Update: I Grew My Art Business 40% By Using My Own Designs

Published: March 26th, 2022
Jen Fox
Founder, Foxly Handmade
Foxly Handmade
from Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
started August 2016
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
180 days
average product price
growth channels
Email marketing
business model
best tools
Google Drive, Instagram, Canva
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
24 Pros & Cons
11 Tips
Discover what tools Jen recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Jen recommends to grow your business!
Want more updates on Foxly Handmade? Check out these stories:

Note: This business is no longer running. It was started in 2016 and ended in 2023. Reason for closure: Change business name as "Jen Fox Studios".

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hello! My name is Jen Fox, and I am the owner and designer behind Foxley Handmade. I am an artist, and I incorporate my cheerful & colorful artwork into accessories and home goods, like zipper pouches, tea towels, and greeting cards.

I've been working on this business for the past 5 years, and only within the last year and a half have I really gotten into the groove of things - and since then, I've been slowly but surely scaling. Last year when I was interviewed here, my monthly average revenue was about $3,500 and now I'm consistently over $6,000.

My business is still small potatoes, for sure -- but I'm building the foundation of a long-lasting, sustainable business to support a balanced lifestyle that I hope to run for many years to come.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Last year around this time, I was solely focused on creating and selling products that featured the work of other artists -- my primary product was a fabric zipper pouch. Since then, I've rekindled my love of art and illustration, and I've made my artwork the center of my brand. My products have expanded beyond zipper pouches and bags, and now include home goods, greeting cards, and art prints -- all featuring my artwork.


Hiring someone to sew has freed up my time to work on new products, marketing, and let's be honest - relaxing. At first, it pained me to pay someone else to do a job I was capable of doing.

Pivoting my business was a leap of courage, but I've found that I am more genuinely and readily able to interact with my customers. I'm speaking from my own heart about my products since all of my products incorporate my artwork.

I've noticed that I'm getting much more traction on social media posts and email campaigns that involve my artwork, more personal ones, and a simple product post. Unstaged images and videos that frankly aren't even great quality have been doing way better than images that are polished and perfect.

Here's an example of an unpolished image I posted that did so well that I turned it into an engagement ad:


Reworking my business to center around my artwork has confirmed to me that my greatest asset is the individual connections that I have with my customers -- they relate to ME, and that leads them to want to support me and my work. I certainly have work to do in the paid ads arena, but having personal connections to a small and loyal audience of buyers in the last few years has been invaluable.

Since I know my customers want a personal connection to me and my products, I've been focusing on showing up in videos and on Instagram stories and Reels. I show my face to my customers a lot! I regularly do live videos on Instagram to share new product launches and share behind the scenes -- my customers love that personal touch. I don't worry at all about my videos being perfect since I know my audience responds best to real life.


I keep my customers interested by emailing regularly, and always giving my email subscribers first access to new product launches and sales. Email marketing and organic Instagram marketing have been my biggest sources of sales over the last year.


Finally, I've found success in growing my email list via giveaways. There are always some freebie-seekers that get caught up in the mix, but there are always people who stick around after a product giveaway and turn into customers. I'm planning to try more giveaways in partnership with other brands with similar audiences to expand my reach even more.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

I finally hired a seamstress this year, and I have no idea what I was waiting for -- I should have done that years ago! Hiring someone to sew has freed up my time to work on new products, marketing, and let's be honest - relaxing. At first, it pained me to pay someone else to do a job I was capable of doing.


But, when I'm real with myself about WHY I started this business, to begin with, the reason isn't just about money. It's about creating a balanced lifestyle, and one that I'm in control of.

There have been lots of changes in my own business in the past year and the world of paid advertising and social media algorithms. It's easy to get anxious about changes I can't control, so instead, I try to focus on things that I CAN control - my customer list, my artwork, and my connections with my customers.

Though my books don't show massive growth, and my yearly revenue is quite small, I've learned to keep track of my small successes to not get discouraged. I generally keep my blinders on, since we've all heard that comparison is the thief of joy. There's a whole world of entrepreneurs out there who are all hustling after the money - I certainly have growth plans and I am aiming to make more money, but my hustle is about building a lifestyle for myself that can sustain me through the years. Burnout is not an option.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

In the upcoming year, I have plans to begin pitching my artwork to other companies and manufacturers for licensing opportunities. My own business is showing me that there's a demand for my artwork, so I hope to expand my reach via art licensing.

I also have plans to dial in the wholesale side of my business, and really (finally!) develop a strategy for inventory and managing my relationships with retailers.

I'm digging into videos for paid ads, and I'm soon starting to build my SMS list for marketing.

Finally, I will continue to grow, slowly, my eCommerce site and my product offerings. Slow growth is good growth for me and what my version of success looks like at this stage in life.


Have you read any good books in the last year?

I'm such a busy body that I am much more prone to listen to short podcasts while working with my hands in my studio than reading. For podcasts, I've been listening to Detail Therapy with Amy Landino and the Mindset Mentor for motivation in shifting my mindset, and I've been listening to the Roadmap to $50k with Susan Bradley and Jane Hamill Podcast for more practical eCommerce advice.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

I recognize that my business is super tiny compared to many. I also know that if you're starting as a maker, it's a tough road. My one piece of advice is to work on getting your product to a point that you are SO proud of, set your price that will pay you well for your expertise and your work, and then don't apologize for it. I see so many talented people who undervalue themselves and their work, and it doesn't help anyone. Do good work, price it fairly, find your people, and then be super consistent in the way that you show up for your customers.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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