8 Years ago today I fulfilled one of my lifelong goals and started my own business, Judah Creative Studio (Special thanks to a few people below). If you recall, the economy was in recession and the media was screaming doom and gloom. It almost deterred my decision. My logic went something like this:
"If I apply for a job right now in the industry, I'm likely to get one with my experience and portfolio."
"If I apply after 6 months of trying my own business, I can still find a job. So why not go for it?"
I'll never forget the feeling of panic when I made it real.
I've been the sole provider in our home since the beginning in 1998, and now with four kids, there was more to think about.
"Yes", I said, "I'd like to hand in my resignation because I'm starting my own graphic design business." The blood drained out of my lips and I felt sick as I let go of the company's "security" -- steady pay and insurance (I had recently enjoyed a promotion to Marketing Manager and there was room to grow). Then, after about 30 minutes, I felt like I was flying! It was an ineffable feeling of liberty!
Specializing in Label Design
Even though I started as a one-stop-shop willing to do just about anything to keep the lights on, time and again I found myself designing labels in the dietary supplement space. I had previously worked closely with technical staff, scientists, sales staff and other key talent that helped me understand the bigger picture of what goes into getting a supplement on the shelf.
Even though I enjoy many aspects of design, I love packaging design the most. After 12 years in the industry, I have a label design system down pat, constantly changing with the industry (and the FDA - ha!). In 2016 I decided to make it official and start selling myself as a label designer in dietary supplements. It has been one of the best business decisions I've made.
Even though there's more people to thank than what's possible, I'd like to single out a few people.
First, I thank my God, who, for whatever reason, gave me this opportunity. There's a ton of talented, unknown people in the world. Just go to Google, or YouTube. There's nothing special about my talents in a world of amazing artists. Yet, God, out of His goodness, decided to allow this thing to thrive. Not because I'm awesome, but because He's awesome. Soli de gloria!
Next, Terese Mansell, Bill Atkinson, and Buster (Harold) Fox all believed in me and passed my name on in the beginning (and continue to do so). My business would not exist without you! Thank you!
Tired and exhausted after a long Expo West, Scott Steil at Nutra-Bridge sat down and talked business with me, sitting on a couple of booth crates after the show. He had just met me, and was willing to give his time to a green designer with a dream. His insights and encouragements were integral in me pulling the trigger. Thank you, Scott!
A few customers I'd like to thank:
Green Foods gave me a shot in label design at the VERY BEGINNING and allowed me to re-design their entire supplement line. Their business was crucial to Judah Creative Studio making it!
Steve Bruner over at Natural Biology afforded me the same pleasure of redesigning their supplement labels, and the design won an award!
Bret Bonnet and Mike Wenger over at Quality Logo Products. These guys believed in me and their business was integral in keeping Judah Creative Studio afloat during some growing pains. (If you need your logo printed on just about anything imaginable, they have second-to-none customer service - check out their website and say "hi" to Bubba for me:).
Then, there's Cole Rosen over at Integrated Supplements, who allowed me to participate in one of the most satisfying career achievements to date - seeing our project design on the shelf at Target and Wal-Mart nationwide. Wow, what an honor! Thanks, Cole!
A few more thanks:
There's NO WAY I could have done this without the on-going insights and support from my wife, Jenni. She helped bolster my confidence and believed in me even when things seemed uncertain.
My kids, Reuben 15 - Very insightful and compassionate, loves violin, acting and cross country, Ariel 13 - Thoughtful, caring and super-creative - loves guitar, art and cross country, Brielle 12 - Incredibly servant-hearted, is an academic super-star and loves to help all people, and Shiloh 9 - sensitive to others and amazingly talented at anything spatial reasoning, loves to draw - all four of my kids are a continual inspiration. Watching them grow into the talented people God made them to be is such an honor.
Here's to however many more years I'm allowed to participate in this incredible journey!