Greetings! My name is Frani Matthews and I’m an artist and creative entrepreneur based in Nashville, Tennessee. I’m captivated by the beautiful things. I see them all around me, in each and every moment, object, human. This perspective emerges in all that I do — the wedding invitations I design, the words I arrange, the botanics I illustrate.
I started my business, Authentic by Frani, as a college-student in 2015. My office was a dorm room, my marketing was Facebook, and my network was everyone I knew. I’d been making hand-lettered cards as long as I could remember, and decided to expand this set of skills into calligraphy and illustration. I began creating framable, handmade prints and custom journals, along with the greeting cards of my youth. This led to the eventual creation of an art Instagram account, an Etsy shop, and a YouTube channel. One risk after another brings us to 2019. My business is almost four years old and has all the ups and downs, trials and errors you’d find trying to raise a developing child.
I remember the days where I’d say yes to every offer that came my way, charge next to nothing for my time and creative energy, and had no sense of my personal style.
I feel like I’m finally learning the ins and outs of owning a business. I’m learning how to build in margin (financially and energetically), set beneficial expectations and boundaries for myself, and space out my projects so I have time to complete them with fullness and intention. I’m learning how to communicate with clients well and design processes that serve them as well as me.
My days are filled with various design jobs, answering emails, illustrating florals for tattoos, planning instagram posts, filming + editing Youtube videos, so balance and boundaries are the key to staying sane.
I hold self-confidence in one hand and self-doubt in the other; gutsy-risks and debilitating self-criticism. Some days, I can’t distinguish the anxiety from the excitement when sharing something new or saying ’no’ to something that doesn’t resonate with me. The wheat and the tears grow up together, I suppose. I’m grateful I’ve been able to reshape the pain into beauty and discover more of myself, the truest representation continuing to find her voice in a seemingly saturated world of girl-bosses and women who hustle.
I work from home, so every day is a surprise, but here’s how things typically run at the Authentic by Frani Design Studio:
7am — Wake up, breathe, profess undying love to Husband as he leaves for work, ease my way out of bed, let the light in through the windows, make coffee.
8am — Yoga + meditation (Both very important to me. I speak affirmations to my body and spirit, practicing presence and embodiment.)
9am — Drink coffee + journal (This is my favorite way to process everything. An illustration usually pours out from this time, or inspiration for a project emerges in this uninterrupted space.)
10am — I prioritize a “top 3” task list for the day. Any list longer than that is overwhelming and leads to procrastination.
Today’s top three: edit Youtube video, answer emails, digitize logo illustration
11am — I’m just getting started on video editing because I’ve been scrolling through astrology memes on Instagram while impatiently waiting for iMovie to boot up.
12pm — I finished editing and uploading the YouTube video, and I’m stopping for a snack. Today, it’s watermelon with salt and chai tea with almond milk.
1pm — My laptop is slow because it’s a dinosaur, but I’ve finally finished making the thumbnails and editing descriptions of the videos. Here’s the link if you want to see my channel: www.youtube.com/AuthenticByFrani
2pm— I started digitizing a logo for a new client. All my designs start with an illustration by hand. I have the most control over pen and paper, plus this method creates the most organic and effortless effect for designs unique to each client. I do most of my design work in Adobe Illustrator.
3pm— Usually I hit a fog around this time, but felt motivated on this occasion to continue with my work and respond to emails/clean up my inbox.
4pm— Prep an instagram post: most days I share an illustration, paired with poetry or any other insight into my thoughts. I love the genuine connections you can build online when you create a space that’s open and true to yourself. I use Planoly to schedule my Instagram posts.
5pm— This is generally my cutoff time when it comes to work. I post on Instagram, respond to comments, share in my stories, etc. At this point my husband is usually home from work, and I like to spend time with him, prepare and consume a meal, and unwind.
This is the kind of day I love to experience— one where I’m gentle with myself when I get distracted, where everything is done with ease and even pacing, where I remember to eat food and drink water, where I stay present and notice myself. #carryyourselfgently
Most days include these aspects solely because I’m building new habits. I’m alleviating the pressure I put on myself to fill my days to the brim for the sake of “productivity” and “staying on that grind”. Rest and reflection are just as integral if not more important to me than getting more done. I’m no longer interested in scrambling and appearing busy. This change has brought peace to my everyday endeavors, remembering that I don’t have to be exhausted all the time and that constant comparison steals joy. #whenthingsweresmall