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Community Spotlight: Brandi Fitzgerald

Published 17th April, by Tom. | 24 comments.

Today we’re really excited to share a brand new feature with you guys. We’re starting a Community Spotlight series, to recognise top members of the Design Cuts community.

We’re continually amazed by the talent in our community, and we wanted to share some of these outstanding creative individuals with you.

Today’s first community spotlight is Brandi Fitzgerald

Meet Brandi

Brandi has been with us from right at the beginning, and her support and kind feedback really motivated us in the early days. She has consistently been using products from our deals to produce incredible works, ranging from canvas prints, to pillow case designs, promotional goods and much more! She’s a shining example of a hard-working designer who has turned her passion from a hobby into a thriving business.

These lovely designs (below) feature backgrounds, textures and flourishes from multiple Design Cuts deals.

Chatting With Brandi

We wanted you guys to get to know Brandi better, and hope that her story inspires your own creative work.

DESIGN CUTS: How did you get started in the creative field? I know your background is in corporate finance, so that’s quite a jump!

BRANDI: Let me be honest with you, Design Cuts community, everything in my life possesses it’s own sort of creativity and I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was in elementary school. I grew up in Florida and we had an olive tree in our front yard with really awesome, thick leaves.  Somehow, a friend and I realized that if we wrote our names backwards on one side of the leaf, it would read darker on the otherside and we quickly made a sign and set up a sales table in the driveway. We made $.50.

Fast forward a couple of decades,  I met the love of my life, quit my corporate job and decided to shape my love of photography into a career. I took my first paid photography job in 2010 and opened my Etsy Shop in 2011. I’d like to say the rest is history, but you and I both know that being in the creative field and being self employed is always a work in progress, not history in the dust.

Do I miss my cubicle, um, absolutely not. I work in my PJ’s most days!

DESIGN CUTS: How do you find your design inspiration?

BRANDI: I tend to find design inspiration in the wants that other people express. In colors, in shapes and other visual arts. It is a running joke between my friends that I am apt to find art in most anything…I’ve yet to be inspired by a dirty public restroom but I’ll keep looking.

DESIGN CUTS: You’ve worked with some notable clients, including Bed Bath and Beyond, TJ Maxx and HomeGoods and Marshall’s to name a few. Could you give some insight as to how you were able to move into working successfully as a creative?

BRANDI: I have been successful, thus far, in my creative business because I have worked hard to turn my ambition into thousands of designs. I am very active in the Etsy community and because I am prolific in my design abilities I have a little bit of something to offer every one. In the spring of 2012 a licensing and publishing agency reached out to me after seeing my work on Etsy and they now represent my work to thousands of retailers all over the world. Regardless of all that, I am confident that the reason for my success is that I am not afraid to fail. 

A reference to my favorite quote would be appropriate for any artist out there aspiring to make a name for themselves

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

(Quote by By Ira Glass)

DESIGN CUTS: If you had to share your top 5 design tips for the Design Cuts community, what would they be?

BRANDI:

1. Design a lot.
2. Check your fear at the door. Not everyone is going to like everything you make and that is okay.
3. Find a niche without pigeon holing yourself into that style of design being your only honed skill.
4. Watermark your images. I know this is often a taboo subject with designers and people viewing your work. In this day and age with social media being the visual powerhouse it is, if just one person sees and likes your work – you want them to be able to find you.
5. Take advantage of EVERY single Design Cuts deal – you never know when you’re going to need it! (Note from the DC Team: I promise we didn’t tell Brandi to say that!)

Where to Find Brandi on the Web

Thanks so much to Brandi for chatting with us today! We definitely recommend checking out her design work. You can find her at her various online hangouts:

Brandi’s Etsy Store

Brandi’s Tumblr

Brandi’s Facebook Page

Tom is one of the founders here at Design Cuts. Like the rest of the team, he's a massive design geek, and loves nothing more than connecting with our awesome community :).

Please Share:

24 Lovely Comments from our Community:

  1. Darn it, I came on here to buy the bundle and I missed it! I thought it was ending at midnight. I’m just sick over missing it. I’m really enjoying my first bundle I purchased.

    Loved this article about Brandi! So nice to hear the success stories of others. I look forward to reading more.

    Great site and community you guys (and gals) have put together.

    • Carol Sweeney says:

      Hey Teresa,

      Thanks for the comment and glad you enjoyed the article!

      Did you miss out on our previous bundle- The Beautifully Artistic Designers Kit? I have sent you an email about this which should help you out 🙂

  2. Patricia Brett says:
    Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars

    This is a great article, Brandi! Thanks for sharing your thoughts & good advice with us. And I see you’re a fellow Etsian! 😀 So, we’re in the same neighborhood, so to speak!

  3. WOW Brandi & Design Cuts:

    This interview was truly a gift … It helped reignite my own passion. I am between two niches… and had some definite ideas, but had a bit of a lag getting started.

    What I’ve learned is that everything does not have to be perfect (to start with) in order to make it unique and attractive.

    We spend so much time making perfect photos and images look old and vintage, with this in mind, if a photo is not quite perfect to start with, who cares, your own uniqueness can turn it into a work of art anyway!

    BTW, The Shower Curtain ~The boots seem to be jumping off the shelves! EXCELLENT work!

    I had wondered how to use the text backgrounds. THANK YOU so much for a peak inside!

    Roz Fruchtman

    • Tom Ross says:

      Aw thanks Roz, we couldn’t ask for more than for this post to ignite passion in you guys, so that’s awesome :).

      There are some great lessons here, and Brandi’s dedicated and effort really show. And we LOVE the shower curtain design too!

  4. Justin Greene says:

    Nice article and advice! Showing examples of Brandi’s work definitely shows where you can go if you put your skills to use.

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks Justin :). We love how varied Brandi’s work is, it goes far beyond just digital compositions. It’s so great that her work is in big stores!

  5. Thanks for all the kind words folks! Im so thrilled to be a part of the DC community and flattered that you’ve taken the time to check out my work. Create. Create. Create. Enjoy your week!

    • Tom Ross says:

      Amen Brandi! 🙂 Great to chat with you, and thank you for sharing your inspiration and wisdom with the rest of the community.

  6. marty@martytoons.com says:

    Great interview, full of fantastic insight and encouragement. Looking forward to reading more in the future.

    Marty

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks so much Marty, we’re so glad you’re feeling encouraged by Brandi’s story. We’ll definitely be posting spotlights on other key community features in the future.

  7. Su Hall says:

    Hello, Brandi!

    You make beautiful things! I appreciate your advice and comments! I feel I am still finding my niche. I see and try different things, but, depending on the item, either, I can’t do it as well, or, that market is saturated with that particular item. While learning Photoshop, I hooked up with the digital scrapbooking community. I would give away my practice goodies as freebies on my blog. None of it was that good. So, though I had fun and I did learn a lot, and met some really wonderful people, I still need to find something that I am better at and enjoy most.
    Thank you for the insight!

    Su

    • Tom Ross says:

      Hey Su, I do think it takes a lot of time to really find your feet in any niche. Your scrapbooking freebies have always been awesome though. They may not get a ton of comments, but it takes time to build up an audience. Honestly, I’ve always been a huge fan of your work, so I think you should keep at it :).

  8. Janet says:

    Great article and spot on quote about leaving your fear at the door!

    • Tom Ross says:

      I LOVE that quote Janet, it’s so perfect for any creative person. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  9. Eden Wells says:

    Thanks Brandi. Very inspiring!

  10. Julie Denning says:

    Thank you for sharing. It is always exciting to hear a success story!
    It is motivational!
    Julie

    • Tom Ross says:

      We hoped Brandi’s story would motivate the wider DC community. Thanks so much for the support Julie!

  11. A very inspirational and interesting interview. Congratulations on your well-deserved success, Brandi!

  12. Jordan Blackstone says:

    What a great feature! And Brandi thank you for sharing your insight and knowledge!!

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