We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Karatzis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When you work for yourself and love what you do, it’s very easy to let work and life blend together. I used to work, answer emails, and design at all hours of the day, every day. I work from my home studio, so it’s easy to pop in whenever I need to get to something. With two small kids at home (now doing school from home these last 10 months) it’s become increasingly more difficult to keep the two separate and manageable. But it is also more important than ever to keep work hours and the two separate. I no longer work evenings or weekends, and yet it’s still a balance I need to work on.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m self-taught in all the things (letterpress, graphic design, illustration), as what I studied has almost nothing with what I’m doing now! I have a BA and Masters in Communications, and worked in Public Relations doing design PR before taking Cartoules Press full time. But as a kid I always loved to draw and make things using my hands. Throughout my childhood and young adulthood, I dabbled in ceramics, embroidery, scrap booking, painting, sewing, knitting – you name it! My love of design and stationery started when I was very young. I would collect it and used it to write to my childhood friend in Greece, where my family is from. I started Cartoules Press back in 2009 because I felt that at the time, there was a lack of well-designed stationery in the Greek language. I was on the hunt for bilingual wedding invitations in Greek and English for our Athens wedding, and couldn’t find anyone to design them, let alone letterpress print them – which was a printing technique I had come to love. After creating our wedding invitations, and traveling back and forth to Greece, I set up shop! I try to pull from my experiences as a Greek American growing up in a Greek-speaking household. I’ve always loved languages and typography. I think the Greek alphabet is particularly beautiful, so I started playing with hand lettering and writing out words and phrases in Greek, which I then applied to stickers, prints and greeting cards. I think that even if someone can’t read Greek, they can still understand the emotion behind the piece through the illustrations and other elements. I hope that my pieces brighten your day and bring a little taste of Greece into your life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Long Beach, California is a great city – with a diverse mix of people, cultures, and neighborhoods. We live in an area called Belmont Shore which is right next to the beach. If I had someone visit, I would take them for a morning coffee at Vibes Cafe which is located on the peninsula and next to the water. We’d spend the day at the beach and maybe rent paddleboards or kayaks. We would finish the day off at this hole in the wall sushi restaurant up in Signal Hill – which has the most fresh sushi and traditional menu. It’s hands down the best sushi I’ve ever had! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This business would have never happened without the support of my husband – he’s my number one fan and supporter. In addition, my parents, my sister and brother in law are part of my brainstorming team, they’re my sounding board, and provide me with feedback and support always.