The COVID-19 pandemic was a trying time for small businesses across the globe.
However, for freshman Grace Gillmar, it proved to be an unexpectedly fruitful season. This was when she experienced the birth and launch of her brand, Goodness Grace Design (GGD).
Gillmar, a marketing major with a minor in innovation & entrepreneurship, has always considered herself to be creative.
Growing up, she would experiment with different handwriting techniques and even host summer craft camps for kids. It was only a matter of time before she capitalized on the opportunity to turn her well-developed skills into a service.
Since its inception, GGD has attracted a significant following. On Instagram, @goodnessgracedesign currently has 26,500 followers.
Gillmar didn’t initially envision the business gathering such a reach. She created the account to share her art with people and only made a few stickers to sell locally.
“I started to post reels on Instagram, and those started to do really well with hundreds of thousands of views,” Gillmar said. “Then I was able to build a product based on that because I knew I had a customer base there.”
Customers can purchase physical products from Gillmar’s collection, including notepads, stickers, pins and prints. A big part of her business, however, revolves around digital design work, offering services such as custom logos and graphic creations.
Gillmar’s favorite project that she’s been involved with was a collaboration with Love is Louder, a mental health organization that commissioned Gillmar to create a graphic based off their slogan to be promoted on social media.
As far as dream collaborations go, Gillmar would love to be on the content creation team for Taylor Swift. She could also imagine herself working to create graphics for a local small business here in Upland.
Though there are a lot of small businesses on social media that cater to a similar audience as GGD, Gillmar finds her niche in orienting her products around positivity, organization and mental well-being.
She creates with cohesion in mind — often sticking to a pink color scheme — and remains mindful about the messaging that she puts out, even if it’s not distinctly Christian.
“I’m very open about my faith on my Instagram,” Gillmar said. “So that’s definitely been weaved into everything, and how I think about my business, and how I think about the sayings that will go onto things and how to promote positivity and spread God’s love.”
Rather than being caught up in competition, Gillmar is intentional about letting her faith drive what she does and staying true to her brand while celebrating other creators’ work as well.
Since becoming more serious with her schoolwork in her later high school and now college years, Gillmar has felt it right for her to slow down business-related tasks for a time and prioritize her studies and other activities.
Instead, she’s focused on keeping GGD alive through participating in opportunities that allow her to get her brand’s name out, such as Shop the Loop, a biannual market at Taylor that provides a space for student entrepreneurs to sell their products.
Gillmar enjoyed the chance to set up a booth with her products during Homecoming weekend at this semester’s Shop the Loop and to connect with the students and parents who stopped by.
“It was cool to be around other business owners,” she said.
Standing alongside Gillmar at her booth was her mom, who she considers to be her biggest supporter. Gillmar often relies on her mom as someone to bounce ideas off of because she has a unique eye for design.
Gillmar is not currently clear about the future of GGD, but she is grateful to be studying what she loves and is interested in pursuing a career in the social media, graphic design and marketing realm.
Looking back on her own experience, Gillmar emphasizes how important it was to give herself the freedom to simply live life apart from her business, especially in its beginning stages. She recommends everyone that is excited about an entrepreneurial idea to just start — and remain consistent.
“You never know what could take off,” she said.