An Artist at Work

Sophomore Starts Business During COVID-19 to Pass Time

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Photo courtesy of Claire Poulter Poulter

With carefully painted covers, sophomore Claire Poulter showcases some of her favorite greeting cards she made since she began her business. Poulter started Elizabeth Illustrations at the beginning of quarantine because she had a lot of time on her hands and wanted to do something that she was passionate about. “All of my vinyls are commissioned pieces so most of them are designs that people come up with themselves,” Poulter said. “Whereas cards are almost all my own designs, unless someone orders a custom one, in which case I paint whatever I want. And I’ll look for inspiration anywhere really, but a lot of my favorite cards have come from my friends and families ideas.”

Rachana Kommineni, Reporter

During quarantine, many have been cooped up at home due to  COVID-19. While some binge-watched Netflix, exercised, or picked up new hobbies, some people were productive and started their own businesses. 

One of these people is sophomore Claire Poulter who created her business called Elizabeth Illustrations. Her business specializes in making greeting cards with her own watercolor designs and painting vinyl records. The idea to create a business came after several requests by family members to make greeting cards. 

“At the beginning of quarantine, I had a large amount of time on my hands and one of my family members wanted me to make some cards for them, and it just grew from there,” Poulter said.  “At first, it was just me painting for fun, and selling it to friends and family, but I began to get more business so I created a website and Etsy shop.”

Claire has been doing art from a young age and took up the hobby quickly. Due to her passion for art and creativity, Poulter said she wishes to do it as often as possible, but wasn’t able until school became virtual. 

“I’ve always loved art and have been drawing as long as I can remember, but didn’t really have time for it before quarantine started this past year,” Poulter said. 

Poulter holds one of the vinyls she was commissioned to paint. Photo Courtesy of Claire Poulter.

After Poulter realized that she could make money from her greeting cards and painted vinyl records, she began researching the materials she needed. She followed YouTube videos and tried making them unique to her. 

“I researched what materials I would need, got a Photoshop subscription and went to work making designs for Father’s Day,” Poulter said. “I watched a YouTube video with this couple that runs a greeting card business and bought most of the same materials that they have. Normally for gathering materials, I look for the cheapest option, then look at the reviews to make sure it’s a quality product. If it’s not, I’ll look into one of the more expensive choices.” 

Poulter said that time management and growing her following was a huge issue. Gaining followers was difficult at first because only her friends and family knew about her business, but once she started interacting with other people’s content, it became a lot easier. 

“Time management was definitely one of the things I struggled with the most, like prioritizing and finding the motivation to do the actual work,” Poulter said. “Growing my audience on social media platforms was also difficult and takes more effort than you would think.”

Claire enjoys bringing people happiness through her artwork. She feels happy that she can make money doing something she loves.

“My favorite part of my business is being able to have fun creating and painting and getting paid for it. It’s really a dream job in that way,” Poulter said.

For students looking to create a business of their own, Poulter advises people to always be on the lookout for opportunities and prioritize customer satisfaction. 

“Don’t compare your success to others,” Poulter said. “Constantly look for opportunities, and the most important, something that my mom always says, is be generous. Relationships you make are really important, you want people to always walk away from their interactions with your business feeling happy.”