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Featured Shop: MakeMediaCo.

Kelley Johnson March 31, 2021 · 7 min read
Hi there! My name is Callie Hegstrom. I live in Littleton, Colorado with my wonderful husband and darling 2-year-old son. I’m also the designer behind the vectors, textures, and graphic elements of MakeMediaCo. (est. September 2013). Callie2 CallieFam

A Creative Beginning

It’s really no wonder that I landed myself in a creative profession. My mother was a fine artist and crafter. My uncle was a jewelry maker and glass blower. I suppose creativity just runs in my family. My childhood was marked by countless hours with a sketchpad and pencils: quietly and meticulously recreating my favorite storybook characters, stuffed animals and household items. Quite honestly, I’ve always wanted a creative career, but I also desperately feared becoming a “starving artist”. I’m not much of a risk-taker, so, out of fear of failure, I initially opted for a “safer” career path in PR & Marketing. Doodle

Falling In Love

It wasn’t until several years (and several jobs) later, that I fell into designing show posters for a Montana theater company. It happened completely by chance, and it was the epitome of “FREE-lance”, but it just felt right. Eventually, theater posters evolved into crafting newspaper print ads. Then the custom work requests began trickling in. That was it. I was hooked. It wasn’t long before I began attending art classes to polish my budding skill-set, and shortly thereafter, my business was born. Eight years later, and I’m still excited to brew a pot of coffee, settle into my desk, and fire up the iMac. Desk Simply, graphic design is what I love, and what I’m pretty good at. Early on, I tried my hand at web design, but coding isn’t really one of my strong suits. Though I did build websites for several years, it was the print work and branding projects that inspired me most. I’m very visual; the type who would rather watch a movie than read a book (unless there are pictures, of course). So, writing HTML and staying proficient at new programming languages was quite an undertaking. It was rather apparent that I needed to remove web design from my repertoire of services. From then on, I poured nearly all of my energy into building a reputation as a graphic designer. A decision, for which I have no regrets. Work

Originally, I had hoped to work for an ad agency or a design firm, but when I first started out in 2006, design jobs were few and far between. I knew I should probably freelance until I found something more stable, so my company was essentially born out of necessity.

Getting Started

Let me tell you, getting started was tough. It took a while, but ultimately, landing one good client would often turn into two or three. A happy customer would spread the word and commission more work. My portfolio became larger, more professional, and more diverse. Over time, I developed some pretty amazing clientele and a pretty decent portfolio to boot. But freelancing is almost never consistent. I’ve found that work comes in waves; either your phone is ringing off the hook, or you’re hearing crickets. During my downtime, I started selling Photoshop templates and other assets on another stock site, but it wasn’t long before I landed on Creative Market. I posted my first product on September 10th, 2013, and it’s been an incredible, exciting, and life-changing journey ever since. CallieShop

Changing the Game

Creative Market has been an absolute game-changer for my self, my business, and my family. Nine months ago, I was almost completely unknown in the design community. Creative Market has provided the platform, to not only showcase my work, but to earn a living from it as well.

The community here is also like none other. Suddenly, I have a few thousand, insanely-talented coworkers within just an arms-reach. I can talk to anyone, and have no qualms about asking a fellow shop owner for software help, design advice, or even sending out a few product demos for others to test. It’s also an incredible avenue for buyer feedback. I’m constantly asking people to tell me what they want to see next, and more often than not, I’m able to fill those requests. In addition, the Creative Market staff is truly exceptional. They’re highly professional, yet fun and friendly, and have a genuine interest in seeing their shop owners succeed. It goes without saying that Creative Market is top notch. It’s really quite humbling to be part of such a movement. I can’t thank everyone here enough.

It’s pretty clear what a powerful tool Creative Market has become for thousands of shop owners and nearly 400,000 members. Before opening my shop, I didn’t have a mission statement. Using this platform has unequivocally shaped how I operate, what I design, and where I see myself long-term. I’m now learning new software, treading in unfamiliar territory, and venturing a little outside my comfort zone in the hope of becoming a better designer, and pioneering a few cool, new products along the way.

Trending: Typography and Hand-illustration

At the moment, hand-illustration and typography are such exciting, innovating and inspiring trends. Almost overnight, graphic designers are turning into illustrators. Illustrators are becoming adept at hand-lettering. Hand-lettering masters are evolving into font designers. There’s just no stopping this movement. I know design trends come and go, but I really can’t see an end in sight. I can only hope I’m right.

Fonts, Fonts, and More Fonts

Obviously, I’m a bit of a typography lover. You guys are in trouble now. We could be here for a while… In all seriousness though, fonts are such a treat! Let me just say, I’ve always had a love for Sudtipos fonts. I can’t explain it. I just gravitate to them. Calgary Script is still one of my ‘go-to’ favorites. Lately, I also really love CultivatedMind, Yellow Design Studio, and the fun styles of Kimberly Geswein. They’ve all taken a lot of my money.

Font design is actually my “new baby.” In fact, I have a few typefaces ready to go. It just seemed like a pretty natural progression for me, and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. Plus, it’s insanely gratifying to watch your lettering come to life. I have a feeling this process is going to become quite addicting. And after having tested the waters of font creation, I certainly have a new respect for type designers everywhere. I applaud your patience, skill set, and dedication. Bravo my friends. Bravo.

A Word of Encouragement

Let me offer up some friendly advice and encouragement for current and future Creative Market shop owners. Don’t second-guess your products and don’t worry if success doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes you’re going to hit a home run, other times you’re going to strike out. Regardless, keep designing, pushing boundaries, and releasing unique, high-quality items. Find inspiration and techniques that set your work apart and don’t waste your time rehashing other successful products. Find your niche, work hard, and be a pioneer in your craft. It won’t happen overnight, but if you do this, I promise you’ll find success. Remember, the devil is in the details, presentation is everything, and always make things people love.
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About the Author
Kelley Johnson

I’m an ex-schoolmarm who is excited about all things creative. Photography makes me smile and when I find a new-to-me dress that fits just right, it makes my day.

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  • What an inspiring article, @Callie Hegstrom ! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's been great to watch your success on Creative Market. :) I can't wait to see what you come up with next, especially the fonts! 8 years ago
  • Great items, love this post, so many points that you touched on that I can relate to, Creative Market is really helping bring those creative dreams to life more and more each day. Stay creative ! 8 years ago
  • Easily one of my favorite shops. Great work @Callie Hegstrom! 8 years ago
  • Loved the word of encouragement Callie! You have me motivated for days. Great shop to feature, really enjoyed hearing your journey so far. Keep up the good work! 8 years ago
  • Congrats on the feature Callie! Your store is always updating with awesome new products, and I love the amount of fun / life that all of your products have. 8 years ago
  • schweetness! I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party. 8 years ago
  • Thank so much @Jerome Collinge, @FilterGrade, & @Matt Borchert! Ha ha! @Derek Stevenson! Thanks for the beverage tip! :) 8 years ago
  • Wow, @Callie Hegstrom - that would be super cool! I've just sent you a PM. :) 8 years ago
  • I love your story and sense of style! Looking forward to seeing your new fonts and other amazing designs. Although I'm new here, I can see that this is an awesome community. Loved your advice and encouragement too! 8 years ago
  • Great work, @Callie Hegstrom, and a really nice interview as well. 8 years ago
  • Great interview, @Callie Hegstrom! Keep up the good work! 8 years ago
  • @Callie Hegstrom Big fan of your work :) Really enjoyed reading this feature, and wish you continued success! 8 years ago
  • What a creative fuel it has given to me! Great motivation post! Thanks! 8 years ago
  • Thank you @Mike McDonald, @Gerren Lamson, @Shelly Laslo and [@Matej Ilčík](user:341563)! You're all too kind! :) 8 years ago
  • Thank you for this article, is so inspiring! 8 years ago
  • Thanks @Mia Charro! I just love your work! ;) 8 years ago
  • Love your work! 7 years ago
  • Isn't it funny how those "safer" career paths often end up being anything but safe? I'm so glad you kept working at finding a career you could fall in love with! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us @Callie Hegstrom :) 7 years ago
  • Thanks for taking the time to write this, Callie! Keep sending me your licensing questions ;) They provide 500 calories each and help me to survive. 7 years ago
  • Love it! I'm a huge fan of your work, @Callie Hegstrom, keep it up :-) 7 years ago
  • Thanks @Kelley Johnson! I couldn't have done this without you! ;) 7 years ago
  • Thanks @Greg Corby! I'm workin' hard for you guys! Have some good stuff coming up in the very near future! :) 7 years ago
  • Oh @Ken Weaver! Be careful what you wish for. ;) I'm sure there will be PLENTY of license questions in your near future. Buckle up and get caffeinated my friend. :) 7 years ago
  • Ready! :) 7 years ago
  • I've been following your work for a while. :) This was a great read, and also inspiring. I've been meaning to get back into hand drawn illustration for some time now. Guess there's no time like the present. :) 7 years ago
  • So inspiring. I'm right at the very beginning of my career, but hearing your story has helped me see that sometimes you just need to go where your heart tells you to go. I've been half-heartedly doodling things for years; maybe it's time I stopped considering and started doing. Thanks for sharing :) 7 years ago
  • Woah. @Callie Hegstrom I can't believe I'm just reading this and realizing the crazy things we have in common. I took the safe, aka boring, route of PR & Marketing too. Discovered I could actually use Photoshop and never looked back. I have a little 1.5 year old helper (ahem... cute distraction) and am the type of gal who'd rather buy a font than blow money at the mall. Anywhoo... just had to share the crazy similarities. Your success is inspiring! 7 years ago
  • So nice to get to know the person behind the great designs I purchased. Love your work! 7 years ago
  • Hi miss @Angie Baldelomar! That's so cool that we started the same way! PR and marketing was fun, but my heart lies in the design world. Too bad, I'm probably super socially awkward now that I've been working at home for so long. Must. Get. Out. More. ;) Eighteen months is such a great age! Little ones really are such cute distractions. I will say that kids make you super good at multi-tasking. These days I can cook a meal, answer an email, fix a toy truck and put on makeup at the same time. Ninja skills, I tell you. lol. ;) I've been an admirer of your work for a long time now. You're one talented lady! If you ever get to Colorado, we should grab a coffee and 'talk shop.' I have yet to meet anybody from CM in person, but it's gonna happen one of these days! I'm on a mission. ;) 7 years ago
  • Thanks so much [@Charlie O'Brien](user:259242). I honestly didn't know folks still read this interview. So cool! 7 years ago
  • Super interview Callie! A wonderful and inspirational story you have shared with us. Love-love your work!! 6 years ago
  • I love your stuff, keep creating, and we will keep buying! What a great story! 6 years ago
  • Just read it, such an amazing insight ! 6 years ago
  • I know this sounds lame, but this article was so inspiring to me! Everything you said I can relate to: I also started out with web design and realized the complexity of the coding was too much for me. I also have a special love for graphic design and have also done plenty of “free”lance work and I am currently working at a newspaper/magazine publisher where I’m working on print ads. Lots of similarities! I hope I can be as successful as you some day. Your work is great! 5 years ago