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Daily Inspiration: Meet Alyissa Johnson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alyissa Johnson.

Hi Alyissa, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I studied graphic design at the University of Kansas, once I graduated I got an internship and moved to Kansas City, from there I went to Hallmark where I worked for over eight years. While there, I was inspired to take up hand lettering as a hobby. I started by doing a daily lettering challenge for one year, which ended up lasting three. During that time, I slowly developed my hand lettering skills and built a more serious interest in it. I bought books and followed a bunch of artists on Instagram and joined Skillshare. I decided to try my hand at selling some pieces at Hallmarket, a maker pop-up that was free to any employee. I had such a good time and my prints were well received. Then through Hallmark I got a couple of mentorships and that’s when I really flourished, I have hand-lettered many Hallmark cards (and now social media). And my art print business is still going. In 2019, I decided to try my hand at making jewelry. I wanted to expand my craft and create something I haven’t touched for a while, I was into making jewelry as a teen and even sold some pieces to neighborhood kids. Now my business is mainly art prints and jewelry. At the beginning of 2020, I left Hallmark to travel and search for something new. That fell through for obvious reasons, but now I work for myself as a freelance designer and sell business owner, it wasn’t the plan but has given me some really great opportunities. One thing I have always stuck with is that I want my prints to motivate, inspire or empower someone and I want my jewelry to be something I would want to wear or gift myself. I’m proud to be able to create along those lines while still having fun.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I think realizing I wasn’t happy at my full-time job was a real eye-opener, trying to figure out what was next was difficult. I think I was on auto-pilot and I was just taking day by day not thinking about the future, on top of being burnt out. Once I saw a way out, I took it. I think 2020 was challenging for everyone, I was already in transition, then everything changed and I couldn’t plan for anything because each day was unpredictable. I felt very stuck and my energy level, mood and interests changed daily. But I was able to stay afloat, I think my creativity saved my mental health as it was something I could focus on. That and my loving partner.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a graphic designer, hand lettering artist and maker. I think people know me for various things, jewelry or art prints, or patches. I think people associate me with The Cherry Pit Collective since I’ve been a member for about four years.

I am proud of actually doing it, have a career (at this point in time) that I built and that is keeping me financially stable—which was a big fear of mine after leaving my salaried job. I feel my ingenuity sets me apart, I like to be the idea generator, the one who can build something from nothing.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
I think small, locally owned businesses are on the rise along with the support needed to keep them alive. I think people want to support their cities and spend locally. But we’re constantly competing with places like Amazon and it’s impossible to keep up. I hope the shop small trend isn’t just a trend and people keep supporting us and how we have to work.

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