The Journey to Living Vertical Shop


I'm super excited to be launching my very own website for Living Vertical! Countless hours of work went into creating this site, and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to check it out! My hope is that this website can be a place to both showcase my artwork/products and share a little more of who I am and why this work is so important to me!


Today, I want to share a little background of how Living Vertical came to be.


I have always loved art and color and creativity. My mom likes to tell the story of finding tiny toddler Rachel in the kitchen arranging all of my hair ties on the arms of the kitchen chairs, sorted by pastels and primary colors. As a kid I was always creating: drawing, coloring, painting, crafting—you name it! All of my school notebooks have pages filled with doodles (and some class notes too, of course!). In middle school, I started experimenting with how many different fonts I could write my name in.


My love of lettering gained serious traction when I took a two-week calligraphy course during my freshman year of high school. I immediately fell in love with the "fancy" writing style. However, as a lefty, I quickly became frustrated with how often I accidentally smudged my ink! As I learned and practiced, I was ultimately drawn more towards hand lettering.


College was the time when I really began to hone my lettering skills. In the midst of the rigorous academics of Wheaton College, I craved a creative outlet. I started to letter Bible verses, quotes, and song lyrics in my free time. I initially used Pinterest for inspiration and ideas for new styles of lettering. Eventually, I began to develop my own unique style. I posted pictures of my designs on social media, and my friends encouraged me to open an Etsy shop to sell my artwork. I had never considered opening an Etsy shop before, but the idea stayed in the back of my mind.


It wasn't until after I graduated from college and got married that I began to pursue this dream more seriously. During an internship that turned into my first job out of school, I was trained in Adobe Illustrator and learned a lot about graphic design. I decided that if I was going to open an Etsy Shop, I would need to be able to easily digitize my artwork. So I took a leap of faith and invested in an iPad Pro and started learning to letter on the app Procreate.


But then I hit a road block. I could not decide on a name for my new shop! I spent what felt like an eternity coming up with (and subsequently rejecting) name ideas. Finally, I was sitting in church on Sunday and my pastor began talking about how we needed to live vertically towards God and Heaven instead of horizontally for the things of this world. I immediately whispered to my husband that I knew what I was going to call my Etsy shop!


In November 2017, I sent some designs to a local print shop and created some greeting cards. It was honestly so thrilling to hold the beautifully printed cards and see my own designs on the front, with my logo on the back. I took a few product photos and quickly listed them on my brand new Etsy Shop.


It's been an interesting journey since I listed those original greeting cards. Only a couple weeks after launching my shop, I found out that I was pregnant with our first son. Two months after that, we moved across the country from Illinois to Colorado. Life changed very quickly, but this business was a comforting constant. I've since invested in my own printer, a Cricut machine, and an upgraded iPad. The products I've offered have shifted a lot since I began as well.


There have seasons where business is great, and I've been super motivated and excited. There have been dry spells when it felt like I would never get another sale again, which was really discouraging. But the Lord has been so good and gracious to this little business! As a busy mother of two boys, I could easily lose my own identity in caring for them all day every day. Living Vertical gives me the creative outlet I need, similar to when I first started my lettering journey during college.


I'm so grateful to God for the ways this business has grown, in ways that I could have never imagined. I legitimately do a happy dance (and then tell my husband) whenever I get a new sale! I have big dreams for where this could go in the future, and I hope you'll stick around and join me on this journey.


 

Here are some of my earliest hand lettered designs. It's fun to see how far I've come since I first started!