i have no clue if this topic is of interest to anyone at all BUT, i filmed a little tik tok briefly explaining how ARC started and it was fun and i wanted to elaborate!
let's dive deeeeep into ARC and how it started!
to preface, i've always been a pretty creative person. i went through so many different crafting phases when Pinterest was invented and the term "diy" was becoming popular. i did duct tape wallets and pens (iykyk), painted canvases constantly, made necklaces, wreaths, and so many more random things i found online. and i absolutely loved it!!! i would fixate on a craft, spend all my money i saved working at an ice cream shop on supplies, get tired of it, and move onto the next fixation. its a vicious cycle that i'm still in. i also loved handwriting from the second i could write. i would change my handwriting all the time (specifically my a's because i thought it made me look cool in middle school), and was always doodling in classes. i also went through a phase of practicing calligraphy with tombow brush pens and i made it my personality trait.
the truth is, though, that it never once even crossed my mind to pursue anything creative or involving art. it makes me so sad to think about now, but in high school i enjoyed art classes and crafting so much, yet literally did not think about majoring in art one time. it shocks me because i'm passionate about being anti 9-5 (lol) (also why do we say 9-5? it's more like 7-5) and feel so strongly that money doesn't make you happy, but i don't think i realized that back then. i was pretty smart in high school and was a freak about my grades. i don't even think i was naturally that smart, i just worked really hard to get good grades. i also didn't hate math the way everyone else seemed to and wasn't too bad at it, so i thought it would be best for me to major in something business related to make money. so i chose accounting. makes me SICK to think about now (no offense to accountants out there thank u for ur service).
so fast forward to college, i was a freshman accounting major in my first business class. the business building smelled like a dentist office and everyone in there intimidated me and was wearing suits. it was sickening. i was in my first business class and hated it and realized i don't think i'm cut out for the business life. i was also mainly taking prerequisites and only had one business class, so it didn't matter all that much that i decided to drop it for another prereq and change my major to undecided. i remember crying to my dad in the library about changing majors and he assured me it was soooo not a big deal so i switched that day.
i kept my major as 'undecided' until the beginning of my sophomore year while i was deciding between a communications major and a graphic design major. this was also the time that i started a bullet journal, which i also made my personality trait. i would SLAVE over that thing. it was so much fun and a creative outlet for me that made me realize how much i loved art and hand lettering. ANYWAYS, communications seemed like a good fit because it's the most generic and has a lot of job opportunities after college, but you needed to pick a track you wanted to take within the major, and i didn't feel strongly about any of them because i wasn't passionate about anything relating to communications. but i knew i was passionate about art. and graphic design at the time felt the most 'normal' art major to pick, since it allowed you to be creative but also offers jobs in an office and had job opportunities. i was pretty naive about art jobs at the time and wish i didn't get sucked into the notion that art can't make you a living. regardless, graphic design was absolutely the best fit for me and i fell in love.
i seriously LOVED going to my art classes. i had really good graphic design teachers and the projects were sooooo much fun that i didn't mind doing homework. who would've thought? a lot of people in my classes had an ipad to help with their projects and i knew i wanted one. the summer after my sophomore year i had to get an internship for my major, so i moved to Cleveland for the summer to be an art intern with University Tees, a t-shirt company i worked for on campus at the time. i shadowed the art director there for the summer and she let me mess around with her ipad and i immediately knew i needed one. i went back to school and when i came back home for thanksgiving break, i was bored and went and bought an ipad. i think i had $50 to my name after i got it. i did not plan financially for it, it was bought on a whim. after i left best buy i was like allie wtf are you doing you are so insanely broke, and now it's my full time job. crazy how things work out like that :,)
i started practicing my hand lettering on procreate and it was garbage at first. it took a looooooot of practice to get decent at it, but im so happy i stuck with it! i had made an instagram account at the time to post all of my projects and work from class. it was really common among students in the art school to make an insta account sort of as an online portfolio, so it was meant for that primarily. i started posting some doodles for fun to my 40-some followers. and theeeeeeeen it was march 2020.
YALL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS
i was sent home from college my senior year. whomp whomp. that's a way to kill the vibe for sure! so i was back in bumfucknowhere maryland stuck with my parents (not a bad thing if ur reading this mom & dad, just not ideal as a 21 year old xo). i was in a lot of painting and drawing classes so it was really hard to hold classes virtually because everything had to be done physically, so i barely had classes/homework. so i went IN on learning about procreate. i went ballistic. i doodled constantly and my hand lettering improved. i was posting on my instagram constantly and started to grow a little following and meet other people in the illustration community. this was when it was SO popular to basically trace pictures of people/products and leave out their facial features. you guys remember what im talking about, right? i was a part of the cult. but i loved it and the community was where i met some of my closest small biz friends that i have now!
then i bought my cricut. i remember pulling up to michaels and popping my trunk with my mask on and having the worker bring out my sparkly clean mint cricut and waving thank you from my window. what a time! i went straight home and started making stickers. i should have mentioned earlier but am too lazy to go back and add it in, that i had sold some stickers that i made the first semester of my senior year from ipad doodles. they were ass. but i found a deal on sticker mule (so crazy that that's still the manufacturer i use today) and bought some to sell to my friends via instagram story. either my friends felt bad for me or actually liked them, but i was driving around the town dropping off stickers left and right and was LIVING for it. so when i bought my cricut i was pumped to make them as my quarantine hobby. i doodled some of the most basic rainbows i've ever seen and sent them to my cricut. i made a tik tok describing the process of me designing, printing and cutting,..............and allie rose co was born.
not really, but kind of. i like to think of that video as the first realization i had that i could start a small business and work for myself. the funniest part about the video is that i deleted it and reposted it because i didn't think it was getting the love it deserved LOLLLLLLL. it wasn't on any allie rose co page because that name and my business didn't exist. i had my instagram page for doodles and it was allie rose designs at the time, so i posted it on my personal tik tok that had all of my other random and cringey videos with my 30 followers. i was on one of the a million walks i took during the peak of covid, and posted the video and told myself i wasn't going to check on it for the remainder of my walk. when i got home and saw it had like 4 views i was ticked. so i deleted it and reposted it before i went to bed. then i woke up to madness!!!! i think the video has around 2-3 million views now. i felt like charli d'amelio. i was losing my mind. people were commenting asking to order stickers so i quickly took pictures of them and threw them up on my dusty and idle etsy shop. i made it sophomore-junior year of college to post my doodles as digital downloads. i wanted to make some money without doing virtually any work whatsoever, and it allowed me to make sales without shipping anything. i had MAYBE 5 sales. probably all from my mom. but now strangers from all over the world were buying them!!! i probably sold 400-500 in that first week alone. it was seriously insanity that i've never experienced before. my mom and i SLAVED over the orders and i was hand writing thank you's to every person who ordered because i was so amped.
a month or so later i posted another video of me making stickers and it went viral again, having the same reaction as my first video. i was getting so many sticker orders, i truly did not know what to do with myself. i think it was after this video that i really really really considered making this my full time job. or at least try. you also have to remember that no one was hiring because it was covid, especially not graphic designers. so it just felt right. i moved to the beach that summer after and worked as a waitress for a crab shack. it's super common for people from my college to live at the neighboring beach to my college for the summers, and i had done it a few summers prior so i did it again. i saved virtually no money because it was my first summer being 21, but enough to buy some things for this business when i moved home. i worked on starting a website from scratch, designing and learning how to make t-shirts, and growing my social media. and on september 24, 2020 allie rose designs became official!!!!! that day was so wild. i had so much support from friends and strangers ordering, that i sat and just stared at my computer screen until my mom told me i had to stop, so i put my phone on airplane mode and went for a drive to distract me from going insane checking orders. it was such a rush and i was so proud of myself!!!
while yes, that was my full time job at the time, it was weird because looking back i don't think i realized id do it seriously for the foreseeable future. i had no idea 2 years later that i would still be doing this being financially self sufficient and moved out. i think i assumed it was a hobby turned side hustle to hold me over until job opportunities started opening up again. i loved it so much right from the start, and i remember secretly hoping i could continue it forever, but never thought it was a reality. why do i feel emotional!??!?! i can't believe i'm writing this rn :,)
my business grew so much that first year. i grew a community of followers and people that i connected with. people were so willing to support small businesses because covid hit biz owners hard, and the support i got for every single launch was unreal. that first year doing this business was one of the best years of my life!!! since then things have gotten even crazier in the best way possible! i've branched out and launched new products, collaborated on amazing pieces for my shop, worked with brands i could have never even dreamt of, and so much more.
i am so insanely grateful for the community i have around me and my lil business. allie rose co. would be nothing without you!!!!! i can't believe this is my job and my life. and i have you to thank! seriously. this post was so long, so if you're still reading to get to the point of me thanking you, THANK YOU. i love you. and appreciate you. you have no clue how happy my 7th grade duct tape wallet making self would absolutely sh*t herself if she saw me now.
i'm forever grateful