Words by Shannon Vistisen
I followed the rules.
After much research, I decided what I wanted to study in college. Like many others, I signed the dotted line for the expensive student loans to receive my college degree. With diploma in hand, I worked my way up to the ever so cool title “designer”.
Work really hard at job to move up to that wanted title…Check.
So, why seven years later am I still trying to find myself? Why does there feel like there’s a hole still missing in my purpose to create?
I liked my job for awhile. I enjoyed the graphics on the computer, the brainstorming sessions, and the creative angles you find for the advertisements, but now…not satisfied.
Fast forward a year, and my husband and I were welcoming our brand new baby boy to the world! Motherhood is a trip. Literally a roller coaster of emotions, feelings one has never felt before and perspective on life in general.
As I watched my son transform my everyday life, I started to get a pull in the creative direction. It was as simple as the clothes I was buying him. I couldn’t find much outside of the realm of “cutesie” for lack of a better word. I thought I could design better illustrations for him to wear. I knew this involved the process of screen printing. I’ve always wanted to teach myself but was weighed down by thoughts of self doubt. One random day I was annoyed at myself for not just trying. “Hell…I had a baby for goodness' sake. I can do this.”
After some research, lots of YouTube videos, and trial and error prints, I was finally getting good at it! It was the coolest thing to see my son wearing my illustrations on his shirts. I started diving into the world of social media, Instagram posts, and Facebook groups. I started finding out there was an array of amazing talented women doing the exact same thing, bringing their ideas to life. With this motivation behind me I turned my creative hobby into a small business…with the help of an accountant and some paperwork.
It will be exactly one year in April since I’ve been running this small business. I can’t believe within a year how far I’ve come and grown as a person. I still am working my full time job as a designer and then working on the Littlest Sidekick on the side. There are days where it's tough, never enough hours in the day and again, a roller coaster of highs and lows. But this is what makes my heart full right now. I love seeing the children on Instagram and Facebook wearing my designs whose parents have fallen in love with our brand.
I look at it as more than just a brand, it’s our story. Each illustration has been thought up and designed to mimic my son’s curiosity and adventurous outlook on life and the outdoors. To see life through his eyes is truly a gift. The Littlest Sidekick has done amazing things for me. I always thought I was trapped in my day job as a designer. I thought that the path I took was it, I was committed. But through motherhood, the help of my son, and an extra push from myself, I am in the middle of reinventing a life I never thought was obtainable.
The idea was a spark. It was a spark that I finally acted on. Now that action is a company that I personally own. Knowing what I’ve accomplished and what I’m capable of is just the beginning.
Ideas are rarely ever acted on due to the crap that life throws at us everyday. But I strongly believe if you just start, one step at a time, one day at a time, those ideas will take you to places you never thought of going.
It’s not luck. It’s not wishing on the first star you see at night. It’s hard work, consistent actions, and determination to keep moving forward.
Designer by day. Screen printer by night. With a creative outlook and a new perspective on life, Shannon searches for those extra hours to add to her day. Living within the Mitten state, she spends most of her days chasing an adventurous little boy around, finding earthworms and ladybugs. Hand in hand, she and her husband love introducing all of the wonderful gifts that the outdoor lifestyle offers to their son.