Your Local Girl Gang : Tell us about your business. What is your mission statement? When did you launch?
Lisa Quine: My business started as a highly personal hobby in 2013 and slowly morphed into a side hustle. I developed an addiction to drawing lyrics, started posting my work on Instagram, and eventually friends and family started hiring me for smaller projects. After developing a style, a portfolio of work, and a network of clients, I was able to leave my full-time job in advertising to launch Lisa Quine Inc. on November 30, 2017.
The ability to create and express is one of the best parts about being human. Both lettering and design have become my life’s calling, and my mission is to share that with the world.
YLGG: When and how did the idea for your business come to you?
LQ: I was attending a Creative Mornings event where business coach and Cleveland Flea founder, Stephanie Sheldon gave a super inspirational talk that really hit home. I signed up for a coaching session with her that same day, and she helped me realize that I need to stop saying things like “someday I’ll make this happen…” and to take action immediately. She actually made me set a date of when I was going to quit my job (November 1, so I was only 29 days off).
I did a lot of soul searching and intention-setting, which led me to the fact that I could make a career out of lettering. It seemed risky at first, but ultimately it comes down to betting on yourself, and I could control my own odds. The support from husband, family, friends, and the community in Cleveland was also incremental in my decision to launch my business.
YLGG: What is the best piece of business advice you have received?
LQ: The best advice I’ve ever received in business AND life is to take responsibility for everything. Taking full ownership for my actions and reactions has shifted my mindset and has resulted in the most personal growth I’ve experienced.
I was in a drawing competition at a conference last spring that was a complete failure and unbearably humiliating. I was partnered with an artist who wasn’t open to other people’s ideas and might have been a little too confident in their own ability. At the time of the competition, I blamed my partner for the horrific piece we drew together in front of all the conference attendees. But reflecting on the event, I learned that I should have spoken up and tried to compromise more, rather than being a total “yes man” and hating what I had to draw.
I’m proud that I participated in something that terrified me, and I’m grateful for the experience that led me to be a better collaborator for future projects. A little shift in mindset changed everything for the better.
YLGG: What characteristic do you admire in other entrepreneurial women?
LQ: I admire the work ethic and dedication entrepreneurial women have. Big accomplishments aren’t just handed out to anyone, so learning the habits and sacrifices of some of the most successful women has really been inspiring.
There have been PLENTY of times where I would have loved to shut my brain off and watch Netflix for hours, but instead I answered emails or started a new sketch. I couldn’t have learned will power like that without the help and guidance of other women who have proven that hard work and putting in the time behind the scenes eventually pays off in big ways.
YLGG: What piece of advice would you give to women starting their own businesses?
LQ: Surround yourself with people you trust and who will support you. Sometimes, especially early on, things will get stressful and it’s easy to lose yourself in the business, so having specific people for specific tasks is very helpful. Identify someone to cheer you on when you need encouragement, someone to keep you in check so you can stay focused on your business goals, someone to be a harsh critic and will tell you the truth, and a couple role models you look up to just to name a few!
YLGG: What do you like most about your workspace?
LQ: I am very grateful that I have a room at home that’s exclusively my office and filled will all my past work, sources of inspiration, and most treasured art supplies. But what I like best are my emerald green walls and my standing desk. I was born in May and have always treasured my birthstone: emerald. I also identify as a Slytherin so the emerald room makes me feel a little more dark and witchy. The standing desk helps we stay awake.
YLGG: Have any mistakes shaped the way you run your business today?
LQ: I was given the opportunity to have a gallery show in Canton and could not have been more excited. I love being able to create artwork for clients, but also stay personally inspired by my own passion projects. Unfortunately, the work I made for the show just wasn’t good. At all. It makes me physically sick looking at the work to this day.
I didn’t give myself enough time to create the pieces, and I created lettering that was way too far removed from my usual style and color palette. I wanted to have fun and be experimental, but an art show wasn’t the best platform to do that for. I learned so much from it though, and it’s actually helped my client work as well.
I now ‘K.I.S.S’ – keep it simple, stupid.
When there’s a message I need to convey, I make sure the main message is communicated clearly and everything else is relative as supporting material.
I don’t get overly ambitious when the timeline doesn’t allow it
I play to my strengths and bring in help when I know there’s someone that can make the project more successful
I take the target audience into account more and save the experimenting for behind the scenes. I’ll share it once I’ve worked through the kinks.
YLGG: What is something you could not go a day without?
LQ: Instagram. I really tried to think of something funny or cute, but sadly it’s a social media platform. It makes me laugh. It connects me with clients, fans, and role models. It’s also given me credibility and has led to projects like installing a mural at StubHub’s headquarters in San Francisco. It inspires me with artwork from all over the world, and it gives me motivation to keep developing my own brand.
YLGG: Name a woman, past or present, who you admire.
LQ: My cousin, Claire, has consistently inspired me my whole life, and I appreciate that we’re related more and more. During my preteen/teenage years, I witnessed a confident, hilarious, stylish and super talented actress dominate the theater in all of Northeast Ohio during her high school career. She then went on to college, but cut that short to move to NYC and started performing on Broadway.
Claire has the best personality out of everyone I know and somehow always knows the best things to say. She’s a fantastic storyteller, fashionista, and she leads by example. Life has thrown her plenty of painful curve balls, and I have watched as she alone takes them head on and becomes an even better and stronger version of herself. She’s now the mother of three adorable boys and has her own sensory friendly yoga business. Whether it’s greeting an audience, weathering a project disaster, or putting an outfit together, I’m always asking myself “What would Claire do?”