OMG my art was in the Jilly Box!
I don’t know how to start this blog other than by saying that working with Team Jilly and creating a custom product for the Jilly Box was literally a dream come true. I’m so damn proud and grateful for this opportunity so I thought I would pull back the curtain and talk about how it all happened. Maybe it will inspire you to go after a dream that YOU have for your business, or maybe you’re just curious to know how a small biz like mine pulled off such a big project (in the middle of a global pandemic).
Most Canadian women know of Jillian Harris, or have at least heard of her. She’s touched our lives by way of TV shows, charity initiatives, social media influence, you name it. I’ve looked up to her since her days as the host of Love It Or List It Vancouver, she has such a cute style and infectious energy. When her social media traction picked up she chose to use her voice to support small businesses, to spread awareness about the environment, and to give back to her community… all while giving home decor and fashion advice for the average joe like me.
It started last summer when I had the insane honour of working with Vintage Origami Events on the Mama’s for Mama’s charity lunch. Every year Jillian hosts an auction lunch to raise money for less fortunate families. I had the pleasure of designing the stationery for the event and as a thank you I sent the whole team watercolour paintings. Somehow they ended up in Jill’s IG stories which basically changed my business overnight.
Then, later in the fall (on my birthday of all days), I received an email from Jill about whether or not it would be possible to produce ten freaking thousand watercolour prints to potentially include in the Jilly Box. To say I lost my mind would be an understatement. I called my mom right away, she asked ‘well are you gonna do it??’ … I said ‘HELL YES!’.
So how did it all go down? Once I confirmed with Team Jilly that it was possible on my end, we went straight to work. Throughout the winter months we did the paperwork and talked about styles, sizes, and timelines. Pretty early in the process Jill came up with the idea of doing 5 different prints (one per box) so it was a surprise as to which one the subscriber got. I loved this idea and in February I ended up painting 11 different options for them to choose from, check out the original drafts below.
Around mid-March when everything was coming together, the World Health Organization declared the global pandemic and panic started to set in. I was so worried my print and packaging suppliers weren’t going to be able to provide the materials I needed, not to mention social distancing wouldn’t allow for my assembly team to help. Luck was on my side because the prints were finished literally the day before the print shop had to close their doors. I was able to pick them up and made a plan B for assembly (thank god for my family!!). For the next 7 days I set up shop in my parents house under full quarantine. We worked non stop to assemble 10,000 prints (number every single print by hand, fold the card stock sleeve, insert the print into the sleeve, secure the sleeve with a sticker). You really get to know someone when you spend 7 days sitting across the table from them lol. I’m so grateful for that time with my parents, they helped me so much and I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without them. My dad got a GoPro for Christmas last year and he loves it so much, he had it out the whole time and got lots of funny footage. I wanted to do something with it so I put a little video together of the whole process and uploaded it to YouTube. Check it out for a laugh:
The next thing I knew my prints were on a transport truck heading to BC. Between late March and early June no one really knew what was going on thanks to coronavirus. One of the products in the box was manufactured in Italy and for obvious reasons it was majorly delayed. Finally things started looking up and shipping from Locality began! People started tagging me in unboxing videos on IG and I lost my mind for the 47105609th time this year. It was so so so fun and rewarding to watch people get excited about opening my work, tag after tag rolled in and I got just as excited every time. I loved seeing how everyone styled and framed their prints, and eventually we released the prints to the general public through the Jilly Box Market so everyone could purchase them. On July 3 I took over the Jilly Box IG stories so people could get to know me, and my ‘meet the creator’ video was posted on their feed. Watch it here in case you missed it.
As the Summer 2020 Jilly Box season comes to a close I’ve been reflecting on the experience in general. I’m so grateful and happy to have been a part of it. It has been a wild success for my little business and I truly believe this summer would have been incredibly difficult (thanks to Covid-19) if Team Jilly didn’t come along. I would love for other small Canadian businesses to get a taste of how this feels so I’ll do my best to pay it forward.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart if you’ve purchased something from me as a result of my participation in the Jilly Box, I’m so glad you’re following along, your support truly means the world to me. And of course thank you to Team Jilly for making one of my business dreams come true, no matter what happens down the line this will be a highlight of my career. Lots of love!