The Near & Dear Gift Collection was launched in 2010, yet it's beginnings were developed by Brooke's own need to give unique, thoughtful gifts. As a graphic designer and licensed artist, Brooke Witt has always been inspired by the moments and memories we hold near and dear to our hearts. As she designed each new gift for someone in her own life, she quickly saw the possibility to tell other family's stories through imagery and strong iconic design. By thinking personally, yet seeing an opportunity before her, Brooke was able to develop a series of art prints that tell a personalized story unique to it's giver... and receiver. Whether it's a gorgeous wedding, a romantic engagement, an anniversary, new baby, graduation, a cross-country road trip or world travels, the Near & Dear Gift Collection by designer and illustrator, Brooke Witt, has a one-of-a-kind design that's perfect for the occasion.
The Near & Dear Gift Collection opened as an Etsy shop in July 2011. Open for only 6 months, the Etsy shop reached 1,000 sales and we became a full-time producer of personalized art prints and posters. In June of 2012, NearAndDearDesigns.etsy.com reached a milestone of 10,000 sales and in just 4 years, we're on track for our 20,000 sales soon! During that time, The Near & Dear Gift Collection was featured in national magazine US Weekly 2012 Valentine Gift guide. The collection was also featured several times in Good Housekeeping Magazine, Cleveland Magazine Best of 2012 and many popular blogs such as Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Style Me Pretty and most recently a featured product on popular Joss & Main.
For the past 5 years, I’ve been designing and producing personalized art prints and custom illustrations for folks all over the world. The Near & Dear Collection has been wildly successful with 18,000+ sales and growing every day. Each and every order is individually designed by yours truly, printed, packaged, matted, framed and shipped from my home studio in Cleveland, Ohio.
OPENING MY ETSY SHOP
Back in 2011, after doing much research on keywords, tags, how Etsy search functions worked and carefully preparing my product description, I finally started listing products. And as I was setting up the initial listings, one sold right out from under me! Sure to be a good sign, right? The collection quickly grew from my own ideas and custom requests and within 2 months I was taking so many orders it became next to impossible to balance my day job. It was apparent that I had a decision to make.
QUIT YOUR DAY JOB
So, I quit my day job and went full steam ahead! I left my cushy in-house graphic design position, complete with cubicle and all. Three months into running my Etsy shop full-time, from home, I received an email from Us Weekly magazine that they featured one of my designs in their Valentine Gift Guide and the issue was due to hit stores a week before the holiday. To be honest, I didn’t think too much of it. In fact, I wasn’t even sure it was real. Oh, but it was… The magazine hit store shelves and it must have been just the right product at just the right time because we sold 923 personalized art prints that month. The next six months to follow we sold 2,500 designs and by the end of the year we had sold 5,000 personalized art prints that year. My husband and I worked day and night to get those orders out the door.
THE NEXT TWO YEARS
Further opportunities for publicity followed throughout the years and my collection has been included in multiple Good Housekeeping gift guides, I've been featured on Style Me Pretty, MSNliving, Cleveland Magazine and many popular design and lifestyle blogs such as Apartment Therapy and the Huffington Post. My most recent Family Portraits were featured in Etsy Finds December email. Business is steady and with years of hard work, many all nighters, lots of coffee and our lives primarily revolving around running this little design biz. Two years later, we purchased a home and tripled our studio space as a direct result of our combined efforts and dedication. It really has been a dream come true!
FIVE YEARS LATER
My Etsy shop has grown with every twist, turn and bump in the road imaginable. The Gift Collection has made a lot of changes over the past four years and so have I. I've grown with Etsy and have been ale to build a successful brand with high customer retention, a lot of word-of-mouth referrals and over 2,000 5-star reviews attesting to my professionalism, attentive customer service and high quality product. Most recently I have licensed a curated group of designs through my art agent A Fresh Bunch and are currently for sale in the Joss and Main Express Yourself collection as well as retail locations.