Every small business owner knows that running a single-person operation has its fair share of challenges - especially when it comes to fulfilling your own orders! There are only so many hours in a day, and business owners frequently find themselves counting on every single one to finish their to-do lists.
Illustrator Cheyenne Barton found immediate success with her Etsy store in 2017 - and also discovered the difficulties of managing both her brand image and the logistics of a growing business. Cheyenne tells us how noissue custom tissue paper allowed her to give her customers a memorable, personalized experience without an impossible time investment.
(In Cheyenne’s own words):
“My name is Cheyenne! I'm a Houston native who moved up to Seattle in the spring of 2017 (and yes, partially because I really do love the rain), and I'm a freelance illustrator/actor! I started seriously pursuing illustration about 3 years ago — I had just graduated college with a BFA in Acting, and I was at a crossroads with my acting career. I had been toying around with the idea of starting up a sticker shop after my bullet journal spreads became very popular on Tumblr and Instagram. I also knew that being self-employed would give me total freedom in pursuing any and all acting endeavors I wished, which was a huge reason for my starting an online store.”
“After living in Seattle for a few months, and as my time at my summer ice cream job came to a close, I figured there was no better time! Once I opened up my Etsy shop in October 2017, I quickly realized that I wanted to do more than just stickers (though I obviously still love designing stickers) and have since been practicing with a focused effort to improve the quality and range of my work.”
“I love making art that makes people feel warm, cozy, and happy! Life is hard and bad sometimes (and, occasionally, a lot of the time), and I like making work that lets people know that they're not alone and it will be okay, even if just for a bit. It's all about the little things.”
“I think one of my biggest challenges is time-management. The first week my shop was open, I was floored with way more orders than I expected, and I packed from 9am to 4am pretty much every day for a week. I was hand-writing my addresses, adding in individual thank you notes to every order — it was thoughtful, but it was so much work and not sustainable at all, as I was (and still am) a one-person operation.”
“I have since greatly streamlined my packing process, and how I manage and handle different shop tasks, but I still get rather overwhelmed. I think I may need to hire my first employee in the new year, which is very exciting!!”
“Sustainability is a HUGE deal for me — I'm determined to minimize my footprint in any way possible. I use recycled mailers that are made with wind power; my shipping labels have a recyclable lining and adhesive, making them zero-waste; I pack orders in glassine envelopes instead of plastic sleeves (even commercially compostable plastic sleeves have a weird rep, so I stopped using them to save myself and my customers the headache); my business cards are cotton, made from factory scraps! And of course, my brilliant custom tissue paper from noissue. I have a little section on my thank you card that tells folks to recycle/reuse everything in their package, aside from the empty sticker sheets. Since the stickers I sell are not recyclable/made from recycled materials, it's important for me to offset that waste in any way I can.”
“I felt like my packaging game was a bit weak (I used to use plain kraft paper and twine to tie up every package), and also took ages. I used to handwrite thank you notes to include in each order, and after a few months, I realized that I needed to hone my packing process.”
“I had seen other small online shops using custom tissue paper from noissue — I thought it would be a great way to make my orders feel more special and unique, and also cut down on packing time! Once I started using custom sealing stickers as well (and replaced my handwritten thank you notes with pre-printed ones), my packing process really streamlined and I was able to get through orders much faster without losing any of that "special" factor.”
“I like doing repeating patterns on my tissue, and this time I filled it with things I love to draw! I really enjoy drawing tiny cute things: mushrooms, tea, florals, cake...I feel like it's a very clear communication of my brand. The process was super simple! Though I did spend a long time switching between very nuanced shades of yellow, but that's definitely a ‘me’ problem. ;-)
“I had seen loads of other folks on Instagram using noissue tissue paper, and they aligned perfectly with all my values: committed to sustainability, great brand design and UI, and a world of options for customization! noissue has been a huge asset to my shop. It makes every order feel so special (and look so good!!), and really brings my brand together in a way that feels friendly and professional. My customers love it too, and often reuse it in journal spreads or different DIY projects. I love knowing that every part of the orders I send out brings joy to my customers — at the end of the day, I just want to make people happy.”