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Life and Work with Amy Zhang

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Zhang.

Amy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve always been drawn to the idea of having a creative career that’s more of a passion than a just a job — I’ve studied at everything from classical piano, to editorial fashion, to medieval literature, to graphic design. Through it all, creating a stationery line has been one of those distant life goals for me for as long as I can remember. I feel so lucky to live in a time where I’ve been able to turn that distant goal into something achievable, and where being an entrepreneur, while not at all easy, is certainly becoming more accessible. I worked as a graphic designer in the wedding industry for a couple of years, and through that was able to get a first-hand look at what it’s like to run a small business. So, when I went out on my own, I felt more prepared to navigate the business challenges that came with doing the creative part that I love.

I officially started Amy Zhang Creative in January of 2018, and since then I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing local brands like Rocky Mountain Bride, Little White Dress, and Wish Gifts. I’ve also done pop-ups and events with larger brands like Madewell, Nordstrom, and David Yurman. In addition, my cards are carried by independent stores in several states around the country, and these days I’m especially focused on growing this aspect of my business.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely not! Even with the base knowledge I had going in, there were (and still are) daily struggles that range from printing errors to cash flow, to figuring out how to file sales tax. For me, the biggest challenge is working and building towards the BIG goals (like your initial launch), because there is so much time, effort, money, etc. put in with no immediate reward and no guarantee of success. If I could offer any advice to those starting out, it would be to trust yourself and your business — support it with research, ask for feedback, and adjust when necessary, but always do your best to trust in its (and your!) ability succeed.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I’m a graphic designer by trade and still do some freelance work, but these days my primary focus is creating pretty, witty greetings and gifts. I conceptualize, hand-illustrate, and design every one of the products in the collection, and while I want those little illustrations and phrases to be cute and sentimental, they’re so much more meaningful than that. I create cards with personality, with specific people in mind, with a unique voice. For me, that offers more opportunity for genuine human connection, whether it’s a heartfelt thank you, a show of support, or just a good laugh. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a customer connect with one of my favorite cards and knowing that they’ll extend that connection to someone in their lives as well.

Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well positioned for?
I love that how we socialize is shifting in a way that encourages a sense of community that doesn’t depend on geographic location. As much as we might struggle with social media sometimes, it offers such a wealth of opportunity — for getting our businesses in front of new eyes, for sharing our voice with a larger audience, and especially for connecting with niche communities. Because of that, we’re seeing more successful, intelligent, thriving women every day, and I think it’s both inspirational and aspirational. When I look to wildly successful female business owners, there’s that feeling of “wow, look what they’ve done” — but it also sparks a feeling of “wow, look what I could do, too.” That’s not to say it’s easy, but I love that we’re actively seeing women pave the way and create more space, often with the support of other women.

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