One day last November, I realized that I was way behind the ball on our family holiday cards. We typically send something over-the-top-creative to all of our close family and friends. In prior years, we had come up with ornate ideas like 3D printed ornaments and laser cut cards. And while I have nothing against sending a basic family photo card, I knew it would be incredibly tough to get a decent family photo with both a two-year-old and a six-month-old. They aren’t necessarily the easiest to get to smile on cue.

Enter Miss Design Berry. (Also known as Kristin Berry.)

I found her on Etsy, during my search for “creative holiday cards” and couldn’t stop gawking at her amazing work once I landed on her shop. I’ve seen a lot of great illustrators in my life, but she seemed to be one of the best on the site. I immediately contacted her and was overjoyed when she wanted to do our cards.

The process was super simple. I sent her photos of each of us along with a rough template of what I wanted the card to look like. (Tacky holiday sweaters, obvs.) She sent back a draft and we got to go through a couple revisions together. After that, the cards were sent my way and all I had to do was add stamps and send! Here’s how the final product turned out:

Pretty lifelike, eh!? She did such a good job! (Especially with Pixel, our dog.)

I enjoyed working with her so much that I wanted to purchase a non-holiday piece of art from her as well. Given that my family and I live near the California redwoods, she created a similar piece depicting all of us in the great outdoors.

So cute! We are currently in the process of getting this one framed.

Kristin works on all kinds of products, not just family illustrations. She can manage all kinds of illustration work, from backdrops and signs to guestbook concepts and more. I once asked how she actually transforms photographs into illustrations and instead of a response, she made me a video! Check it out:

As you probably know, we at Brit + Co are all about encouraging creativity in women — and we especially love to showcase independent artisans and makers. I love hearing stories of how these women get started, and thus have asked Kristin for her own story. Read along through her replies:

How did Miss Design Berry get started?

When I moved to NYC, I decided to open an Etsy shop to earn some extra money and help pay the bills. I started selling logo designs and illustrations, but quickly realized that wedding products were selling fastest, and that my style lent itself perfectly to weddings. So, I slowly developed a line of wedding and event stationery, and eventually custom art and decor as well.

How has your business evolved over time, good or bad?

When I started out I think that I had a touch of tunnel vision — I just wanted to earn some extra money and design pretty things. But, as the business grew, what I found was that the more collaboration that took place between designer and client, the more successful we became. Now, all of our most popular pieces and designs feature so many customizable elements and that not only makes it super special for the client, but also keeps everyday new and exciting for me and my design team. And, many of our biggest sellers today originated from client collaborations or requests.

What are some of the most memorable projects you have worked on?

Well, right now my current project will probably be the most memorable — my own wedding! I am getting married next month and so (obviously) doing all of the design work for that. But beyond that, we have done some fun pieces for celebs like a guestbook for Maci Bookout from Teen Mom, and a very fun 40th birthday invitation for a well-known rapper (which included his dogs in party hats.)

Why do you love what you do?

What really makes me proud is the people. The people I get to work with every day are so lovely that I sometimes forget we are doing work. And then the clients we are creating for — they are in such an exciting place in their lives and are so happy and excited to work with us. It’s just a really uplifting and creative environment (and we are currently a team of about 20 ladies — so also lots of GIRL POWER!)

What is your advice for others who want to start a creative profession?

Don’t wait for the perfect time or perfect idea. You can learn as you go, as most people do! I have let fear hold me back from a lot of things throughout my life, and once I finally let go and stopped fearing failure, it was incredibly freeing. I know that sounds super cliche, but when you actually think about what that would look like, in actionable steps, it can be really life changing.

I had such an amazing experience working with Miss Design Berry and hope you will check her out, too. With over 3,000 five-star reviews and 16,000 sales, I’m positive she’ll her work will impress you!

Who is your favorite illustrator? Let me know on Twitter, @brit.