2023 UPDATE: We have a newer get to know JW Design Studio post that showcases 2013-2023. It’s got all of the info. Head on over there now.
Original Content Updated 7.18.2017
Remembering Turks and Caicos
Sappy, but true. I’m in love. My husband and I met and ran off to a far away location to marry on the beach.
Turks and Caicos to be exact.
We love it there so much we have been back
twice 5 times since the day we married there. I love to travel and see new places, but mostly, I love to experience these places with my husband. Having the opportunity to see the world with the one you love can be amazing….
Being a sappy traveler…
I started the Cotton Prints™ Wedding Maps as a gift to my husband for our 2nd wedding anniversary. Because we got married in Turks and Caicos, we both wanted a way to cherish our little slice of heaven forever. After doing a ton of research on cotton gift ideas for him, I came to the conclusion that I would have to make my own cotton gift.
The result became the start of a new chapter in my life and it went a little something like this:
Being that we both loved Turks and Caicos for the deep meaning we shared there, I knew the anniversary gift had to be centered around that special location. After a few days of tossing around ideas, I decided I would try to print on actual cotton fabric. Figuring out the best method and making it work took longer than it did to design the artwork, but once I had mastered the technique and finally got a good print, I was surprised at how well it turned out.
The very first wedding map I ever did:
I posted my design of our wedding/ anniversary map on Etsy and Facebook and within a few days — even before I gave Mike his print for our anniversary — I landed my first order! Imagine how hard it was to keep his gift a secret after that excitement!
We celebrated our 2nd anniversary, I gave him the gift AND popped the amazing news. I then designed and shipped off my first order that following Monday, which was an anniversary map of Mexico. I am ashamed to say, but my initial packaging was poor. I quickly wrote a note on the cardboard I used to protect the print thanking them for their order and placed it in a bubble mailer I picked up that day. I had no clue that this was going to turn into a business at that point.
Amazingly I received another order…. and another. In the first week of launching, I had 11 orders. By the end of that month I had 66 orders and knew I had to quit my day job if I was going to turn this into something real. The rest of the story is me finding my way as I began a full time career in designing prints for weddings and anniversaries for couples all over the world. I quickly found that running a small business was a ton of work and I couldn’t juggle a full time job and fulfill orders, so I took the risk of starting this business full time in June of 2013.
Each month following that original month, the orders increased and my skills at presenting the work, packaging and making them a true gift to the receiver developed exponentially. Now, with years of experience in the business, we have learned a lot. We no longer print on utility fabric. We run a professional printer capable of handling multiple prints at once. We print on high quality, museum grade 100% cotton canvas rolls and archival pigment ink to last well over 100 years. We are a full professional design studio, expert designers, packers and shippers, and customer service extraordinaires.
What that same cotton map would look like now:
Furthermore, I love that my handmade goods have the chance to travel outside of Pittsburgh, Pa to places I may never see and to allow people from other states and countries to acknowledge our lovely city as a creative hub. << I heart Pittsburgh! >>
I truly enjoy making custom artwork for each and every couple. It’s inspiring to see how many people are madly in love and attribute a special location to when it all started. I remain hopeful that these gifts will make people happy and help them to always remember special moments in their life. Whether that moment is your wedding day, a special event, graduation, or when you bought your forever home….
I have helped couples celebrate their love and anniversaries around the world. I have designed maps for all 50 States, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Ireland, England, Australia, Spain, the Caribbean, the Maldives, and a world of other places across the pond (just to name a few). The best part about what I do is that I am doing something I love. I may work longer hours and I may work a lot harder than I ever have. But to receive a comment from a buyer like the one below, makes it worth while:
“My wife picked up the gift about an hour ago and not knowing who it was from opened it in her office for a surprise that brought tears (of joy). The delivery time was so fast I didn’t even have enough to organize getting her reaction on tape. But I’m sure when I finally get to go over again I’ll hear all about it. She is now out frame hunting and trying to get a smaller print for her desk (hope you don’t mind).
So just wanted to thank you for your beautiful work and helping me put a smile on her face from 4000 miles away.”
— Jason L.