My love for painting and lettering began in 2008, while doing some projects around the house. It quickly became a hobby, as I found it extremely relaxing and calming. In 2014, I started painting a little more and had a few co-workers ask me to make something for them. I did, and to my surprise, others began to ask me to make things for them. I began to make and sell more and more. In July of 2014, I decided to create a Facebook page for my little ‘side hobby’. I did this, mostly, because I didn’t want to annoy my friends with the constant posts about my specific interest. I had to have a name for the page and my co-worker, Julie, suggested the name The Canvas Sign. Since all my projects were on canvas, it seemed fitting. And so The Canvas Sign was created.
A month later, my neighbors were in the process of getting a new fence. I remember springing up out of bed at 6am one morning thinking, “I should have them save some fence panels for me!”. Now remember, this was fall of 2014 and ‘pallet signs’ were all the rage. My back yard was now filled with perfectly aged fence wood, that would make the cutest signs. I had so many plans and ideas and could not wait to get started. I needed some tools to put these projects into motion. I headed up to the local Wal-Mart. Yep, Wal-Mart. Not the best place to buy power tools, but I was a single mom at the time and on a budget. I remember so vividly, standing in that tool section of Wal-Mart, thinking to myself, “What am I doing? I shouldn’t be spending my money on all this stuff!”. Feeling guilty about spending a $100 on a jig saw, hand sander and a drill, I tossed them in my cart anyway and went for it. It was gonna be ok! As it turns out, that was the best $100 I have ever spent!
With my new tools in hand, I started creating even more signs and selling them just as quickly as I could make them. Thankfully, I worked with about 25 women, who were so gracious to keep ordering things from me. The more I made, the more I posted and the more I sold. Soon after, one of my co-worker’s ordered a wooden door hanger on Etsy. It was at that point that I had to create a door hanger of my own. I was in love. It was now September/October of 2014 and my first door hanger was created. A pumpkin. These began selling like crazy. Next was a Christmas Tree Door Hanger and an Ornament Door Hanger. With the dawn of the Paint and Sip businesses on the rise, I couldn’t help but think, my signs would be so much better to paint and so much more useful. I mean, who needs multiple random canvas signs of trees or wine glasses hanging up around their house? Right? Since I didn’t have a brick and mortar shop, I would need to do these in the homes of my customers. Which, I thought was way better for the customer anyway. After discussing it with a few friends and customers, I just decided to go for it. I put a post on Facebook, asking if anyone was interested in doing an in-home paint party (as I called it) and I got a booking! November 16, 2014 was my first party in Wylie, Texas. I loaded up my car and off I went. I didn’t even have stencils for my customers to use. I also didn’t know that most of them couldn’t draw a circle or paint words on their signs?! Naturally, I said, “I’ll do it for you” and from that moment on, that would become my niche. This is what would set my paint parties apart from the others. The customers would do what they could, and I would do the rest. One of the ladies from this first party (by the way, she is still coming to paint parties 4 1/2 years later!), booked a birthday party for her daughter a week later. Then, one of the parents from that party, booked a party, and then another and another and another. People were loving this and so was I!
During that time period, I was working as a nurse at a busy OB-Gyn Practice in West Plano (OB-Gyn Associates of North Dallas, shout out!). I loved my job and I had been there for close to 18 years! I never had any intention of leaving. Nor did I ever have any intention of starting a business. I was just having fun and making a little extra money on the side. I thought, after the new year, orders and parties would slow down. They didn’t. By April of 2015, I was working so much and getting no sleep. Like seriously. No sleep! I didn’t care though. My adrenaline was going and it was all so exciting. As things got more and more difficult to juggle, I finally made the tough decision to cut down to part time at my “real” job. This lasted about 6 months. During that time, I got engaged and bought a house with my then fiancé, now husband. I made the toughest decision ever to leave my job of 18 years, my co-workers, my boss and my patients, all of whom I loved so much. I had that job my entire adult life. They were like family and I hated leaving, but I knew, in my heart, this was the next chapter in my life and I was ready!
It has been almost 4 years since I made that decision. Since then, I have continued to grow my business every year. I get to connect with so many amazing women and I have built so many wonderful relationships. You see, when you are welcomed into someone’s home, with their closest friends around, you build the type of relationships that people remember. They get to know you and you get to know them. You aren’t just some business, shuffling them in and out. You are a real person, helping them create something that is their own. You are watching their faces light up as they see their sign completed. They not only have a sign, they have all the memories of their friends and that night. Every season, when they pull that sign out, to hang on their front door, they will remember making it. That brings such joy to my life. Painting is very therapeutic; I love sharing and teaching others to relax and enjoy the process. I believe the relationships that I have made while doing this has been the key to my business’ success. Over the years, as my business has grown, I have added 3 amazing ladies/artists to my team, as well as, my husband, who is now the official woodworker.
In 2018, I created a website and slightly re branded to Canvas Sign Designs. I have recently launched my Hand Lettering classes, which start March of 2019 and are already in huge demand. I am also in the process of creating a blog, YouTube channel and some online courses and eBooks. With a 22 year old (soon to be a Texas Tech graduate in May), a 13 year old and a very busy 16 month old (all girls) and the most amazing husband anyone could ever ask for, I am blessed beyond measure. I am also crazy busy 95% of the time! Owning a business means wearing 20 different hats at all times, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have learned so much, and I try to appreciate all the wonderful opportunities I have been given (and worked my butt off for). I am thankful for every customer that has had faith in me and for my super supportive family. Trust me, they have put up with a lot! I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Canvas Sign Designs!