Creativity Unleashed



We're sitting down with the Artist and Creator of Tailgate Pups, Maddie Miller.

Since she was a kid, Maddie has always loved art and as an adult, the passion never went away. From doodling and painting on the side while attending grad school to a post that went viral, Maddie shares with us her story of going off the path she was on and running straight towards her passions (and Pups!) resulting in her growing business, Tailgate Pups!


Connect With Maddie:

Website

Instagram: @maddieandthepups @tailgatepups


Mentioned In The Episode:

🛍️ : Tailgate Pups

📺 : The Office

📱 : PROcreate

🧠 : NAMI.org





Interview with Maddie Miller:

*Text has been edited for clarity


Leanne: So we met at a party last winter. And I think you were still teaching at the time. But you were telling me all about this passion project side hustle that you were doing and it had just exploded. Being a fellow lady entrepreneur, I had, so much respect for that and I was so excited. So we're really excited to talk with you today.

Maddie Miller: Well, thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

Calla: We love when women take risks and follow their passion. So I just want to know, how did this whole thing even start?

Maddie Miller: I've done art my whole life. My mom, my grandma, they were always like, you were two years old, drawing and painting. I just have always been that way. Being a woman, you're kind of told, like, Oh, you can't pursue a creative field sometimes. It's better to get a job that you know, provides money. My parents have always been really supportive. So it wasn't them, because they know that I've been creative my whole life. But like, you just, you know, you go to college, and you're kind of trying to find yourself and I changed majors several times. I was finally like, Okay, I'm going to be a teacher. I had worked in daycares and stuff. I was like, oh, kids, like, this is fun, you know? And I got all the way through student teaching. And I remember, calling my mom and saying, "I hate this." I enjoyed teaching when I did it, but it just wasn't my ultimate passion. I did have fun with it. But I always was doing the art stuff on the side. And so, at first, I started doing watercolor paintings. I would paint people's pets or I did some house portraits for realtors and stuff in the area. Stuff like that. I was kind of doing that through college. And then when I started teaching, it was just a fun thing I did on the side. And then, I started going to grad school, and I was going to school, because I was teaching special education at the time, and I was going to school to be a behavior therapist.

Leanne: Kudos to you.

Maddie Miller: Thank you. My mom teaches as well, it was kind of like, Oh, this is the right path for me. And in education, I felt like that was what I was going to do. And I would be in my online like grad school classes, and I would be working on paintings for people. And so I finally got to the point where I was like, Okay, I probably should pursue this more. It was starting to kind of gain traction, and then COVID hit, and I dropped out of grad school. Like, it wasn't really my passion. It was but it wasn't you know what I mean?

Calla: It was the next step You did it and you realized it's not for me. That's totally relatable.

Maddie Miller: Exactly. So I did that. And then COVID hit and I was still teaching, you know, everything locked down. And we were teaching from home. And so then I had a lot of extra time because - not that I wasn't like in meetings and stuff, but like in some of my free time, I was able to kind of have fun doing artwork and everything because I was just home, as we all were for a really long time. And it just built up and kind of just kept spiraling into what it is now. It's crazy.

Calla: It's so so cool.

Leanne:

That's so funny. I have a very similar story. I grew up very creative. I loved art I did that was like the only AP class I took in high school was art. And I got kind of a similar message. Like, ah, like, I don't know, if you want to do that, like, you're not going to be able to support yourself kind of a thing. And so I did what my mom does, which is personal training, but luckily, it turned out because I love that too. So it worked out. So where do you get your inspiration from?

Maddie Miller:

For people listening and everything, my stuff, I mostly draw dogs and things like that, because I'm just like a huge dog person. And we like to travel and do all of that. So that's kind of how everything spiraled. A lot of my artwork is dogs going on adventures and incorporating a lot of that stuff. And I had seen that a little bit, but, I feel like my specific style is unique. I just use our dogs as a lot of inspiration. They're like wild.

Leanne: Hank and Moes, I love those names!

Maddie Miller: YES!

Leanne: Okay, is Mose from The Office?


Maddie Miller: Yes.

Leanne: Okay. I was hoping. You don't hear about a lot of Moses.

Maddie Miller: You don't. My husband, he's a big Office fan. And we always just thought because Mo's is Dwight's cousin or whatever and he's so weird. It's the perfect name for this dog, though.

Calla: When you first started posting pictures of the dogs, did you create an account specifically for your art? Were you doing it kind of just on your own? And then it started to gain traction? And you thought okay, like, I want to know how all that worked for you.

Maddie Miller: Yeah, so I created my art account back in 2019. Back when I was painting, like watercolor and doing all that stuff back in grad school, and I was just like randomly posting I had, like, you know, 50 followers maybe or something like that. It was mostly friends and family and like people locally and like in our neighborhood who had ordered paintings from me, it wasn't anything crazy. And then I got into the digital art stuff. I started playing around with that. And then I was like, oh, other people post these things on social media. And I would see like little cartoons or like, comics that people would make. And so I was like, Oh, that's really cool. And so I drew some dogs, and then I started selling like digital dog portraits, and, and still doing the watercolor. So I was posting a lot of that and gained a little bit of a following. And then I started kind of just drawing like all kinds of stuff. And that's when it kind of spiraled I guess, maybe because I feel like COVID had a big part of it. Because a lot of people were just on social media all the time. And a lot of people were at home. And so I feel like I don't know if that helped. AI post a lot of stuff about mental health and so and like words of encouragement and things like that, and it got shared a lot. Then it just kind of spiraled. I also was still posting the dogs and then branched off and started my actual business about the dog. So I kind of kept it separate. My main Instagram I have now is more of my journal of art, and then I have my business page also. So, it just snowballed.

Leanne: Yeah, in the best way.

Calla: Was there a certain moment where it just tipped and you were like, "Oh my gosh!", and people flooded to Tailgate Pups. Was there a moment? Or was it gradual?

Maddie Miller: So my art account, like Like I said, it's mostly just random things. I just doodle and whatever. That one had grown over time, and it took a while like I'd say like a year for it to get to where it's at. I don't post every single day, but my business, I had separated the two so that I could have the dog-specific stuff and that stuff that I was selling in the portraits. And I posted on Tik-Tok, a video of me making a shirt and it went viral. And I ended up selling out in like three minutes when I launched it. It was insane. I had like 1000s of comments and emails and messages. I woke up to my phone buzzing. And this was back in January of this year. I think that's around the time that I had met you, Leanne. Because it had like, just gone viral. And my husband was talking to me, and I was teaching, and things kind of spiraled. And we had so many orders, and I was just like, "I can't like I can't". I have like, a lot of mental health struggles. And I'm pretty open about talking about it, just because I like to share with others who have the same and I just couldn't juggle all of it. And I was like, This is my passion, I'm gonna just take the risk and full force go into it.

Leanne: I want to hear about that, though. Like the thought process of making that final decision of stopping teaching and doing this full time. That's scary.

Maddie Miller: Oh, my gosh, it was so scary. So I'll back up a little bit. Last fall, so this time last year, things were picking up for me and my business, I was doing a lot of like the portraits, but then I also was selling stickers and mugs, and a few sweatshirts and things. But it was like not compared to what it is now. I was teaching and so during the pandemic, wearing a mask, it was like the whole thing, and just exhausting. And I told my husband, by the end of this year, I want to quit. Next year, I don't want to go back. And he was like, that's fine. You know, we talked about kind of small goals to hit and, how can we do this? How can we make this possible? Because first of all, my husband is like, so supportive of everything. And you know that when you're married, you have to make those decisions together. Like I can't just quit my job. But I kept going and then things took off and things kept going viral and kept, like snowballing, I'll say instead of spiraling. They just were going up and up and up, and basically, every month had doubled. And so we were like, "okay.." There were some nights where, I mean, he was even like in my office with me helping me to like two or three in the morning to get orders out on top of us working full-time jobs. On top of that also was kind of struggling with my health and those things. And so it was just like I have to, I need to take a step back. There's like a quote and I can't remember what it is, but it's like you can't do two things half-assed. Yeah.

Leanne: Yeah. You can say it.

Calla: Do it with your whole ass.

Leanne: The entire ass.

Maddie Miller: Yes, Exactly!

Calla: You had some decisions to make. Like you said if your health was being affected and if you struggle with mental health, I mean, I can only imagine how heavy that is to carry especially when you're making decisions based upon things that are good and steady and you can do and you can do well and they're enjoyable versus really just going for it and having no idea what can happen. I think that's so damn cool. What about it is still getting you out of bed every day?

Maddie Miller: What's really cool to me is I had like a certain product that was selling well and that was like the custom pet portraits and stuff of course people want their dog drawn and everything. But I think the coolest thing for me is when people are out wearing my art. When I think about it that way is like my art is out there we've now had like 1000s of sales and like I have people all over the country some people in Canada, wearing my stuff and I just think that's so cool. Like that's what keeps me going and then the feedback from everybody and I still can't believe like I thought okay, this is gonna like Peter out at some point, you know, like it's gonna but it hasn't it's just crazy.

Calla: Meant to be.

Leanne: Yeah, you mentioned just like very casually that you switched from doing the hand-drawn and painting to the graphic design. Did you self-teach?

Maddie Miller: Yes, I did.

Leanne: Wow, what's that like?

Maddie Miller: When I was in grad school and I was supposed to be... I want to I do want to say this, I had good grades.

Calla: We don't doubt that at all. Maddie, we don't doubt that. You were being pulled in a different direction, clearly.

Maddie Miller: I was sitting in class, not paying attention... That wasn't the case. I was doing really well. But I would sit there and like, have things build up or like oh, I'm gonna try this or Oh, I'll follow this tutorial and like, I watch a lot of YouTube. And, I don't know, it was a lot of trial and error. And I look at some of my old designs and I'm like, those are so bad.

Calla: We feel the same way about old shows.

Maddie Miller: It's crazy, like, I wish I would have known X, Y, and Z, but it's like, you know, learning.

Leanne: It's fun to look back and see how far you've come to.

Maddie Miller: Oh, yes, for sure.

Leanne: That's awesome. So what's your favorite part of growing this business?

Maddie Miller: Um, this is like sappy, but my mom now works with me, because we've got so many orders, which is I'm super thankful. And it's like, really exciting. And so I think my favorite part is just like, she comes over a few days a week. And like, we're doing a lot of this together. And then now she's like, kind of come up with some ideas. And like, we had one recently, and like, it did really well. And so she was so excited. And it's just like, a whole family effort. Like, behind the scenes, like my husband, my brother comes over, like, he's in college. So when he was home, he was packing orders. It's just fun. Everyone has gotten involved. So that's exciting.

Calla: Out of all the mundane things that like come with running a business. What are some of the tasks that you realize aren't worth you doing any more? Or are you still doing them all? How do you balance the business side versus the creative side?

Maddie Miller: It's really hard, I get kind of stressed out, um, there were a lot of things that I was hand doing when I first started, I was making stickers and hand cutting out stickers. And, like, ridiculous, I did that for so long. Because I was like, I don't need to spend the money to buy them in bulk, what if they don't sell and you know, and you go through all that, it's like, I'll just make everything and which I still am doing a lot of, but not stickers, um, I've started to slowly outsource some things because, I don't know, I'm kind of a control freak when it comes to the business. And so like, my husband will be like, we'll just have your mom do that. And I'm like, but it's mine. So it's little things like that, that has been hard for me to trust, you know, because I've ordered stuff from companies before, instead of making it myself, and then it's not good. And I just, yeah, so it's the control part.

Leanne: A lot of the stuff that you make is apparel, how did you go through the process of picking the materials you wanted, or the businesses you wanted to purchase from?

Maddie Miller: So I'm, a lot of it was trial and error. But I also am a part of some different, creative communities and, and so a lot of people share, reputable businesses that they use and things like that. I will say this over and over, but YouTube is the best because there are so many people who have already done it, and then they'll compare different companies. I just did so much research. It was a lot of ordering and I have boxes of shirts that are terrible. You know, just things like that, that I had to order and try out before, you know, I put it up. So much trial and error.

Leanne: That's quite an investment to have the trial and error part especially. Yeah, and you know, you don't want to put out a product, you want to be super proud of it.

Maddie Miller: Yeah, definitely.

Leanne: You talked about mental health earlier, and I don't want to put you on the spot. But what do you struggle with the most now, as opposed to before when you were juggling the teaching and in this business?

Maddie Miller: For me, it's anxiety. I have anxiety and I talk about it a lot, because I just feel like we should.

Leanne: That's why we're here.

Maddie Miller: Yeah, I totally don't mind talking about it. But I have really bad anxiety and a lot of it's social. I started out as an artist, right? Like I was painting people's dogs, watercolor. I never knew that it was going to grow into what it is. And I'm so thankful and like, It's hard to talk about it sometimes because I don't want to come off as ungrateful. But, I had a video that went viral and got hundreds of 100,000s of views, and now my business is where it's at because it grew out of that. But I also had some comments on there and things like that were just trolls you know, it had nothing to do with me, but I like would have like panic attack about it because I'm like reading these nasty comments. Rational me is like, they're not even talking to you. They're just random trolls on the internet. But it's stuff like that's really hard for me. And I had recently had one of my designs stolen.

Leanne: I want to talk about that, too. Yeah, cuz that's a really tough part of this business too, for sure.

Maddie Miller: That goes with my anxiety a lot too. Now I'm afraid to post my art, because I'm like, Is someone gonna screenshot this? Send it to their t-shirt printer? And, you know, start selling it. So I have anxiety now from that. So that's a whole new one, like this week. But yeah, a lot of it is social media-based. And so I have to, like try to take breaks every once in a while because it's exhausting.

Calla: Yeah, it is. Do you feel a loyalty to social media because of the videos going viral? Like that's such an integral part of your business that you have to continue to show up even maybe when it's not healthy? Because I know I struggle with that.

Leanne: Yeah, we both do.

Maddie Miller: Yeah. It's hard. I mean, when you're mentally drained and exhausted, and then you're like, well, if I don't post then, especially with like, Instagram, if you like, I took a break last week, because I was dealing with all that. I just didn't get on my personal one. But I was still posting our new products and stuff on the other one because that's not as personal. I can just post a T-shirt or a dog bandana, you know, and people will interact with it. But like, when I take a break from something, then Instagram will kind of almost punish you like, Oh, well, you haven't been logging in. So we're not going to show people your stuff. And so then it's like, Oh, is that hurting my business? Then I feel like I have to log in every day, even if I feel bad, you know? And it's like, I hate it.

Leanne: So how do you handle it? Have you figured out kind of a schedule? Or?

Calla: Like, tell us?

Leanne: Pens and paper ready.

Maddie Miller: Um, no, I try to post every single day on both. It's nice that I kind of split them into like my, my Tailgate Pups my actual business. That's my job, right. And so I have that one as like, I'm posting products and I'm interacting with those people. I'm sharing what customers' pictures they've sent me and things like that. So it's easier to separate. At the end of the day, I can clock out and stop checking my email, and whatever, I treat it as a job. A fun job. But then the other one that is more of like, I hate calling it this but like my kind of influencer page. That one's more personal. That one's really hard for me, like lately, it's been, I don't, like I feel the need to post every day, I posted something earlier. And I checked and Instagram is not showing it to anybody. And I looked at my stories, and I had like, no views. I feel like I'm being punished because I wasn't posting enough. And so it's like, I feel like the schedule for me is I have to post every single day and be interacting with everybody and the little social media experts online and say, you need to be constantly posting and interacting and, and I'm like, I just can't.

Calla: Yeah, yeah, we're human beings. We're not robots, you know? It's crazy. It's such a balance for sure. What do you do for rest? How do you find the time? What's that?

Maddie Miller: Sorry, I'm not like rolling my eyes at you.

Calla: I know. We all roll our eyes at that question. It's like, sorry, I had to ask it.

Maddie Miller: No, no. I just meant that was personal. I try to keep my weekends for me and my husband. I don't have kids. So we do a lot of fun stuff on the weekends. Just the two of us with the dogs or with family. And I really tried to be on my phone less on the weekends. I mean, my business is still growing. But when I first was starting I feel like or even earlier this year, when things kind of took off. I felt like I was constantly on my phone. Because I'm like, "Oh, there's comments. There are messages". People are asking me stuff and I have to respond but now I've kind of set the boundary of at night I might post because it's the right time, but then I'm off. I'll post a video on Tik-Tok, and because most people are on at night is what I figured out. So more people will see it. But that doesn't mean I'm necessarily on. And then on the weekend, same thing. I may get up in the morning and post something I drew a few days ago, but then I'll back off like I'm not going to answer all my DMS on a Sunday because I try to take that time to rest. so Days are like my big resume. Yeah. Yeah. How do you?

Leanne:

How do you? So is it tough? Because you do feel like you are posting all the time, mentally, when you're working? How do you decipher like, Okay, this is, this is good content, I'm gonna post this versus I just need to work and be present and get this done. What's your thought process there?

Maddie Miller: A lot of that is trial and error too. And just seeing, I feel like I post a lot of relatable content.

Calla: Like, we share it all the time, we love it.

Maddie Miller: I post a lot of things that like, like my husband, he makes fun of me all the time, or not, like, in a mean way, but he's like, I just don't get it. Like, the stuff you post is really good. And he's like, you know, we have dogs, we love dogs, you know, whatever. But he's like, I just don't understand like, how, like, you've got so many felt like, he just doesn't comprehend it. And I'm like because my audience is people like me, you know, like, I'm not my, I'm not catering my content or my art towards someone like my husband. You know? I'm, like, most of my audience, like, if you look at the demographics, or you know, like, the age range is mostly people my age. And so it's, you know, mostly females and that have dogs, or, you know, or the mental health side of it. And so the content I'm creating, I feel like it's just, I think that helps me, I guess, is to kind of roundabout answer your question. But yeah, just putting out what's relatable.

Leanne: Well, I think that's the beautiful part, too, is like, you've clearly stuck to your authenticity because it's brought in the right people. I feel like that's where people can get really stuck is when they try to be something different and then they have to keep being something different. And you kind of lose yourself in that. So I think that's amazing that you started that way. And then you've stuck to it, even when it's hard.

Calla: What's the scariest thing about yourself that you've had to confront through all this?

Maddie Miller: Confidence, like self-confidence. Um, I, it's hard for me, because I have a lot of social anxiety, too. You know, I'm somebody who likes sharing my artwork. And I sometimes hide behind that. And it's hard for me to put my face out there and take photos of myself and put pictures of myself for products and things like that. Or, like, get on and talk about things. And I've tried to like do like the Lives on Instagram and I'm so scared of it. I just don't feel confident in myself. So I would say that's definitely the scariest part.

Calla: Yeah, I think anytime you put yourself out there, even if it is through artwork, I mean, you're showing through that. But yeah, it's such a scary thing to step outside of that and say, Here I am world. It's a very, very scary thing to do.

Leanne: It's really endearing to hear you say that because I would have never guessed.

Calla: I agree!

Leanne: When I met you, I would have never guessed. Because I feel like you were doing Reels before it was cool. Like, you have so many Reelsand they are so good.

Calla: We talked about it all the time. We're like, how is she doing all this? It's so cool.

Maddie Miller: Thank you.

Leanne: You need to teach a Reel's class. I know you don't have any time. But we will sign up. Has this affected you and your husband's relationship?

Calla: Oh, great question.

Maddie Miller: That is a great question. We were just talking about this, a couple of nights ago. But he and I are both pretty free-spirited. I don't know if that's the right term, but I'm going to use that term. I wasn't going to be like a nine-to-five type person ever. And, he knows that about me. He knows I'm creative. And like, he has been fully supportive. Like since the beginning. He just always was like, you know, just don't like quit your job and not be able to pay bills or whatever. But other than that, he always says, Don't talk about it, be about it. And so like, if I yeah, so if I tell him, like, Hey, this is what I think I'm going to do. He's like, do it. Like what do we need to get to do to get you there? Like, he's my number one supporter. I mean, it's stressful at times because sometimes I don't handle my emotions very well. And he's so calm. I'm kind of emotional. And so when I get really stressed out he's there to kind of bring me down. So I feel like we're complimentary of each other.

Calla: What are you most proud of right now in the business?

Maddie Miller: I'm just honestly how far we've come. I would say, just very proud of that. It's still going. I've been full-time since February and I can't believe that. It's still, you know, still going, I keep thinking at some point, everyone's gonna be bored of me, you know, and it hasn't happened.

Calla: No way.

Maddie Miller: It's, it's just exciting to see people still get excited, I post something new. Sometimes I'm like, "Oh, people might not like this", and then you know, it sells out or something. And I'm like, What? I didn't even expect that. So yeah, it's just crazy.

Leanne: So then, to keep the business going, do you feel pressure to come up with new ideas? Or do you just put the new ideas out there once they come to you?

Maddie Miller: Um, I went through a little bit of that this summer, like the pressure, because, as the seasons change, you know, right now, it's Today's the first day of fall.

Leanne: Yeah, I saw your post didn't make it to meet my feed. So I did like it.

Maddie Miller: The seasons changing can help because like, right now it's fall. So everyone's like, wearing, you know, the fall designs and things like that, or, like, you know, the holidays are gonna come around. And those are way easier to, like, come up with designs for but when you're like, sitting there in August, like, it's August, you know, nothing is going on right now. And how do I come up with it so it's kind of figuring out those middle parts in this kind of slower seasons. I do feel pressure with that sometimes. But, um, so far, it's been okay, but you know, like, with a business, the one thing I will say is, the good months can make up for the Okay months. So we do have that, you know? So that helps, too.

Leanne: And probably like, as you get in more of a swing, this is your first year, so everything's kind of new, and you're still feeling it out. But you'll have more confidence in those ups and downs. And so you can remind yourself in August, like, this will be all over. Fall is coming.

Calla: Out of all the final artwork that your audience sees, and we get to see how much of it is there that no one sees?

Maddie Miller: A lot. Yeah, that's a great question. Um, a lot. I'll draw something multiple times especially if it's for like, for apparel or something, before I get it sent off and ordered, I will draw it like a million times, I'll send it to my mom, I'll show it to my husband and also my dad, like, Okay, what do you think? Which one?

For the Instagram ones, a lot of times, like, I doodle things, and then I'm like, should I post this? So sometimes, I may have drawn something last week, and I might post it tomorrow, just because I feel like it's right. Or like the fall one today. I was like, Oh, I drew that one two weeks ago, but I was like, Oh, this would be funny for fall today. You know, I have a lot in there and then some just never see social media.

Leanne: So your photo album is insane on your phone I'm imagining?

Maddie Miller: Oh, my gosh, I run out of storage all the time. Yeah.

Calla: Are you usually sitting on the couch watching a show drawing? Do you have certain times of your day carved out for that specifically, what's your process?

Maddie Miller: For my business, my typical week, my mom comes a couple of days a week and so those days are days we're packing orders. The days that she doesn't come are my creative days where I can answer emails, work on the website, work on products, and I'll kind of carve out a little bit of time to finish up drawings. But a lot of the time, like we're sitting watching TV at night. We're rewatching Game of Thrones from the beginning.

Leanne: Nice. Yeah, I've thought about doing that too.

Maddie Miller: It's good like you go back and rewatch it. Um, I can totally talk about TV all day. But like, we'll do that sometimes we're rewatching and since I've already seen it, I don't need my 100% attention on it. So, I'm just laying there with dogs like drawing or working on something. So

Calla: Is it hard to set up the drawing when you're doing the real? Because I want your stuff. And I'm like, man, I need to learn Procreate because you just make it look so easy. Is that kind of what you're filming and stuff during your creative days when you're not packing in? What's that all like?

Maddie Miller: Yeah, trying to film content is so hard. I think because I started this whole social media journey before like Tik-Tok was really what it is now, and like the Reels and all that, and so it was cool to just post your artwork. And that was it, you know, and people liked it. They saw it, whatever. Now it's like, videos are the thing. And so I'm like, I guess I can make videos of me drawing this because I just don't know, you know, I mean, like, what do you do? Its art. Like, how do you turn that into the video content that people want now? So yeah, I'll sit there sometimes, like the one I posted the other day was me on the couch. It's not glamorous.

Calla: I respect the hell out of that. The final product is so good. And you would never know!

Leanne: And that's the weird part is like, I feel like art in itself. It's just a messy process. And it's trial and error like you've said over and over. And so to clean it up and make it this beautiful video from start to finish. That's like a whole nother job in itself.

Calla: It gives me false confidence that I can do it.

Maddie Miller: Well, I went through a phase of like, wanting to be a YouTuber, I went through that phase for a little bit. And I had made a few videos, just me and my husband like camping, like doing whatever. And so like, I learned how to do editing. And so that's kind of where that came from. So I feel like maybe I just like was at the front end of that part. But still, I see other people on reels and tech talk. And I'm like, how did you even do that? Or like, how did you do that transition? So like, I'm not an expert.

Leanne: That's how we feel watching yours!

Calla: So what ideas that you're working on right now have you excited about the future?

Maddie Miller: Well, without sharing, because I feel like I go back on it, you know, and then I'm like, oh, I never posted it. I'm excited about the holidays. I had stuff go out last year that was really popular on social media, but I didn't necessarily sell it. And so I'm like, Okay, let's turn that into apparel and stuff like that. So it's kind of fun going back like we were talking about, and going back to the old art that I had. And now I can kind of like revamp it and my style that I have now and you know, put it on shirts and things and so that I'm really excited for the holidays coming up.

Calla: Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Leanne: Was it the one with all the mugs? Is that the one that took off?

Maddie Miller: Yes. Stuff like that. We'll be coming back.

Leanne: So you've made a lot of transitions leading up to today. Was it scary? Because didn't you start on Etsy? Is that where you started to sell your art?

Maddie Miller: Yeah.

Leanne: And now you have your website? What was the transition like to go from Etsy to a website only?

Maddie Miller: So yeah, I did Etsy, and it's still great. Sometimes I think about putting a few things back there. The problem with Etsy was that they take a lot of fees out, and I would be making this but then they're taking out this and I'm like, Okay, well, I want that, you know, because now it's my job. And I had like I said, I'm in a bunch of creative, like Facebook groups and stuff. And I had asked a lot of people who had kind of done the jump their advice and like how it went and I saw other people being successful. A lot of people have both and I just felt like for me because I was juggling so much that I couldn't keep up with both. So my first like, real sell-out product was on Etsy. And then at the beginning of this year, like I had had the Etsy last year, but then that one that went viral was on Etsy. And then I had so much traction, that I was like, Well, people don't care that it's on Etsy or not, they just want that product and they want these specific things I'm selling. And my following was the little community that I have, you know, like, they're pretty loyal, like, I have a lot of returning customers. So I was like, they're gonna go to my website, they know that the product that they're getting. So like, I felt like I had enough traction. So then I worked on my website had another launch on Etsy, while I was building up my website, and then I just kind of directed everybody there. For me, it wasn't a hard transition. But I know for some people it is because Etsy is kind of a built-in what am I trying to say, like, people can just type in, 'dog shirt', you know, and your stuff might pop up, depending on what they're looking for, and they don't care who you are, but