Anneli White Designs was built in the corner of my parents’ bedroom. I had been making art since I was old enough to hold a crayon, but in 2014, my greatest passion became a clear purpose. I was drawing and practicing hand-lettering all day everyday at my paint-covered craft desk in the corner of their room. I remember my extended family and friends being keenly interested in my hand-lettering and graphic artwork. They would ask for my art as a favor, a gift, or even offer to pay. I quickly realized people were deeply blessed by this thing that came so natural to me.
As an eleven year old, I started what was Anneli Inspired Art. I drew my designs on printer paper, asked my mom to scan them into her computer, and printed them on greeting cards—my first-ever product. I took pictures of my cards on my iPod touch and posted them for sale on Instagram and Facebook. To my surprise, it wasn’t just my mom and grandma that appreciated my craft, but dozens of local ladies were interested. I sold cards and random prints for the first year or so until I saved up enough money to purchase some legit technology and printed products.
In 2017, Anneli White Designs began. I was more serious this time. I had an iPad and my own debit card—I was pretty much unstoppable. I began to print white cotton T-shirts, still sold on social media, and slowly introduced stickers (a big hit!) and loads of other new products. I was doing custom and freelance work for local businesses, the Shelby County Fair Board, Shelby KY Tourism, and friends and family. I had my products selling on store shelves, too! (If you can’t tell, I come from the most supportive community in the world.) In 2018, I was a vendor at my first craft show, one I had shopped at since childhood, Trims & Whims. The show was more than a success. As I looked at my 5’x10’ booth packed with customers and a line still waiting to squeeze in, I knew something exciting was starting.
A lot changed in 2019! I attended the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE). I ramped up artisan shows. I printed my first color T-shirts. I began taking wholesale opportunities more seriously. I created all kinds of new products. And I started to refine my vision for what Anneli White Designs would become. During the summer, I received 240+ hours of collegiate level entrepreneurship training, learned from business owners and start ups from across the region, and gained a family of coaches and friends who believed in me at Kentucky’s prestigious business boot camp—GSE. It was there where my business dreams were confirmed and I began planning for my business’ future. I started working with new printers, businesses, and vendors to make this thing legit. I started to turn my new vision into reality and began planning for what was next.
Then, 2020 happened. Except, it may not have happened as you'd expect me to detail. Rather, I attained my LLC, registered my small business with the state, rebranded, and launched this online store on April 18th, 2020. I spent my days of the "Covid Era" fulfilling orders in my basement office, printing shipping labels for the first time ever, painting dozens of journals, applying for markets all over Kentucky, and having product shoots with my friends. Although many things about that year were disappointing and difficult, I am thankful God gave a unique window of opportunity for this little business to grow in big ways.
About a year later, business was booming and Anneli White Designs had turned into my full time job (besides being a senior in high school, of course). 2020-2021 were my greatest years of business to date! I had shipped my original products to 47/50 United States and had record sales for a year straight. However, I knew this pace of business wasn't sustainable for my college years. I began to pull back the reins.
Upon starting college, I desired to be present on campus and fully involved in the community around me. So, when I started college in August of 2021, I temporarily closed Anneli White Designs. It truly was the end of an era. The end of a 7-year season of packaging cards, delivering orders, after-school post office runs, ordering Christmas products in October, traveling the state for markets, product photoshoots, running new ideas by by mom, hosting workshops, leading Craft Camp in the summer, and spending countless late nights in my office. Praise God for the personal formation and refining that happened in those years.
This story has us to where Anneli White Designs stands today. Since temporarily closing, AWD sporadically reopens from time to time (when I am home from school) and continues to supply a few boutiques and gift shops with cards and stickers. The shop will continue to open and close, offering a limited variety of products during my remaining two years of undergrad. Who knows what the Lord has in store for this business two, five, or ten years from now! For today, Anneli White Designs is here and I am grateful to serve you with my design work. Thanks for being here and supporting this Kindergarten dream of mine, no matter what stage of transition this business is in.