Bookish Shop Feature: Emily Cromwell Designs

Happy Saturday! Today, I get to share one of my favorite shops I discovered through my friend Peggy on Instagram (@starryworld_). Emily Cromwell Designs (@emilycromwelldesigns) has the most adorable bright and beautiful shop! She carries bookmarks, magnets, coffee mugs, planners, keychains, and more! In awe of not only Emily’s shop but her overall presence on social media and how open and honest she is, I knew I wanted to learn more about Emily! Read our fill interview below to learn more about this wonderful soul and her ah-mazing designs!

1) What inspired you to create your small business, Emily Cromwell Designs?
Ever since I was a little girl I always was wanting to have my own business. When I was a young kid I would design a catalog of products I would make for people such as hand drawn bookmarks or handmade notepads, etc…I was always doing something crafty.

When I was a senior in high school at 17, I spent my free period reading books about running your own creative small business, exhibiting at craft shows, selling online, etc…it fascinated me to no end and I knew that was what I wanted to do. I got a business license that Fall and everything started from there!

2) What goals do you have for your business?
Oh gosh where do I begin!! I have small attainable goals and then I have large goals that I don’t know if they will ever happen, but still hope for! Some of the small ones include to continue to build my newly released monthly bookmark and sticker clubs, to release a new planner that I’m working on, and to launch a fun project I have in the works that currently only one other person knows about!

As far as my big goals, I’d love to have my own studio office space someday. Somewhere that isn’t in my home that I can drive to everyday to work. I envision it having an entire room just for shipping, a room for stickers and keychains and other fun things, a room for me to hang out in and draw in a comfy chair, and lastly a room with great lighting for product photography!

3) How long have you been drawing/illustrating?
Technically I’ve been drawing since I learned to talk. Even though I was just making lines on paper at that age, my parents told me I was always drawing on anything I could get my hands on.

4) Do you have any training in art and design or are you self-taught?
I took art class any chance I got during school. In middle school, our school was low on funding so they cut the art program and I signed up for afternoon weekly art lessons. Then in high school I took art class every year, and I went to college for Studio Art with a concentration in Illustration. However I am self-taught when it comes to illustrating digitally, they didn’t teach that at my college unfortunately.

5) What would you say are some of your biggest achievements?
I always say my biggest achievement was when I started my business at 17. I’m proud of my younger self for believing in me enough to do that.

Some other achievements include having my artwork sold on garden flags in both Wegmans and Lowe’s.

6) Who is someone that inspires you?
I’ve always been inspired by Vincent Van Gogh. I think I’ve always resonated with him and felt this connection to him because he struggled with a lot of mental health issues and people didn’t always believe in him, and I have gone through a lot of that as well. I have pretty bad anxiety and depression, and have dealt with many people that never thought I was good enough. I always looked up to him because no matter how bad of a day he had, he kept creating, even when he thought no one cared or liked his paintings, he just kept painting because it was what brought him joy. And that’s something that I can really resonate with and am so inspired by.

7) Do you have a favorite design currently in your shop?
Yes! It’s actually one of the first bookish stickers I ever drew, it’s my floral bibliophile one with the open book.

8) Your items are so bright and positive! What would you say is your favorite color? 
Aqua is my all time favorite color! Followed by pink. 🙂

9) A lot of your items are for lovers of romance – what is your favorite romance trope?
Enemies to lovers will forever be my all time favorite trope! I live for the angst in those books!

10) What are your top three favorite reads right now?
Oh man talk about a tough question!!
Hmmm, okay so my absolute top 3 favorites right now are A Court of Mist and Fury, Rhapsodic, and A Court of Silver Flames.

11) Can you tell readers more about the Mitty Kitty Collection and what it means to you?
Yes absolutely! This collection is near and dear to my heart and is the most special thing I’ve ever done in my business. My cat, Misty, passed away on January 3rd of this year, and it is the hardest loss I have ever had to go through. I adopted her when she was a little 8 week old kitten when I was 10 years old, and we were together for all of her 16 years. We grew up together, and we were truly each other’s soulmates, I’ve never had a connection with another cat like I did with her, and I’m not sure I will again. We just got each other on a whole other level. A huge part of me left with her when she passed away, and I try and not talk about it all the time on social media because I don’t want to bring anyone down, but I’ve been struggling pretty badly behind the scenes and I haven’t been coping well with her loss. I started this collection in honor of her, to help keep her memory alive and also for me to feel closer to her by being able to draw her and bring to life her personality through art.

She passed away after a long fight with chronic kidney failure, and I wanted to also make this collection impactful, so a portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to the Foundation for Feline Renal Failure to help find a cure for this disease in cats, as currently there is none.

I’ve had to watch my sweet kitty waste away the past year and there was nothing I could do beyond changing her food and giving her medicine to put off the inevitable. It took a toll on me mentally and then with losing her so suddenly. It’s something that’s going to take me a very long time to cope with, but it’s my hope that with this collection it will feel like I’m just a little bit closer to her again.

12) Can you give readers any “sneaks” for future items yet to be released, such as possible themes for the Monthly Bookmark and Sticker Clubs this year? 
So I won’t say which month will be which theme…however a few of the themes I’m working on are elegant botanicals, whimsical animals, and bookstagrammer life. 🙂

13) As a person who struggles with anxiety and depression myself, I love your motivational stickers and your openness about mental health. What advice would you offer someone dealing with anxiety?
My biggest piece of advice is to talk to someone, whether it be a friend, a family member or a counselor. Keeping it all inside, at least in my own experience, seems to make my anxiety worse when I’m going through a really hard time…or even if you just want to write out your worries on a piece of paper, that helps with getting it out. A lot of times when you do that, you’ll feel like at least a little weight has been lifted off your shoulders and you might realize your worries are more irrational than you initially thought. A thought is just a thought, and just because you think it, it doesn’t make it true. My heart goes out to anyone currently struggling with anxiety, I know how debilitating it can be. My DMs are always open if you need a friend to listen!

14) What is the most rewarding thing about running your own small business?  
I’d have to say the most rewarding thing would be seeing how happy and overjoyed people are when they open up a package from you or use your product…that feeling never gets old and I don’t think it ever will, it truly makes me so happy and feel like I’m doing something right.

15) What advice would you give someone who wants to open up their own small business? 
I say go for it!! Start by getting a business license and all of your tax things together so you get the tough stuff out of the way, and then get into the fun part of designing products, setting up your shop and social media accounts. The biggest piece of advice I have would be to not compare yourself to others, don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and building a business takes a lot of time and effort, but it will be worth it if you keep at it.

16) Tell us a little about you, the heart and soul of Emily Cromwell Designs (ie. what do you do when you aren’t working? What three words best describe you? What’s your favorite song/movie/animal/etc. — anything you want to share with readers). 
What is this “not working” you speak of?? Haha, just kidding! Kind of 🙂 When I’m not working, more often than not you’ll find me in my reading chair reading a book or drawing. I’m a big homebody so I don’t really like to go out much, but when I do I like to go on drives just to enjoy the scenery as well as day trips!

The three words to best describe me would be creative, strong, and resilient

My favorite animal is a cat, my favorite movie is Interstellar, and my favorite song is Circles by Post Malone.

I just want to say thank you to anyone and everyone that supports me and my business, it truly means the world to me to have people actually interested in my products and to have such a supportive community at that. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d make it to where I’m at today, and I will never not be humbled by the amazing group of friends and supporters I’ve met along the way. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You can check out Emily’s website here and her Etsy page here! Also, be sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook!

Published by Kayla E. Green

Kayla E. Green is a school librarian, speculative fiction author, and poet. When she isn’t writing, reading, or going on adventures with her husband, she loves singing loudly and off-key to KLove Radio, snuggling her dogs, and pretending she’s a unicorn. Her award-winning YA fantasy novella, Aivan: The One Truth, and her inspirational poetry collection, Metamorphosis, are now available through book retailers. Kayla also has stories and poems featured in various anthologies. Follow The Unicorn Writer's blog for book reviews, author interviews, writing advice, and more bookish fun!

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