the Creative Empire podcast » Building Creative Businesses into Empires

44: The Business of Being Creative, with Valerie McKeehan

This episode, Reina + Christina sit down with Valerie McKeehan to talk about the difference between creating as a hobby vs as a business. Valerie speaks to how her business relies on her ability to stay inspired creatively and what she does when she has too many and too few ideas. It’s challenging to keep innovating and moving her brand beyond the trends, but her motto is to give herself grace to do her own thing.

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Show Highlights:

  • How to get inspired again if you’re a creative entrepreneur + lose your motivation to create
  • How hiring help is often needed to keep moving forward
  • How to get started when creating physical products
  • How important branding is whether operating on Etsy or your own website
  • How we need to celebrate the successes we have instead of just moving onto what’s next

Show Notes:

Valerie’s Bio:

Lily & Val’s original gifts, cards, and home decor items mirror life’s simple pleasures so you always have a reason to smile. Each item is hand lettered and illustrated by Valerie McKeehan, who infuses her flourishes, flowers, typography and quaint illustrations with the same sense of whimsy and elegance that inspires her at home. In fact, that’s how Lily & Val was born. In 2012, newly wedded and drawing from a love of visual storytelling honed through her career in advertising, Valerie transformed an old picture frame into a “McKeehan’s Café” chalkboard for the kitchen. She fell in love with chalkboard art instantly. What’s more, friends, family, and customers from the Etsy shop that followed soon became just as enchanted by Lily & Val’s artwork, too. A lot has changed since those early days, but like all good things, a lot has stayed the same. As Lily & Val grew, she discovered ways to preserve a beloved art form that is considered fleeting and temporary. After illustrating each piece by hand, Valerie photographs the freshly drawn chalkboard to make a digital print. This method enables us to send you a gorgeous piece of chalkboard art, perfect in its imperfections, without worry of dust or erasing. We pride ourselves in unique, modern handcrafted goods with a nod to the nostalgia of a classic medium like chalkboard. Since opening, Lily & Val has worked with nationally-recognized brands and has been featured in publications like The Knot Magazine, HGTV.com, MarthaStewartWeddings.com, and Good Housekeeping Magazine. But want to know a secret? It’s still the spontaneity of life’s playful, everyday pleasures that inspires us. The smallest things are the most important things: a few words transforming a room into a cozy space, an illustration that makes you smile. We revel in mixing simple nostalgia with a modern style of pretty-whimsy to create gifts that are lovingly made, from our hands and hearts to yours.

Valerie’s Social Handles:

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