Another article in our series of shining the spotlight on small business owners with great stories to share. This time, we had a chat with Jennifer Parr, the business founder and owner of DIYvinci.com. One business with a big idea to elevate the arts, promote creativity, and inspire adults in the process of self-discovery with their creative pursuits.
Creativity is for everyone. This statement is the foundation of Jennifer’s business. She strives to inspire, empower, and connect creatives around the world. The business’s philosophy is rooted in the belief that creativity can unlock your potential, and lead you to self-discovery by expressing your innermost thoughts and emotions.
DIYvinci.com offers art and craft supplies, craft kits, home decor, downloadable patterns, printable coloring pages, graphics, and much more for anyone out to explore their creative side.
Jennifer is also a multimedia artist and a freelance graphic designer, helping businesses create eye-catching and informative graphics for social media and print materials.
I’ve always had an appreciation, love, and need for art that has only grown throughout my life. I’ve experimented with many media including pencil, acrylic paint, pastels, digital drawing, quilling, photography, writing, and graphic and web design just to name a few. My personal artwork can be found at JenParr.com.
A business that also connects artists around the world
On DIYvinci.Studio, we have a free online creative community that helps connect artists from all around the world and of any skill level. This platform also offers various creative courses in which users can learn new skills at their own pace.
The name for DIYvinci was created with the intention of being a unique business name that would focus on art and creativity. It is inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most influential painters in Western art history. The name DIYvinci represents the idea that anyone can be creative and express themselves through various media, just like Leonardo da Vinci did through painting, sculpting, architecture, and science.
The following quotes by Leonardo da Vinci highlight the embodiment of the vision for DIYvinci, in that art and creativity aren’t only skills to be mastered, but are a reflection, connection, and understanding of ourselves.
The painter who draws merely by practice and by eye, without any reason, is like a mirror which copies everything placed in front of it without being conscious of their existence.– Leonardo da Vinci
“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”– Leonardo da Vinci
Everyone wishes they could be a bit more creative, don’t they?
The idea for DIYvinci came to life after hearing from multiple friends and co-workers that they wished that they could be creative, but didn’t believe they had the ability to. It is a common belief that if you aren’t born with talent, then it is impossible to participate in creative endeavors. I firmly believe that this isn’t true and that we are all born with the capacity to utilize our creativity.
I believe this limiting mindset comes from either not having the direction they need to begin to learn, or from self-doubt built over years of previous “failures” and fear of rejection. To help others overcome this barrier, my solution was to create kits that showed exactly how to create a finished project. This offers reassurance to those who are trying something new and proves to them that they can create. DIYvinci Studio was later added to further assist those wanting to learn by offering a community to turn to, instead of trying to figure it all out on their own.
Art is about the process of self-discovery, confidence building, and healing
I’ve often been asked why I feel it is important for others to explore their creativity. Everyone’s art journey begins in different ways. Some are looking for a hobby to keep them busy, while others prefer to learn skills that may someday turn into a new career path. While these reasons are true for me, creating art has been so much more. To me, it’s a process of self-discovery, confidence-building, and healing.
It wasn’t until age 30 that I was finally able to put a name to my lifelong struggles. I discovered I am autistic, ADHD, Dyslexic, and Dyspraxic. Art is both meditative and therapeutic. I love developing ideas and concepts for artwork that focus on a particular emotion or subject that is important to me. Tapping into my creativity has been such a blessing and has become a passion of mine to help others discover their creative voice.
DIYvinci is for those who are wanting to use art as a means of self-expression, and to better understand how they can convey their emotions and thoughts in the form of a visual language. It is also for those who are seeking ways to slow down from a fast-paced busy life, and want to release the build-up of stress to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
For a great cause: Helping creative autistics earn an income from what they love to do
DIYvinci promotes the development and exploration of creativity as a visual language and means of self-expression, and as a way to connect to others from all types of backgrounds.
As a late-diagnosed autistic woman, art and creativity is more than simply a pastime hobby for me; it’s a way to regulate myself, discover who I am, and to express my emotions in ways that I am unable to with words. Autistics are frequently misunderstood and left behind by society in general, including in school and workplaces. However, many of us find solace in our interests.
One interest I have noticed to be somewhat common among other autistics is the spark to express our creativity through art. Yet, as many as 85% of autistic adults are unemployed and underemployed, despite having great initiative and skillsets.
This is why I decided to start the Artistic Autistic program in DIYvinci. This new program’s goal is to help creative autistics earn an income from what they love to do. I have plans to expand this program in the near future and possibly partner with another company that has a similar vision. More info can be found at: https://diyvinci.com/artistic-autistics/
As a business owner, one must wear many hats…
One of the toughest parts of running a business is needing to wear many hats as a business owner. Not only do I have to focus on the administrative side of the business such as finance, marketing, purchasing/inventory, web maintenance, strategy, and networking, but also on product creation, providing value, and connecting with and supporting our audience. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in one aspect of the business and neglect another area, which can quickly cause issues to arise. It is essential to find processes to speed up or automate everyday tasks so this doesn’t happen.
Thoughts on design and VistaCreate as a go-to tool
I view design as not only something that is pretty or eye-catching, but also conveys a message that resonates with the audience. I believe there is a fine balance between discovering your brand style that fits the visual voice of the company and being too rigid on sticking to all brand styles. Allowing yourself to explore new styles gives you the chance to discover new options to express your vision in ways you may not have previously considered.
I discovered VistaCreate at a time when I was really struggling with creating social media content for DIYvinci. I felt that our social content was falling flat and I personally felt rather uninspired to create a design. VistaCreate helped me discover new ways to design the content that began to match the message I was trying to convey.
I began to use VistaCreate to design mini mood boards. I then published these mood boards to our social channels and groups as a way to encourage and inspire others to create an art piece or craft related to the content on the mood board. Not only was this a way to engage our audience, but it was a way to put our mission into practice.
I typically utilize VistaCreate on a daily basis, creating graphics for social media posts for my business and/or freelance tasks. I also frequently use it to create product graphics for our product images in marketplaces such as Etsy. I also design Instagram posts and carousels which may be static, animated, Facebook posts, Facebook cover graphics, PDF worksheets for online courses, and cover graphics for product images.
The themes I work with the most for graphics on DIYvinci usually include an overall creative feel. They may have torn paper edges and paint or doodle elements giving the overall feeling of being lighthearted, inspiring, or even whimsical. I often find myself using templates from the business, photo, or quote selections. I’ll also use illustrations, interface mockups, and product mockups especially when creating marketing material.
Hands down, the top tools from VistaCreate
Background Removal – This tool easily removes the background from the main object in a photo. I love this because before this type of technology wasn’t available, it would take hours to accomplish a similar effect in programs like Photoshop.
Sticker maker – This tool is one of my new favorites! Being a creative business, stickers are a part of what we sell and fit our brands aesthetic. This tool makes it super simple to add an outline to an isolated object.
Brand kit – Even though I am the one who created our branding, I don’t always have the hex numbers memorized. It’s great to be able to store a variety of brand colors, font styles, and logos. It makes it simple to quickly grab what you need to create, without always having to refer back to your brand guide.
Folder organization – Due to the wide variety of graphics I create with VistaCreate, the folder organization helps dramatically. It’s simple to create a folder for different product photos, stock images, custom graphics, and more. Also being able to organize designs into folders helps to quickly find previously designed templates.
Templates – While I usually have an idea of what I want to create before I even open VistaCreate, having a premade template that is somewhat close to what I’m envisioning is a huge time saver. I can simply open a template, make a few adjustments, and then download the design in a matter of minutes instead of hours.
Upload your own SVGs – I love being able to upload more than JPEG and PNG images. SVGs allow me to change the color of the vector image right in VistaCreate, instead of having to take it back to another program to make a small change.
Stock images, objects – The wide range of stock images, objects, illustrations, and video elements are an amazing asset to VistaCreate. It’s a huge time saver to be able to find something you need for your design right in the application, instead of having to source it from elsewhere.
Animation – I believe creating animated social graphics should be simple. VistaCreate does a great job of keeping it simple, but allowing users to create fun animated graphics.
Quick Resize – It’s very common for me to need a design in multiple sizes such as for Instagram, Facebook, or as a web banner. The quick resize option lets me take an existing design and quickly transform it into any size that I need. I usually only have to make a few small adjustments instead of having to start from scratch which is a huge time saver.
High impact design
Since DIYvinci is a creative business, I find design to be an essential part of our company and message. We want to inspire creativity not only with the products we offer, but through all of our content channels. Creating visuals that are impactful help us explain concepts in a visual and relatable way that also helps increase our visibility among the audience we are aiming to reach.
A plethora of inspiration
The best part of having a tool like VistaCreate to help me create visuals for DIYvinci are the time-saving factors, the plethora of inspiration, and the overall user-friendly platform.
My advice would be to organize your designs in files because you’ll be addicted to creating a lot more! Having your designs, files, and graphics scattered everywhere will just cause you frustration when trying to find what you need.
When you’re a small business owner wearing multiple hats, using a tool like VistaCreate that saves time is crucial. You also don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to be able to develop good designs for your company. VistaCreate is a great way to experiment with different styles for your brand, and to even develop a better understanding of your business overall through a visual language.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! VistaCreate support is awesome! I once was having trouble downloading a large animated social graphic and the customer support agent was able to quickly find out why and downloaded it for me.
Read more stories from our power users from the series:
- Boo’s Toy Shop, a small business by Charlotte Polley
- Bonjour Quilts, a quilt pattern business by Kirsty Cleverly
- Rick Blyth, the founder of his own brand that helps software developers get started building their own profitable Micro SaaS apps
- Content Perfection, a content marketing business by Lisa Harvey