Today we’d like to introduce you to Jess Potgieter.
Jess, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I had every intention of finding a nine-to-five job when I moved to Houston from Australia. I had been working in the corporate world back home and imagined I would continue along that path when I moved here with my husband 18 months ago. Little did I know that the time spent illustrating whilst waiting for my work permit to come through would steer me towards running my own business.
With a creative background, specifically in graphic design, I loved being back in the artists’ chair. It felt wonderful to be able to design and illustrate again. I decided I wanted to create and sell my fun and happy illustrations instead of pursuing an office job, and officially launched The Rosy Redhead in March 2019.
There was a lot to consider when setting up my own business and I knew it would be a huge challenge, especially as I was new to living in the USA. However, I’m an incredibly optimistic person and so glad I overcame all the obstacles because now I’m able to create things that bring a pop of joy to people’s lives.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
With my experience limited to office-based jobs, setting up The Rosy Redhead was my first time doing anything like this, so naturally there were a few hurdles along the way.
As an Aussie living in the USA, starting my own business was particularly challenging as I had no idea what my responsibilities as a business owner were. I did a lot of reading and research about registration, tax obligations, permits, and I quickly realized the legalities of running a business here are a lot more complicated compared to Australia!
After figuring out how to start my business and completing the initial set up of my online store and other background administration, it was a fairly smooth process. I’m lucky that I have a background in marketing and communications, so setting up my brand strategy and sourcing suppliers was pretty straightforward.
The one thing I didn’t expect to affect me so much was the isolation of working from home. I’m an extrovert; socializing energizes me and I love bouncing ideas off others. Since starting The Rosy Redhead, I’m thankful to have found a network of female entrepreneurs through Sesh Coworking. Joining this community has been a game-changer as I’ve met so many other inspiring women who have been through a similar experience as me. Additionally, the support and interaction I receive from my community on social media also keeps me motivated.
Running your own business is a lot of work, (ironically, more hours than if I worked in an office) and I wear many hats. Some days are harder and longer than others, and when the going gets tough, I remember WHY I started The Rosy Redhead in the first place, for my love of creating; but also to inspire others to feel positive. That, coupled with my happy-go-lucky nature is what drives me to push forward and not give up.
I believe the best thing about a challenge is overcoming it! Yes, there will be bumps in the road, but we need to keep going, keep having fun and remain happy; it’s how we’ll learn and improve for next time.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Rosy Redhead – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I create illustrations that aim to brighten your day and encourage you to stay upbeat. My style is playful and cute with bold linework and often inspired by florals. I hand draw everything either by traditional ink pen or digitally on a tablet.
I have a collection of prints and stationery featuring my illustrations which I sell in my online store (www.rosyredhead.com), including a range of prints that you can personalize to make artwork special and unique to you.
I also accept commission jobs if someone is looking for something more bespoke. Whether it’s an individual customer who would like a custom print or a brand who requires illustration for a larger project, creating unique pieces is something special that I enjoy doing. I have only recently started taking on commission work and I’m looking forward to expanding this part of the business.
I’ve been faced with challenges in the past which have had a huge impact on my attitude towards life. I always choose to look at the positives and have a cheerful approach. I channel this mindset into my work to encourage people to feel more light-hearted and remember to have fun in what can be a complex and chaotic world. This is what sets me apart; giving people something to smile about and inspiring them to think optimistically is the most important aspect of my business.
Running your own business is hard work, and I’m proud to say that I do absolutely everything myself. From creating each illustration to all the admin and paperwork, through to coding my online store, right up to wrapping each order with care and gratitude, I am a one-woman show!
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
With The Rosy Redhead not even a year old yet, I have so many (probably too many!) ideas for new products. I want to start making products that aren’t limited to prints and stationery, and I’ve got a few things in the works already, so stay tuned! I’m looking forward to stretching my creativity and ability to use other media to besides a pen.
One of my main focuses for 2020 will be approaching retailers as I’d love to see my products stocked in brick-and-mortar stores.
- Most of my standard prints are priced around the $16.00 mark and you can get a personalized print for as little as $26.00.
- Stickers are priced at around $3 to $4. These make a great, little addition to an order, and are waterproof so can even be used outdoors!
- Shipping is free across the USA when you spend $15.00 or more, and I offer a capped rate for orders going to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
- Website: www.rosyredhead.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @therosyredhead
- Facebook: @therosyredhead