Becoming a creative entrepreneur.
Back when I first got this crazy idea to pursue a design career, I had zero experience and very little direction. I was, however, profoundly inspired by a commencement speech by the journalist Robert Krulwich, whose thesis was, essentially, "There are some people who don't wait." The idea was that if there was something you wanted to do, you didn't have to wait for gatekeepers to declare that you were good enough. You could just start. Right now.
That's how Quagorsky (formerly Euclid Street Shop), my online greeting card business, was born.
DEFINE THE QUESTION
How can I start doing something creative right away, without waiting for permission?
It all started with a sketchbook, a package of blank card stock, and an old Epson photo printer. From there, the shop was just an exercise of throwing things together and seeing what stuck—basically, one giant prototype. It cost 20 cents to list an item on Etsy, so the stakes were as low as they could get. If no one ever bought a card from me, it was cool. Here's the very first one I designed (which, in fact, very few people bought):
A few weeks later, something miraculous happened. Two—not just one, but two—people decided on the same day to give me money in exchange for cards. And just like that, I had my first sales.
I was pretty excited. Then I scrambled to learn about shipping. As the shop progressed, there would be a lot to learn on the fly, and not a few challenges...
...but 4,000 sales later, I knew more about illustration, photography, printing, paper, customer service, small business logistics, and USPS than I ever thought I could, just by running a humble Etsy shop.