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Shannon Kirsten Couch, 33

Owner and artist, Shannon Kirsten Studio

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  • | 5:00 p.m. October 25, 2018
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  • Class of 2018
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She doesn’t limit herself to one medium. Shannon Kirsten Couch, instead, works in gouache, watercolor and acrylics.

Couch’s illustrations have been featured on items such as greeting cards, notepads and wrapping paper. Her client list includes a host of household names — Hallmark, Trader Joe’s, Urban Outfitters, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, to name a few.

Soon more of her designs will hit the shelves of Anthropologie stores. She’s collaborated with the national chain on designs for two dish towels and two dessert plates.

Customers also purchase Couch’s designs online at Etsy and on her website, as well as in 80 to 90 boutiques across the country.

Couch can often be found at work in her Bradenton studio, illustrating new greeting cards and designing custom wedding invitations. She’s also envisioning ideas for new products and planning to expand more into the stationary and office supply realm.

To get the word out about her designs and gain more clients, Couch regularly attends trade shows. She also has a sales representative working for her in the Pacific Northwest.

The biggest growth in the past year for her company has been in wholesale orders, with companies including Anthropologie ordering her greeting card designs along with other designs.

One key to her business, Couch has found, is to know when to decline opportunities and when to seize them.

“I think in the beginning, when you’re just starting out, at least for what I do with custom projects, you just want to say ‘yes’ to everything,” she says. The chance to build a portfolio and make money presents a strong pull. “But some of those little things really drain your time,” Couch warns.

On the other end of the spectrum, she says, are projects that are a bit of a stretch. “When you get offered these bigger things, I didn’t necessarily feel prepared for all of them, but I knew I just needed to say ‘yes,’” Couch says. “It would be good for my business and I just needed to figure it out.”



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