A Piece of Brittney's Story
Meet Brittney Braemer; a graphic designer and business owner in Kentucky! She quit her full time job to pursue her dreams and opened a shop + studio called Handzy! Read more about the obstacles she's faced, her inspiring business partner, and how her quirky personality rubs off on the people around her!
WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW?
At this very moment?? Sitting at the register in my cutie little shop answering these interview questions! In general we’re designing new holiday cards and launching our wholesale catalog, starting a few new branding projects, and prepping our shop for the holidays!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH!
I graduated from DAAP at UC in 2014 and immediately started working at a large design agency. I learned SO MUCH and met some incredible people, but in the end, it just wasn’t my jam and I felt trapped. I left after 1 year and started out alone but my best gal Suzy joined me after about 5 months. We focused mostly on graphic design and consulting work at first. Then one day we saw a vacant storefront in Covington and decided to look at it “just for fun” but as soon as we walked inside, we knew we had to have it. So we signed a lease and opened the shop 1 month later.
WHAT MADE YOU QUIT YOUR FULL-TIME JOB TO PURSUE YOUR DREAMS?
A non-stop aching in my soul. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true.
TELL US THE NITTY GRITTY, WHAT WAS THAT REALLY LIKE? IT HAD TO TAKE A LOT OF GUTS.
I was so lonely! I was following my heart, I was working hard, I was making money, but I still felt so sad. It’s because I was working all by myself in my studio all day long and I would constantly get stuck in my own head. It wasn’t efficient. Luckily I only had to work like that for a few months before Suzy came on board. She jumped right in and Handzy went from a one woman show to a dynamic duo!
Other than the initial loneliness, it was just a lot of hard work. (Cliché I know) When I quit my full-time job, I had no plan and no savings. I was 100% winging it. I was constantly hustling and networking. I didn’t have health insurance for a few months. It was rough, but also kind of thrilling.
WHEN DID YOU START HANDZY, AND HOW DID IT ALL START?
I started Handzy in May 2015. Basically, I quit my job and I just started doing anything and everything I could think of. I took on freelance gigs. I designed cards, stationery, and art prints. I applied to craft shows and urban fleas. I set up an Etsy shop. I just started doing.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY ROUTINE TYPICALLY LOOK LIKE ON A WEEKDAY?
We start every day at 8am with a walk to the coffee shop and then we have a morning meeting to chat about the day’s happenings. We usually clean up the shop, update the sidewalk sign, post an instagram, and arrange products before opening at 10am. Then we begin our studio work- graphic design and consulting. Our desks are in the back of the space so we can do client work while the shop is open. We have a full-time graphic design intern who can run the shop if we have to step out for a meeting or to run an errand, but sometimes we close the shop completely for a few minutes so we can all go get ice cream together down the street!
HOW DO YOU REPRESENT THE TRAIT QUIRKY? HOW DO YOU FEEL THIS RUBS OFF ON OTHERS?
I just try to be (unapologetically) myself, and I like to think that rubs off on the people around me and makes them feel comfortable just being themselves, too.
ASIDE FROM BEING QUIRKY, WHAT ARE THREE OTHER PERSONALITY TRAITS THAT DESCRIBE YOURSELF AND HOW SO?
Ambitious- I’m a go getter! If I want to do something, I’ll make it happen!
Creative- my brain is always full of ideas. I carry a sketchbook with me at all times so I can jot down ideas on the go!
Bold- I speak my mind and always try to keep it real and honest with my friends and clients. I also have a pretty big laugh.
WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION AND WHY?
My business partner Suzy inspires me everyday! She’s hilarious and talented and makes sure that we always have fun and stay positive! Her tagline is “You’re doing great!”
ALSO, the artists/makers/designers who make the beautiful products we carry in our shop! I love to see their different creative processes and hear the stories behind their work. It’s an honor to carry unique things from such hard-working and passionate people.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES AND GOALS? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS FROM NOW?
I just want Handzy Shop + Studio to grow and evolve and be successful. We’re learning new things all the time, and we just adapt and overcome the obstacles that come with owning a small business. This is truly my dream so I’ll do anything to keep doing it.
WHAT'S THE MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE TO ANOTHER YOUNG WOMAN ABOUT LEAVING THEIR DAY JOBS TO PURSUE THEIR DREAMS?
Do it. Jump in. Don’t make excuses. You’ll find a way. It is worth it.
Check out more from Brittney below!
15 W. Pike St.
Covington, KY 41011