Hello! My name is Amanda Franz, and I make custom wedding stationery. My shop is called Wide Eyes Paper Company.
I graduated from college with a degree in graphic design, and at 22, I moved back home to my parents’ house in San Juan Capistrano, CA. When I landed my first graphic design job out of school, I was so thankful, but I also distinctly remember having this restless feeling – I wanted to create something that I could call my own. Then one night in early 2012, I had a defining moment: I was brainstorming ideas with my best friend when I remembered hearing about this site called Etsy. It sounded like a perfect starting point for me, so I started a shop. Little did I know, that moment would change my life forever.
From that point on, day and night, I worked on creating and photographing my own original designs. I spent hours every day researching the market, studying the work of people who inspired me, and trying to home in on what I wanted my brand to represent. All the while, I was fearful of the unknown and wondering if I would ever make it. Within six months of opening my Etsy shop, I decided to quit my job and pursue my business full time. I was still working out of my childhood bedroom without a business plan or an office space; what I did have was a whole lot of heart, passion, and the urge to succeed.
Three years later, I work in an office space in Portland, Oregon. Here, I’m inspired by the simple, raw beauty of nature and the unique people around me. I’m still the same goofy gal who started this business in her childhood bedroom, but now I’m actually living my dream. I can now happily (and humbly!) say that this is what I was destined to do.
My creative process is never perfectly crafted or thought-out. I hardly ever sketch my ideas – I’m way too impatient for that! I prefer to jump straight to the computer and start moving my ideas toward reality. My designs are never finished until I get a special feeling. Sometimes it takes me a long time to get there and I feel like giving up. But when I do finally get there, it’s like I can breathe again. Some people find satisfaction in running a marathon, but in my eyes there really is nothing better than a perfectly lined envelope paired with some solid typography (and an epic glass of vino, to boot). I feel alive when I unleash my creativity, and I have learned through experience that the most challenging things in life are always the most rewarding.
When I think of Etsy, I think of freedom. Etsy has provided a safe place for me to be free and creative and inspired by others — and a way to turn my passion into a career. I have big hopes for the future of my company. My official website will be launching this summer, which is a very exciting next step in my business’s evolution. I also hope to extend my line of services to include branding and design work for other businesses, and I’d like to begin hosting workshops in my studio and mentoring young women who are interested in turning their own passions into careers, too.
All photographs by Jasmine Fitzwilliam of Let’s Frolic Together.