Leah Longueville, the woman behind Polished Prints, shares how she got started, her passion, and words of encouragement.
Tell me about your work:
I do freelance marketing and design by day, but in my ‘spare time’ (ha!) I run a little brand called Polished Prints. Polished Prints is a lifestyle brand that focuses on simple, modern designs for women and kiddos. Our designs are ‘inspired by the good in all of us’, and each boast a simple saying or illustration that tends to hold a much greater meaning. Each piece is designed and handprinted in house.
How did you get started?
I started Polished Prints as an Etsy shop when I was pregnant with my daughter. The shop focused entirely on stationery and paper goods, and my customers were primarily friends and family members. After having my daughter, the shop went on a bit of a hiatus. I actually thought about closing it down, but then a friend asked to design a onesie for her. Apparel was a new venture to me, but something instantly clicked and the creative bug just took over. It wasn’t long before I started investing more time in my Etsy and promoting the different designs on Instagram.
In February of this year is when I really ventured into kids tees, then adult tees and totes. After feeling motivated by the positive feedback I was getting from the designs, I decided to launch my own online store, which is currently entering its second month. I still continue to print each piece in our guest bedroom and package each order by hand. Even as the shop has grown, I just love being able to add that personal touch to everything that comes out of our shop.
What is your favorite part of your work?
While I love the art of actually making the shirts, I think the greatest reward is hearing how the pieces resonate with other people. I’ve had so many women post pictures of themselves in the tees and use it as a foundation to talk about their own views. Some share about parenting, others share about general human rights, some focus on global issues.. it’s really cool to have played such a small role in giving people a reason to share their story.
What has been the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn?
Oh man, where do I start? I would say probably to be more intentional about the materials I use. Especially when picking up a new craft, it’s always important to do your research and find manufacturers you can trust.
How do you rejuvenate?
Unplugging. I’ve found that when I’m feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, simply stepping away from my phone or my computer for a few hours can do wonders to my mental space.
Where do you find inspiration?
Gosh … everywhere. We’re all surrounded by so many incredibly talented people I feel like I’m constantly amazed by what other people are doing. On the virtual end, I also feel like I find so much on Pinterest!
Who do you look up to?
It’s hard to pin that down because I feel like I’m surrounded by so many incredible women. My grandma is a good one. She came from very little and hustled her way into having an incredibly successful career. Without any higher education, she started her own business in her late 20s because she wanted a job flexible enough to keep her daughter (my aunt) at home. In addition, my mom, my aunt and my sister-in-law are all flourishing entrepreneurs who I continue to learn from every day.
What is your best advice to women pursuing their passion?
Pursuing your dreams is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. It’s okay to feel scared. It’s okay to feel exhausted. But it’s also okay to give yourself some credit and praise every once in awhile. You’re killin’ it!
Where is your favorite place in Central Illinois?
Gosh, there are so many great places! I would have to say Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch. There’s just something so magical about real, live reindeer kisses.