I’m delighted to introduce Abi Miller. Abi is the owner and designer of Abiart Creative, a company that creates unique and beautiful paper goods. Her cards are perhaps most popular, and you can find them in 250 retail shops across the United States. Find out more at abiartcreative.com, on Instagram, or on Facebook. Prepare to be inspired and renewed by Abi’s thoughts on art, business, and life as a child of a creative God.
Sheri Yutzy: Hi Abi, welcome to Made to Create! Let’s get started.
What is your greatest pleasure in your craft?
Abi Miller: Although I enjoy styling photoshoots, obsessing over which font to use, and writing–the absolute peak must be when I open the card for the first time. Still warm from the press, smooth matte paper, all those tangible details.
SY: Who inspires you in creativity?
AM: –God. I’ve discovered whenever I have designer’s block or feel uninspired my heart is not worshipping.
–Favorite graphic designer I follow on social media: Amanda Jane Jones, designer of Kinfolk.
–My childhood friend’s 1929 house. All the original hardwood floors, trim, subway tile intentionally decorated with the most bespoke, non-plastic items.
SY: What’s one tool you can’t do without when creating?
AM: Being properly/creatively dressed, hair combed and rocking the nerdy glasses with a blue UV protection.
SY: Now there’s an insight into creative life. I never really thought about how necessary that is for me too, when I’m writing. Although there definitely are pajama days. J
What do you dream of doing with Abiart Creative in ten years?
AM: I pray to be creating whatever the Lord has for me. The card line is certainly the heart of Abiart but we are continually dreaming of new paper collections + how to add retailers to the family. Honestly tho, I hope in the day to day–I’m still thrifting props, shooting + designing in a studio with a killer view on our 5 acre wilderness.
SY: What’s your favorite story that has happened because of your art?
-The occasional phone call from a complete stranger crying because of how much a card touched her heart.
-An older lady from church arranged a meeting with her friend from Missouri who owned a small store and wanted greeting cards very short notice and I grabbed a few card samples from my purse. As the owner was browsing through the samples she looked at a baby card and began smiling. Here her daughter had a baby recently and had received this card from a friend in GERMANY and they loved this card and unsuccessfully searched high and low for the company. This is why you need a website for your small business! Since then I have created a website and am still working on perfecting it.
SY: Crazy how God works. I love how He’s using you to touch hearts! What was the most discouraging thing about starting a business?
AM: When you forget the why. The passion, the heart, behind the company is why you work ridiculously hard those first years–for free. The why is enough… even on the day your computer crashes. Or a design doesn’t sell and 1,000 cards are sitting in on the warehouse shelf. If financial gain is your only drive–one day it won’t be enough. It won’t be worth the stress, tears or lows. Neither does it compare to the joy, confirmations and mountaintop of knowing this journey is for and from God. He knows just when to remind us “you were created for such a time as this.”
SY: Thank you. That brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been wondering recently why I even write while trying to mother a baby.
What advice would you give to someone starting a business with their art?
AM: Give it your best shot, with your whole heart. Take the time to do things right–make your first impression great. Be ready to work hard. Laying the foundation to any business takes time and learning from mistakes. Obsess over creating efficient processes and serving your customers.
SY: How has your craft helped you to understand God better?
AM: God is the ultimate designer and Creator. So intentional, even though we might not understand. He notices each detail. You. Me. Every person you will see today–He created with delight. How devastated He must be when we reject His plan and heart.
SY: What a beautiful reminder. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Abi!
AM: Thank you for this opportunity–a first for me!
Thank you all for stopping by! Do any of you have a favorite Abiart card, or one that’s blessed you? Please leave a comment. One of the best ways to encourage and inspire artists is to share how their art has touched you.
Join me for next month’s MTC interview with Emily Miller of InspireDesignCo.