desire to create my own art and products kept getting stronger. I would read about other artists and designers and wish that I could do what they were doing — and one day, I found myself thinking "why not me?"
What has been the most rewarding part of having your own business?
It is so cool to look back and see how far I've come in the last few years — and I don't think I've experienced a more rewarding feeling than knowing that I created something that I'm passionate about, and that my customers love as well. I don't think it's possible to love every tiny aspect of any job, but I truly feel like I'm as close as you can get to that with the business!
What have been some of the greatest challenges?
Getting started! It is by far the hardest part. Even when you believe in your idea and your business, it takes so much time and effort and energy to figure out the fundamentals, lay the foundation, and overcome the self-doubt that inevitably shows up. But having a plan and a vision for the future has really helped me push through the difficult parts, even when I feel discouraged — just have to take it one step at a time!
How do you want your clients to feel when they see one of your cards or stationery gifts?
More than anything, I want them to feel seen. When I create my cards, I'm rarely designing for a specific occasion — I aim to design for specific people instead. The mom who loves gardening. The work wife who can quote every episode of Friends. The significant other who's really into yoga. When my customers see my cards, I want them to immediately think of that person, to find THE perfect card, and for that recipient to feel even more connected because their loved one knows them so well.
What are you looking forward to in the coming year?
So much! I've found myself becoming more and more confident in myself as a business owner, and in the business itself as time goes on. I feel like I've really honed in on the voice and the mission, and I can't wait to keep growing. Our Self Care Card Deck is one of my all-time favorite designs, and I'm definitely looking to create even more products that celebrate self-care and self-love.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I'm an early riser, so I'm usually in the studio by 6:30-7am. I love how calm and quiet it feels during those hours, and I'm definitely at my most productive in the mornings. Because of this, I generally start with my biggest or most time-consuming tasks — these days, that means packaging orders for brick-and-mortar stores, online boutiques, and my retail customers, although I do try to reserve one or two days a week for creative work like painting and designing new products!
What are your favorite ways to practice self-care?
In all honesty, I'm not nearly as consistent with self-care as I'd like to be! But when I do find me-time, I'm all for going for a walk to get my body moving and for a dose of fresh air — it really does wonders for clearing my mind and resetting my mood. I also love curling up with a book when I can, preferably with a fresh cup of coffee!
Shop Amy's Self Care Card Deck here and follow her journey on IG @shopamyzhang!