12 May #StandTall: Lauren Dragosetti, art director and typographer
The girl with the handwriting you just wish you had, and how she’s turned it into a business.
Lauren is one of those girls that has a million things going at once, yet never seems overly stressed, and always has a smile on her face. She also has a bit of a double life, where during the day she works as an art director for a glossy magazine, and then at night, she doesn’t just schlump on the couch, she makes a few extra dollars…
Home city: Paddington,
So you have a 9-5 job, but you also have a side business Just Sayin’ Girl, where you write and draw (by hand!) before digitally altering them into artworks. How did you
know you were on to a good idea?
It wasn’t actually me who came up with the idea to create Just Sayin’ Girl – I just happened to show my friend some of my scribbles, and she said I’d be stupid not to start up an Instagram account dedicated to it! Initially I was hesitant – while I’ve always loved lettering and illustrating, typography was just something I did for stress relief. So now I’m pretty much being paid to
relax (would you believe?!), and I never could have dreamt that two years on, I’d go from nothing to having constant business.
have a business plan?
The business side of Just Sayin’ Girl is all about creating custom prints for clients. But really, I barely have time to think, let alone come up with a proper business plan! I work full time at a magazine so I manage what I can business-wise in my spare time. I’m a lot more creatively inclined than entrepreneurial, so hopefully one day I’ll be able to employ someone to handle that side of
things. I do have an eventual business goal, though (as every wannabe-boss-lady should!): to have Just Sayin’ Girl grow to a point where I can make it my full time job. On top of doing the usual Just Sayin’ Girl-style custom quotes, I want to also provide all-round creative services, from graphic design work and illustrations, to producing a line of typography-themed products for online.
your biggest hurdle with your business and how did you overcome it?
The biggest hurdle so far has been getting my name out there in the big world of Instagram. The market for handwritten slogans is a little over-saturated at the moment, and there are plenty of Instagrammers who have similar accounts to mine. So coming up with a point of difference was a real challenge – thankfully I’ve been able to combine graphic design elements and
hand-drawn illustrations with my typography to give it a fresher feel, as well as vary up my handwriting style to offer a broader range of work. Plus, it helps that I’ve been able to do some great collaborations, like with The Lust
List, as well as work on some exciting projects and events with powerhouse brands like Gritty Pretty and Doughnut Time.
What’s the most underrated thing about typography?
The handwritten part! So many people who take a quick glance at my work think I use a handwritten-style font. But it’s so not the case – I sit there handwriting each piece with an old-school pen and paper (or should I say, marker and paper…), and sometimes it takes multiple drafts to get it just the way I want. Then I scan it and digitally edit it, at which point I might also add some fun
graphic design elements to the piece, before it goes up on Instagram.
Who is a woman in the public eye you most
admire and why?
Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal and author of #GIRLBOSS. Whenever you see me reading a book, it’s always a self-help. I’m perpetually that “have to be the best version of myself” type; always wanting to improve and sourcing inspiration from other women. One thing I took from Sophia’s book was that she prides herself in everything she does – so I make sure I pay attention to all the little details in my own “brand”: the labels, the print or card wrapped in tissue, the thank-you note on a letterpress card… It all matters to me. Plus, she’s filled to the brim with good quotes, like this gem: “It never gets easier, you just get better”. This attitude keeps me going day-to-day and when I’m feeling really under the pump.
What’s something you’re really good at… And give
us a tip on how we can be good at it, too!
Meeting a deadline. My life is seriously one constant deadline, especially working in magazines. The secret? Ask anyone and they’ll tell you I’m OCD-level organised. I implement structure in everything I do – from creating priority lists for now, later in the day and tomorrow (something for you to try), to organising my snack drawer so that even M&M’s have their own designated container. It drives my partner insane, but I wouldn’t do life any other way.
What’s your favourite social media site
and your best tip for maximising it?
Instagram, of course! As a creative, it’s difficult to keep everything confined in a square, but at the same time, it allows me to create quick and appealing posts that grab the attention of my followers. A huge tip is knowing how Instagram works – do your research and see the best times to post so you reach a large audience (the morning and evening commute as well as just before bed are typically peak times), while hashtagging your imagery according to what’s regularly viewed in your area of “expertise” (whether it be beauty, interiors or foodie posts) is also key.
How do you juggle everything (full-time
job, a puppy, a partner and a side business) and still keep your shit together?
Like I said, structure! I plan everything, so when I’m at my busiest, I write down a list of everything I need to do and power my way through that list. I also add time with my partner and walking my new puppy to this list. They’re equally as important. Plus, I’m lucky that my partner is very supportive. Not only does he encourage me to continue developing and expanding my side business, but he also understands my schedule and looks after things like the washing and the cooking. (If it were up to me to cook every night, we’d be eating tacos!)
If you had
a chance to share the younger version of yourself some pearls of wisdom, what
would it be?
Share your talent. There will always be some people out there who appreciate what you create – don’t be afraid to let it shine.