Willow lives in Fertile, Minnesota. She knew historical photos were popular there. So she designed a mug featuring landmarks and objects related to Fertile’s history. Word spread quickly, and requests for the mugs poured in. Willow made an online store to keep up with the demand.
Willow’s second mug design was for Gary, Minnesota, where some of her family lives. But leaders in other small towns soon took notice. They started hiring her to make custom designs.
“They give me a list of things that are important to them or they want included,” explains Willow. Then she gets to work on a design. Willow decided to invest in a tablet to make this process easier. Making her artwork digitally saves her money on brushes and paints.
First Willow makes a sketch. She sends it to the town leaders for their feedback. She uses their suggestions to finish the illustration. Then she sends it back one more time to make sure everything is correct. Then it’s ready to print! For big orders, Willow orders the mugs from a printing company. “But if it’s a smaller order under 15, I have a printing press so I can print my own,” she explains.