TA: First, for those unfamiliar with your work, tell a little about yourself and what it is you do.

JL: I’m Julian and I’m a small business owner who makes a variety of handmade items, typically with a magical, nature-inspired, gothic, or vintage aesthetic. I started out primarily making blank journals and bookmarks, but over the past year I’ve expanded into sticker design, gift sets and craft kits, wands, and decorative potion bottles. 

TA: For how long have you been making and selling your handmade journals and such?
JL: I learned how to make books as part of a previous job in 2019. I was teaching art at a museum in the CA Bay Area and part of my job included leading monthly art workshops with a different theme each month. One of the workshop topics was “Create Your Own Sketchbook” and so in preparation I ended up doing a lot of experimentation and research into different forms of book-binding to try and find the method that would work best for the workshop. By the end of it, I had honed down a book-binding method for hardcover books that were able to lay flat on a table, which made it easier to draw or paint in them. I also had a lot of leftover example books. One of my coworkers told me that I probably could sell them on Etsy if I wanted, which I sort of dismissed at the time because I didn’t feel like I had enough time to learn a whole new platform. 

About a year later, COVID-19 shut everything down and all our museum programming stopped for a month or two before moving online. I had a lot of time at home alone to really evaluate where I wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing. I ended up moving out of the Bay Area over the summer of 2020 with a plan to start my own business teaching extracurricular art classes. Since everything was still pretty locked down in my area, those plans got put on hold and I spent the summer teaching virtual art classes through the museum while I worked on refurbishing some of the old sketchbooks and building up some new inventory to launch an Etsy shop, since that was something I could do virtually. I officially launched my shop in the fall of 2020, so I’ve been selling handmade journals and bookmarks online for a little over a year now.

TA: Are there any films, music, or any other form of entertainment that inspires your designs?
JL: This is an interesting question. My potions and wands generally have some inspiration from fairy tales, Harry Potter, or DND. My Kraken Brew Potion was influenced by Pirates of the Caribbean and my Sleeping Curse potion was inspired by the TV show Once Upon a Time. I also have a sketchbook that was inspired by the Haunted Mansion. I think that most of my journals and bookmarks are more inspired by general concepts like “vintage Halloween” or “green witch” or “space.”

TA: Of all the styles of designs you have crafted, which would you say is your favorite to make?
JL: I really enjoy designing stickers. The two styles I currently have are cartoon animals and zentangle nature designs, and I find them pretty fun to draw. The process of making wands can be a little slow (there’s a fair amount of dry time involved at various stages), but I enjoy making those as well because each one is so unique and I get to experiment every time. My journals don’t always sell as quickly as some of my other products, but I do like playing around with styles and designs for them (and having an excuse to go through my stash of fun fabrics). I’d say those are probably my top 3 favorites to make. 

TA: What new designs and product can we expect in the future? 

JL: I’m planning to put together more themed gift boxes and gift sets as the holiday season approaches. I’m still working out the details, but this might be something like a “fairy box” or “magic box” with various types of items inspired by the theme. I’m going to test out some holographic stickers, though I’ll only be starting with one design. I’ll continue making new journals and I’m hoping to do more deluxe journals with decorative covers. I’ve been selling some new types of craft kits in person, so I might consider uploading some of those to Etsy as well. I have a lot of ideas!

TA: Are you currently doing in person sales or online only? 

JL: I’m currently selling both in person and online on Etsy. Within the past couple months, I’ve started selling at local artisan markets and popup events in Chico, CA. I would like to open a retail space in the future, which would double as a classroom space for art classes, but the space I’d like to use is currently under renovation for the near future. 

TA: Where on the internet can people find you?
JL: I list my products on Etsy under the name MoonshadowMaker. You can find a link to my shop here. You can also follow updates about my shop on Instagram @moonshadowmakersworkshop (link here). I do have a website at moonshadowmakersworkshop.com, though at this point in time it’s mostly just informative as I don’t have a site shop set up yet.


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