the story of my business

On Friday I asked if anyone had any questions for me, in particular ones related to my business.

What I realized over the weekend though, before any questions had been asked, was that I don’t spend a lot of time on here talking about ‘business’.  You have all seen my shop, and if you’ve been here for a while, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the summer boutique.  Maybe you saw this invitation or these baby announcements. But my current design projects don’t get a whole lot of coverage, and therefore, you may not even know that I have a small business.

And that’s okay.

I like doing posts about our home and my very random thoughts. I sometimes use this platform as a personal journal or a place to document my children’s lives. I use it to store home inspiration, divine inspiration and show the world what I (and my baby) wore.

It pretty much just represents me.

But you can’t get the full picture of me without knowing that I have a business. A business that allows me to be fully me. As much as I adore being a wife and mommy, I need to have something that is my own thing. Something where I can be creative, have adult conversations, make extra money.  That, for me, is Jones Design Company.

A few friends from college recently found my blog.  I haven’t kept in touch very well with these ladies, so we are catching up after ten years.  A few of them have left the most encouraging comments saying that it is fun to see me accomplishing my dream of having my own business and designing stationery.  I was surprised by these comments because I had forgotten that this was a dream I had long ago.  A dream to use my love of all things creative to make a living.  It seemed so far-fetched at the time, and it is so cool to see how that little dream has turned into reality – almost by accident.

So let me share with you how I got started:

Seven years ago today, I was on a beach, with the man (boy, really) I loved, wearing a fancy silk dress.


We were getting married.

It was such a beautiful day filled with our friends and family and hydrangeas.

(happy anniversary my love)


After we came down from the wedding high, we realized we were young, married, had a baby on the way and had some big details to figure out.

Namely, how we could live on one income.

I had been working as a personal assistant for a duo of real estate agents doing their marketing and, well, assisting.  It was a fabulous job for me and one I was not crazy about ending.  But (as I’ve mentioned many times before) I had always dreamed of being a mommy and so I knew I wanted to do all I could to stay home with our little one once he arrived.

Enter Jones Design Company.

As a real estate assistant, I worked as an independent contractor and needed a business license for tax purposes.  When filling out my application, I decided to at least give this business a fun name that was vague enough so that I could use it for other little stationery design jobs I was doing for friends.  I chose my maiden name (Jones) and liked the word company, so put the two together and sandwiched design in there. Just like that, I had a business.

I have always been fairly creative and generally gravitated towards paper crafts – card making especially.  I was in the stage of life when all of my friends were getting married, so I ended up creating many of their wedding invitations.  I teamed up with a local photographer who referred me my first real client and I stumbled my way through trying to be professional when I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing!  It was a great side job and the perfect way to incorporate my love of paper and design into my life.


Anyway, when we were trying to figure out how to afford keeping me at home with our baby, we realized we could give this little stationery business of mine a shot.  I had completed a Christmas season’s worth of holiday cards and loved it and had even made some extra money.  We figured once the baby was born that I could meet with clients on days Ryan was home, design while the baby was napping and produce the cards (with Ryan’s help) in the evenings.

So I quit my real estate job, had a baby and took as many stationery jobs as I could manage.

And it got us through.

With the next baby, the jobs kept coming and I was able to continue working from home.  Christmas card time became busy for us, but the fact that I could make nearly a year’s income in a few months outweighed the stress. I was (and still am) so thankful to be able to be home with my little ones while also contributing to our finances.

Plus, I designed cards for a living.


Now here we are 7 years later.

I still love that boy I married.

That first baby was such a delight that we kept adding more. And more. And more. Oh my.

And my little business is still part of our lives.

It has been fun to see how things have progressed over time. I started with mostly wedding invitations, then moved into baby announcements and family holiday cards. Over the past year I’ve been able to explore other creative ideas through my home, the Summer Boutique, designing this new website, adding new products to my shop.  It has been fun to find some success through what I do.

But, by far, the best part of what I do here on this blog and in life, is inspire.  I have recently realized in my heart {and through your kind comments} that being able to use my creativity to inspire creativity in others is my greatest joy and true privilege.


34 Responses to the story of my business

  1. Dani January 18, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story! I’ve followed you for some time now, but read your story every o often to inspire me all over again. I am a new mama, graphic designer and wanting to get my freelance design business going so I don’t have to go back to work (outside the home). I kick myself that I didn’t start building a business sooner! I sell custom hand lettered designs. It’s my creative outlet turned business – Lovely Letter Design Co was born. :) YOU are one of my fav bloggers. Xo

    • emily January 18, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

      Thank you Dani! Keep going – it takes a lot of work, but it’s so worth it!

  2. Jules March 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    We got together with a group of friends this past weekend. They were mostly my husband’s fraternity brothers and their wives and kids that we have stayed close with through the years. I mentioned that I finally had a moment to touch up my house with touch up paint that I THOUGHT was a matching color. Turns out, it was a lighter color… and now, I have spots all over my house! I think that the nicks and scratches would have looked better at this point. When I said that I had to paint, one of the wives (and friend) mentioned that she heard about your hand painted wallpaper. Another one of the ladies looked it up on her phone and five of us instantly fell in love with your designs. I have been trying to find the time to Google you all week. Here I am at the office after a long day, before I head home to kiss my husband and two boys, and head off to bible study… I find myself captivated by your website. I love your designs and decorating style. I noticed that you are a mom… of many young (and beautiful) kiddos. I read that you are a Christian and you aren’t afraid to share with the world how God moves you. I relate to you and like most everyone else that has posted… feel inspired by you. Thank you for sharing your stories, tricks, secret tips and love of life… and God. It’s refreshing.

  3. Diane@LongabergerLifestyle November 15, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Emily, I thought I’d read everything you’ve posted on your blog. But I guess that just wasn’t the case as I just read the post about your business and this, “But, by far, the best part of what I do here on this blog and in life, is inspire. I have recently realized in my heart {and through your kind comments} that being able to use my creativity to inspire creativity in others is my greatest joy and true privilege.” And I just have to say, YES! You do inspire and you are so lighthearted and joyful in your writing. Life is hard. Whether we want to admit it or not. But, you are so joyful. And you have inspired me to get creative. Having walked the past 2.5 years through sickness and extended job loss I truly had lost my creative spark. You, my friend, have helped me to discover it again. I’m so glad that you have discovered this gift of yours and so freely share it. There is nothing better than discovering our spiritual gifts and callings and using them to impact our world. Hugs & blessings!
    p.s. My husband is now working and we have moved to a new state and new life…God is good.

  4. Jessica May 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    You are an incredible and inspirational woman. I am really thankful that my friend pointed me to your blog. You’ve helped me believe that I can stay at home with my kids and still do something that I love. Thank you.

  5. Sarah Thornton March 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    Here I am again…leaving another comment, but can’t help it really! Just found your blog thru a friend and am playing catch-up. Loved this entry, I have been married almost 7 years and have 4 kiddos and am always looking for a fun way to add income. You are a proverbs 31 woman and you continue to inspire me. Thanks again!

  6. Aja August 17, 2010 at 7:27 am #

    Such a great story! I’m so inspired by moms and women in general who can make a way for themselves to do what they love. I totally relate to your feeling of wanting to always “create!” Thanks for sharing!

  7. fancythis August 17, 2010 at 7:23 am #

    You are an inspiration. What a wonderful story! God has truly blessed you and your family! :)

  8. Tonia August 17, 2010 at 6:02 am #

    Happy anniversary Emily! And thanks so much for sharing your story & road to success. You are such an inspiration.

  9. antiquechase August 17, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    What a refreshing post about life.. I loved learning more about you and your wedding picture was stunning!

  10. Robyn August 16, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

    Loved hearing your story, love that you ‘went for it’ and have been so successful.
    Would love to see more of your beautiful work-
    And so happy that you are willing to share! Last week was fun!

  11. Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl) August 16, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    I loved your story about how you started the stationery biz. I can sooo relate. I am not happy unless I’m creating. In addition to blogging, I am a web designer, graphic designer, formally trained as an illustrator, greeting card artist, handywoman and most important of all a mom.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog.

  12. Kat August 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

    I just found your blog last week and have been reading through it like crazy – am in love with it! Loved reading how your business got started, it’s great inspiration, been tossing around ideas myself and know that I just need to take the plunge.

  13. Melanie J August 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm #

    Emily, first let me say congratulations on your 7 yr anniversary. Secondly I think your post on your journey was great. As a stay-at-home mother (after each one till school age) and design business owner I completely understand where you are coming from. I am blessed to work at home and then do my work in other people’s homes. I enjoyed your post and wish you much luck in your business.

  14. susan isaacson August 16, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I enjoy your creativity and your ideas DO inspire me. (I love Audrey’s birth announcement. What a great idea!) Please keep sharing your ideas and thoughts. Your website is such an encouragement!

  15. Jennifer August 16, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

    I LOVE your story! Friday is my last day in sales and I am on to a new chapter of staying home with my 2 little ones and following and living my dreams! Thanks for the inspiration and proof of determination! Can’t wait for tomorrows announcement!

  16. Shannon August 16, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    I just found your blog this weekend from The Inspired Room. I LOVE it! I want your outfits and to paint my bathroom like your office. It’s beautiful! If I do, I’ll keep you posted.

    Keep the creative posts coming, and I can’t wait to see what your announcement is.

  17. AmyL August 16, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    I love reading your blog. Thanks for inspiring me! I hope to be able to buy some cards from your one day, I love them.

  18. emily August 16, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    what a sweet beginning, i’m glad we are here to reap the benefits of all your hard work and love!

  19. Gina August 16, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful story. I never get tired of learning about people and how they began.

  20. cailan August 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    It’s a lovely story. Being able to be at home with children is such a gift! I do bookwork in order to be home and even though numbers and computers and accounting were never dear friends of mine, I’m so thankful for the way it’s provided. Nevertheless, thank you for fueling the dream that perhaps the future could hold something different – you never know! I’ll look forward to seeing a bit more of your paper creations in posts to come.

  21. Amanda M. August 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    thank you so much for sharing. i just absolutely adore this site. you are so incredibly inspiring. i have gotten more inspiration than you can IMAGINE from this blog.

  22. Kirsty August 16, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    I LOVE the Garners, they did our wedding, did they do yours? Gorgeous dress! anticipating tomorrows post…thanks for sharing and inspiring

  23. Beth West August 16, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    I’m so glad that you’ve been able to create a business that helps you stay home with your children. Thanks for sharing your story.

  24. Emily August 16, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    Emily, this is weird, I know I sent you a comment last week about sharing our name but apparently we share more…7 years ago on this day, I was BECOMING Emily Jones. Happy anniversary! SO neat to hear how your business developed as well as a stay at home mom who also dreams of someday being able to turn my creativity into a way to help provide for our family :) Thanks for sharing!

  25. Kelly August 16, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    How inspiring! I love reading your journey, I’ve been on a similar one only not quite at the starting point of a business, although I feel it not too far off! I’m also a stay at home mom with a background in marketing. I’ve been thinking about going into designing cards (just one of many many many ideas…) how do you print them? And how do you decide what to charge for custom jobs?

  26. Chrissy August 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    it’s really encouraging to be reminded that these big things happen in little steps. you have a lot of awesome things going on & it’s inspiring to see that yes, it is possible! You’ve motivated me to pull out those things I love & give it a go…and see what happens :-) thank you!

  27. charis August 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    happy anniversary emily! i am one of those friends and i do remember you making the cutest cards and postcards to keep in touch with friends back home when we were frosh in college. so cool to find you and see how great you are doing. i have showed your blog to my sisters and they love it! may you and ryan have many many many more blessed years of love and fall more and more in love every day!

  28. mary katharine August 16, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    Such a sweet, beautiful post about LIFE. I enjoy visiting your blog:). I enjoyed this post!

  29. Cat, from iBlog August 16, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Seven years ago today, I also married my best (boy) friend. :) Happy Anniversary! We have more in common than I thought. I too have filled my dream of being a stay at home mom and free lance photographer. I, too, love all things design. Love your blog!

  30. Susanne August 16, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us! A secret announcement sounds so mysterious!! Can’t wait to hear…

  31. Jennifer Rizzo August 16, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    I always love the stories of people’s journeys. Thank you for sharing yours!

  32. Marisa August 16, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    Looking forward to the news!

    As a fellow business owner, I agree that it is really nice having a creative outlet in addition to being a mom. And I love reading about other successful home businesses!

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