As this is my first blog post, I think it’s only fitting to introduce you to the community that started this chapter for me, and that is TheIVYbrand.
(But before that, I’ll give you some brief background on how I got started with illustration & design work). Around 3 ish years ago I was in university doing a completely unrelated degree, and I started taking on commissions for the rare few people (and it was rare) that requested work. I have ZERO formal qualifications in this field, and had no idea where to start. I made the designs that I wanted do in whatever free time I had, but at this point never did I consider it realistic for me to pursue design work full time. I became stuck in a rut of really wanting this to work, but not having the “business” knowledge or belief in my abilities to make it happen.
Then, just over a year ago I was introduced to Steve (The founder of TheIVYbrand). IVY is a lifestyle brand based in Minneapolis, and focuses on creating community and promoting adventure in the everyday. It’s a space to connect people all over the world through mutual values.
The story of Steve and I’s friendship is mad! (I’ll maybe tell it another time!) But I feel so fortunate to know such a generous and supportive man who believed in me even when he had absolutely no obligation to. He trusted me to design a couple of his tattoos, and even to paint custom IVY longboards! (Which is soo fun to do!)
(An IVY longboard that I painted for Shawn Mendes! Crazy!!)
From there, I got introduced to so many creatives and made so many life-long friends who I continue to learn from and encourage me to be better. It’s really not common for people where I’m from (a small coastal village in South Wales) to be in a creative industry in this capacity, so to finally connect with a bunch of designers, photographers, videographers, writers and musicians has been the best feeling, and I’ve never felt more welcome and at home!
Because of these amazing people, I decided to make a leap into full time design work. For the first time it didn’t feel completely out of reach for me and so I jumped in. whilst admittedly it is scary going all in on the unknown, I’m excited to see what’s ahead! The unknown is exciting for a change!
I guess the point I want to make with this post, is that who you are surrounded by is SO SO important! If you already have those people in your life, or manage to find those people (and I hope you do), it is surprising how your perspective changes about what you consider to be possible. Thank you Minneapolis family for being those people to me! ( If you ever read this, you know who you are!)