Hairbrained Schemes is an Etsy shop run by Canadian graphic designer Cheryl Overton. She talks to Hightail about working in her pajamas, maintaining a recognizable design style and sharing an office with a dog.
Hairbrained Schemes was born of a love of design, color and humor
Plus, an unwillingness to work at a job where I couldn’t wear my slippers and pajamas. It is my Etsy shop where I sell modern graphic art and greeting cards that I have designed. My customers are from all over the world and find me via Etsy, Houzz and various social media outlets like Instagram.
The name came from one of my best friends
Whenever I would call with another wild idea of how to make money without having to get dressed, she would say sarcastically, “What hairbrained scheme have you dreamed up now?”
I am completely self-taught
My love of design started many moons ago as a scrapbooking mom of two little boys. I had the good fortune to be hired for a scrapbooking magazine as a contributing editor and, with the encouragement of a very good friend, opened my Etsy shop a few years ago.
My ideas come from everywhere
Pop culture, my hilarious friends and family, nature, billboards, music…I could go on and on. When I want to feel inspired I might surf the net, watch a movie, go for a hike or bake brownies. I also love the work of Lisa Congdon. Her use of color inspires me.
A good designer should be both on trend and an individual
I try to keep my shop fresh by incorporating current pattern and color trends. But it’s really important to maintain a style that is recognizably me. You can’t get caught up in the latest “big thing”.
I print my smaller posters at home
I use a large format Epson printer for prints up to 13×19. Anything larger, I have done at my local print shop. I occasionally get customers who are under time restraints and need to purchase a printable file or want a very large print where the shipping would be ridiculously expensive. I use Hightail to share large resolution files with these customers — it’s a fantastic service.
I license my work for printing on wood signs
I have a deal with a company called Artehouse that specializes in vintage signs. This is one of most significant ways that Hightail helps me, as I have to send them very large resolution files that would be impossible to do through email. I’ve also had the good fortune to design for a calendar company that pays me a flat rate plus commission depending on numbers sold.
I should probably get out of my pajamas more often
I live in a town called Kelowna in British Columbia, Canada. It has a thriving art district but, honestly, I am not really part of the creative scene here. I should get out more. Kelowna also has amazing wineries and one of the best ski hills in the world.
Under my desk you will always find my co-worker, Bella
She’s neurotic, lazy and kind of sloppy. But she keeps my feet warm. On my desk you will always find chapstick and coffee (sometimes cold, but it’s always there). We’ve recently moved house and I don’t have a permanent office set up yet but I have big plans for it.