One of the things I love most about TypeA Parent conferences is the warm and welcoming attitude of the organizers, speakers and other attendees. Steph Calvert is no exception. She was the friendly face I sat down next to during a hands-on workshop about creating a media kit. Lucky for me, Steph’s a talented graphic designer! Instead of taking notes, she was writing and designing her kit during the workshop as the speaker covered each step. It was fascinating to watch her work and see what she could accomplish in a two-hour session that left me with nothing but a notebook full of tasks that it took me months to decipher and execute after returning home.
Meet Featured Member Steph Calvert
Business Name: Hearts and Laserbeams
Business Description: We work with small businesses looking to take their web design, graphic design, and illustration projects to the next level.
Steph’s Story: Hearts and Laserbeams has been around since late 2006. It started as an indie crafting venture on Etsy, a side project outside my full-time graphic design work where I could create funny, light-hearted one of a kind art pieces. My husband and I sold my crafts at a variety of shows across southern California, from Felt Club and Bazaar Bizarre to Unique LA and Patchwork.
Design for my own clients has always been a part of the business, but in the beginning it took a back burner. I saw Hearts and Laserbeams as a creative outlet outside of work.
In 2010, everything changed. My husband and I found out we were expecting our son, Phil. I was working full time as a t-shirt graphic designer & illustrator in downtown Los Angeles. As someone who had a vast amount of design experience, I was able to negotiate a 100% telecommuting setup to eliminate the long train commute from Long Beach to downtown LA. The setup began months before I went on maternity leave. My art director loved my work; my designs were getting the company sales at stores like Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters. Life was good. No. Life was *great*.
I went on maternity leave and came back to a position that was vastly different from the one I left behind. I returned to a new art director who hated my telecommuting status, no matter how well it worked. She made it extremely clear how much she disliked me because of it from the second I started working for her. Working for this new unprofessional art director was a horrible fit. The stress it put on me and my family… with a newborn… I couldn’t stay there and I knew it. Something had to change immediately.
The next day, I started emailing everyone I knew. Old co-workers, ex-bosses, everyone. Who had design work for me? Was there enough to keep our bills paid? I had lengthy tear-filled conversations with my husband.
On December 1, 2010 I became 100% self employed with Hearts and Laserbeams and haven’t looked back. The second this happened, any part of the business that wasn’t generating actual, real, bill-paying money went out the window. Crafts never paid my bills, so our focus changed to providing stellar design and illustration services to large corporations, small businesses, and individuals alike. Hearts and Laserbeams continues to succeed because I work my butt off for my clients. I’m a pit bull for deadlines, friendly customer-service driven communication, and results. We work with clients all over the United States, and love to meet in person with customers in the Savannah, Georgia area.
“Pray to catch the bus, then run as fast as you can.” ― Julia Cameron
Hobbies, interests, gifts: I love, love, love to draw. Outside of work, my family enjoys raising chickens on our farm, cooking together, and playing hide and seek. (We have littles in the house, so that last one is a favorite.)
Steph’s Family: I share my Savannah, GA area home with my husband Josh, 3 1/2 year old son Phil, and 3 month old daughter Joy.
Greatest challenge as a mompreneur: Taking two months off for maternity leave when Joy was born was amazing, but getting the web design project calendar filled up since getting back into the office has been a challenge. I’m constantly networking with potential web design clients to really turn that around, and always appreciate referrals.
Advice for other mom entrepreneurs: Never give up – as hard as it might be sometimes to do what we do… It is SO worth it.
Why I love being a part of the Christian Mompreneur Sisterhood: It just really gives me peace of mind to know this support exists, and that there’s other ladies out there making it happen. It’s like a Pink Floyd song once said – “Together we stand, divided we fall.”
Website: Hearts and Laserbeams
Facebook: Hearts and Laserbeams
LinkedIn: Steph Calvert