I'm a mom. I'm a wife. I'm a designer. I'm a native to SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, and now reside about 70 miles outside of NYC, in suburban CONNECTICUT.
Since I can remember, art been a part of my life. As a child, drawing was my favorite pastime. When I was about ten years old I wanted to be a fashion designer, even sketching several collections under the brand I called Elan Designs.
Later, my passion became interior design which I intended to major in at college. As a senior in high school I attended a career mentoring appointment with a local (and jaded) interior designer. That appointment completely changed my decision to go into the field. I decided, instead, to pursue my second love, graphic design. I was lucky enough to have been exposed to the art form in junior high and high school through letterpress, printmaking, computer aided graphic design and calligraphy classes. The first logo I ever designed was when I was 14 years old on an original Macintosh computer and printed on a letterpress that was in our classroom.
Graduating from college with degrees in graphic design and psychology, and working as a student designer on campus for three years, I was able to develop a strong sense of design as well as business skills before ever hitting the workforce. My first job, was as a graphic designer in the corporate offices of Sur La Table, in Seattle. I quickly worked my way up to Art Director then Creative Director in the kitchenware industry before leaving corporate marketing + creative work to be a full-time mom and part-time freelance designer.
In 2002, shortly after having our daughter, a previous colleague contacted me to develop a brand for their new business. Amy Heller Design was established.
Between 2002 and 2006, I worked with a variety of companies doing brand development; specializing in high-end/gourmet consumers. Designing everything from logos and collateral, to packaging and websites. As a well-rounded freelancer, with business and marketing experience that took me around the globe, I was able to create brands for a wide variety of companies. My freelance industries included: gourmet pet food, boutique wine, spa skin care as well as kitchenware. (see portfolio here)
Our little family moved to the East Coast in 2004 so my husband could attend graduate school. We had our baby boy in 2006. This sequence of events, and now having two young children, changed the trajectory of my freelance business.
In 2008, I wanted a creative outlet that would enable me to be artistic but flexible enough to continue to care for our two young children full-time. My life course had changed from being a career woman to a mom and I was now interested in incorporating the love of our growing family into my work. A friend suggested searching for scrapbooking blogs online. I recalled visiting a scrapbook store in 2002 to purchase colored grommets (eyelets) for use on some self-promotion mailers and remembered how I loved all of the fun stationary-like items. As I began researching blogs, my excitement grew. Scrapbooking had come so far! It was cool. It was well-designed. It was artistic. It was my next chapter.
In 2008, I began designing cards and (reluctantly) started a blog to enter my designs into
a variety of challenge websites so I could gauge my skills. To my surprise, I did well - really well. So I blogged more, and started submitting my creations into publication calls. I began to gain recognition in the industry through the publications and was soon working for a variety of manufacturers as a card designer. The experience and recognition in card design gave me the confidence I needed to start scrapbooking for the industry. Within a year of starting my scrapbooking adventure, I was hired at Two Peas in a Bucket as a Garden Girl, the then industry-leading online retailer of scrapbooking products. As a Garden Girl, I taught two successful e-courses- one on color theory and the other on seasonal scrapbooking. It was during this time when things really started to take off for my new career in the crafting industry.
GRAPHIC DESIGN + SCRAPBOOKING
In 2012, then manufacturer, Lily Bee Design, contacted me to be their Design Team + Social Media Coordinator. The role grew quickly. I re-designed Lily Bee's online and social media presence and then was asked to create a collection for launch at CHA, Winter 2012. The timing did not work out for that collection, but the following year my first physical collection was released. Urban Autumn debuted in October 2013 for the Lily Bee Design + Amy Heller Design brands. It was at this point, that my work had come full circle, and I decided that Amy Heller Design was about to be re-born.
HIATUS, COMING BACK + STARTING OVER
During 2013-2014 I took a an/off type hiatus from working to focus on my family and take care of myself after a devastating trauma. It was during that time that a lot of soul searching was done.
NITT + GRIT
In 2013/2014 I had an idea. However, I wasn't sure how to go about implementing it. The idea was true, authentic, self-documentation that was an alternative to just the celebrating of the good things in life. It was to document those life changing, events stories and gritty truth that everyone deals with. In 2015, I was ready to return to working in design. I wasn't entire sure about the craft and hobby industry, because it didn't represent me or my life any longer, however, I still was drawn to it and the concept of life documentation, so I started working again. It was during this time that I began to formulate how my concept would materialize. In August 2016 I decided on the name Nitt + Grit and the first collection was launched February 2017. To read more about Nitt + Grit - head to the brand page, here.