Today we’d like to introduce you to Gina McCullough.
Gina, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve been an artist for as long as I could pick up a crayon, and specifically a graphic artist since I learned the computer. I was lucky enough to have a very open minded mom who let my creativity run wild, who let me color all over my bedroom walls growing up. As a kid, you could always find me somewhere drawing or painting! Once I learned how to use a computer, it wasn’t long until I was creating my own magazines from the program paint. I created these magazines for friends that were filled with articles, polls and images of the latest boy bands. Printed them all from my grandmother’s printer and gave them away out of pure love of creating them!
I had seen my artistic brother go to a trade school to learn graphic design, so I decided to do the same by attending Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School. I loved learning graphic design and printmaking. While there, I created their first full color year book and started working through a co-op program for my first design job at Saltus Press. After graduating high school, I went on to college: first I attended a small art school learning more graphic design skills but also a lot of illustration as well. After 2 years there, I transferred to the New England Institute of Art to get a deeper design knowledge base. Before graduating with my BA in Graphic Design, my internship with the American Cancer Society turned into leading my first Ad Campaign. After my time at ACS, I landed a design position with an insurance outsourcing company, Blue Cod Technologies, where I served as their lead graphic designer, working closely with marketing professionals creating unique marketing campaigns that still make me say “wow, I did that!” After Blue Cod, I landed a position on the design team at Legacy Publishing Group where I was able to learn a great deal from the talented designers around me, but I was also able to learn a great deal from the artists we would work with to create products from their artwork. I truly grew as an artist and designer through all of the design positions in my career.
As for Gina Marie Design, I have owned my small business since around 2009/2010. I started it as a side business to my full-time design jobs, but in 2014 my workload became too heavy to do just on the side (add in being a mom to a toddler at the time) so, I decided to take a leap and run my business full time.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has most definitely not been a smooth road, but one I wouldn’t trade for the world! Something I don’t think those who are not business owners quite grasp, is that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies owning a business. Some days you’re on top of the world and feel like you’re doing things perfectly, other days you wonder if it’s all worth it and if you’re really meant to be a business owner at all. So really, it’s more of a roller-coaster ride! Luckily, I love roller-coasters.
I find what I have faced along the way, is a struggle with balance. Especially as a mom and business owner, finding the balance of spending enough time with your child, as well as enough time dedicated to your business. As a mom – you want to be the best you can be for your child, and as a business owner you need to be the best you for your clients. Sometimes, that can be empowering, other times can leave you feeling depleted.
It’s also been tough as a creative brain, to hone in on specific areas of services. I honestly feel I can create anything that someone comes to me with as an idea. But – it’s not always realistic cost-wise or time-wise. I can do everything, but I don’t need to do everything.
The hardest thing for me by far though, is that both my husband and I run our own separate businesses. So at times, it can be crazy both time-wise and money-wise. Raising a family while both being self-employed…. that’s not for the faint of heart!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Gina Marie Design – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I started out doing mostly print based party invitations, with a dabble into wedding invitations after I did my own in 2010. Requests for more items started pouring in, so I began specializing in all types of invitations – including customized wedding invitations. Wedding invitations are one of my biggest focuses at this time.
In 2016, I purchased part of local company – Performance Graphics out of Dudley, MA – purchasing the shirt & hat press for apparel, as well as their client base, to extend my services and products to include apparel.
I currently work with various sized businesses in creating company pieces such as logos, business cards, and promotional items.
I also work heavily with vinyl and creating personalized pieces with it from gift items to full vehicle graphics.
So, basically do everything from party invitations, wedding invitations, personalized bespoke gift items to business designs! I work directly one on one to make each project unique to the client. Each and every piece is created with enormous amounts of love and pride.
I’ve worked on some really incredible projects, but the ones that stick out the most to me that I am most proud of, are the unique, out-of-the-box pieces. I recently created coffin wedding invitations – I was at a wedding fair and had a lady approach me saying she had a crazy idea, she wanted wedding invitations in the shape of a coffin, but also wanted them to be a pocket style invitation. I could tell she wasn’t sure what my reaction would be, but from the moment she started telling me her ideas, I had the invitation worked out in my head. I created completely custom coffin pocket invitations for her wedding, something you cannot find anywhere else. That’s just one of a handful of fun, unique invitations I’ve had the opportunity to work on. I love creating things that you can’t see anywhere else. I love being able to produce items that people have imagined in their heads. I’ve been told that I am magical, because it’s almost as if I read clients minds by creating the almost exact idea they have for their projects.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
All I can really hope for with my business is to grow in a manner that stays true to myself. I don’t want to be a huge agency that doesn’t take the time to know each project intimately, but ultimately I would love to eventually employ some great creatives. I plan to look at local trade schools for co-op opportunities with students to help extend that olive branch of getting their foot in the door to learning and having real-world design experience. I feel that’s a big piece of my story – that I’ve worked hard to learn everything I can to become the creative that I am. I want to be able to work with others with that same drive to learn and excel.
I’ve been lucky enough to work from home but also to be able to meet with clients at a small office I share with my husband’s business, but I hope to eventually have a storefront!
- Website: www.GinaMDesign.com
- Phone: 508-633-4378
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: General Designs: @ginamdesign / Wedding Designs: @ginamweddings
- Facebook: facebook.com/ginamdesign
- Other: ETSY: www.etsy.com/shop/ginamdesign / WEDDING WIRE: weddingwire.com/ginamdesign
JEM Photography, New Life Photography