Julie is the founder/creative director of Saltworks Creative Studio, a curated team of some of the best creatives in the business. She launched Saltworks Paper in 2020, celebrating the creation of authentic, non-digital connection and communication - through the art of letter writing.
She got her start roughly 15 years ago interning with the creative director at SKI Magazine after finishing her design degree from the U of Wisconsin-Madison. She later honed her design skills at Timbuk2 Bags-San Francisco, freelancing, and then landing her dream job at the world-renowned advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy-Portland. She now calls the mountains of Jackson Hole, WY home.
What was the inspiration behind Saltworks Paper?
I've always loved giving and receiving cards and have kept almost all of them. I love that they don't provide instant gratification - you rarely know when or even if, someone received your card - there's something wonderful about that. It's a simple, beautiful, and tactile way of capturing a moment in time and sharing it with someone else.
Each of our cards comes with Designer's Notes on the back to give a little more insight and depth into the meaning behind our designs. We like to deal with complex topics through simple, abstracted designs and patterns.
We love a good hand-written note. What are your hopes for Saltworks Paper?
We are excited to help rekindle the lost art of letter writing through inspiration, written rituals and, of course, beautiful paper.
We've created Thank You Friday's - a weekly email that helps encourage sending a thank you letter every Friday. The act of writing and receiving a card is equally beneficial - developing a new ritual of slowing down and creating something that's tangible and non-disposable.
A few 'Thank You Friday' topics include: the great love letters of history, the psychology of handwriting, how we keep letters, writing a self-love letter, creating a new ritual, and how to write a thank-you note.
How would you describe your creative process?
Visceral. I go in with an idea and some inspiration and start with pen to paper before heading to the computer. I focus on progress over perfection and leaving enough space for the designs to evolve to something I'm excited about.
My designer and I have a lot of fun riffing off of each other's designs at this point. Then stepping away is critical to allow new ideas to flow - for me, it's getting exercise and fresh air in the mountains.
I also have mantra tacked up all over my office and they help give good reminders: "Don't stop until you're proud" "Know what's right, do what's right" "Value over growth" "Yesterday you said tomorrow" "Work hard & be nice to people" "PROOF YOUR WORK" "SPELL CHECK"
Tell us about your freelance work.
Saltworks Creative is a small creative studio comprised of super talented designers, web developers, copywriters, strategists, and photographers. The team shrinks and expands to the needs of the clients.
We do a lot of different work but our niche is branding small start-ups and entrepreneurs.
What impact (if any) does your Side Hustle have on your freelance client work?
The side hustle helps to keep me inspired and more motivated for my client work. It also creates a bit more scarcity of time which helps with my time management.*
*(This is a nice way of putting "the hustle is real" ;)
Favorite place to travel?
Hmmm... Back home to Cleveland, San Francisco, Portland (OR), the lakes of Northern Ontario, NYC, Ellicottville, NY, Amsterdam, and Italy.
Oh gosh, where to begin. Fiction, non-fiction, design book? I love books and am surrounded by them in my home. Some recent ones that I loved: Calypso, Just KidsFavorite design book right now: Small Shop Graphics in Japan, which my sister got me in Tokyo. Non-fiction: Siddhartha. Non-fiction: Big Magic, Daring Greatly & The War of Art
Any advice for aspiring Side Hustlers?
One of the sayings in my office is "I think you should just go for it" - just start. Enjoy the process and just keep learning along the way. Create time for what feels good in your soul.
For me, having a small and solid team to help advise and create along the way has been crucial for me to bring my vision to life. It's exciting, but nerve-wracking putting something out into the world, so having support that you trust and respect is essential.
Oh, and remember to sleep and step away from time to time ;)