Today we meet with Alyssa Forss who specialises in graphic design for pet based businesses over at her website Paws for Design.
Hi Alyssa and welcome. Firstly today, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about where you are based, for example in which country and part of that country? Hi! I’m Alyssa Forss, a 20-something graphic designer with a passion for pets. I am owned by a rambunctious 6 year old miniature poodle named Zeke. I work from my home in Calumet, Michigan. If you haven’t heard of it you’re not alone. We have less than 2,000 people in my little slice of heaven.
Please tell us about your business – which is pet themed – and how it came about? Paws for Design is a graphic design business catering exclusively to businesses in the pet industry. I offer a large range of services including custom logo design, business cards, flyers, social media makeovers and more. It is my mission to create compelling design to grow my client’s pet business.
As for how Paws for Design started, we have to go back to when I first learned my trade. I have been designing almost since I can remember. My father taught me how to use design programs at the tender age of 10. I started working with him on the family business, a multi-media company, soon after. I continued to design for my dad, and more often for my own artistic expressions, until I left home.
At that point I felt the yearning in my heart to work with animals and, quickly found joy in the world of pet grooming. I groomed professionally for 6 years and during that time started my own mobile business. While developing that business I realized that I had just as much fun designing my advertising materials as I did working with my furry clients! So when health issues made it painful for me to continue working as a groomer, I sought to combine my passions and Paws for Design was born!
What first interested you in setting your business up? While I was a groomer, I networked a ton online with my fellow groomers. I saw a real need for affordable graphic design to make these amazing professional businesses, both online and in print, look as good as their grooms did. I did more research and saw that many small businesses in the pet industry needed it as well. So when health issues ended my grooming career, I knew I could stay in the industry I loved and help other wonderful pet businesses grow, thrive, and look great!
How long now have you been established? I recently celebrated Paws for Design’s first year in business on January 5. Hopefully there will be many more to come.
How do you find your inspiration for your designs? I find inspiration in a lot of ways but the biggest one is in talking with my clients about their business, their goals and dreams. It helps me really understand them so that I can create something that feels like a natural fit. I also draw a lot of inspiration from perusing Pinterest.
Tell us a little about your typical day and what is involved in running the business? My days always start off with the short commute to my desk with coffee or chai tea in hand. Pretty much all designers are machines that turn caffeine into art. Next is checking emails, Facebook messages etc and answering them. After that I turn on my favorite Pandora station and get to work on whatever projects I’m currently working on. Intermittently I stop designing to answer emails and messages. If clients want changes I make them and send them back as quickly as possible. When a design is finalized I send invoices via Pay Pal and once they’re paid send over the client’s design file.
If while designing I get a bit of an artistic block I often peruse Pinterest, play with Zeke or just take a break for a bit. When my designing is done for the day, I get on to social media and post any new finished projects or work on upcoming posts. I get a large portion of my clients from Facebook so it’s important for me to keep my page up to date and be active in the many groups I’m on. Finally check emails/messages one more time and my day is done.
Your business takes inspiration from pets – have you always loved animals? Absolutely! The first thing I told my parents I wanted to grow up to be was a vet. I grew up with three cats and our lab Cheyenne. I also rode horses for several years and worked in the barn to pay for my lessons.
As this is Pet Hooligans please tell us a little about any pets that currently live with you and if they ever get into any mischief? My mini poodle Zeke is an only furkid and is spoiled rotten. As he’s grown up he’s gotten less mischievous but when he was a pup he loved to drink my coffee right out of my cup if I left it on the coffee table. The little stinker would hop on the couch then onto the coffee table and just lap up my coffee. One time he drank some of an espresso I had and he was wired for hours. Thankfully he grew out of that habit but I’m still very watchful of my coffee.
Finally, if people want to learn more about you and your business do you have a website, Facebook page or Twitter profile where they can learn more?