Femme Flora Design was featured in the CanvasRebel publication. Thank you to CanvasRebel for this opportunity. Read the article down below to get to know our story!

Meet Christine Almendras

Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Christine Almendras. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.

Alright, Christine thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Earning a full time living from one’s creative career can be incredibly difficult. Have you been able to do so and if so, can you share some of the key parts of your journey and any important advice or lessons that might help creatives who haven’t been able to yet?

As of now, yes, I’ve been able to earn a full-time living from my creative work! It was something that was two years in the making though. I was definitely one of those people who did not land a job right after college; in fact, it took me a year and a half to land my first design job at a marketing agency! Before that, I worked at Olive Garden as a server full time, took on freelance projects for friends and family, and even did an internship for a political consulting company.

Looking back, it makes me proud and emotional to see how far I came. I remember how I was putting in anywhere from one to three job applications a day, attending interviews, not being followed up with, and being rejected from jobs. I was also fresh out of college, so I was charging anywhere from $50-$250 (at most) for a design, whether that was a logo or t-shirt design. In 2018, I also remember designing my first sticker set and merely posting on my personal Instagram that I had made stickers and people had to DM me to purchase them.

When I landed my first graphic design job, I actually started as an intern. After months of hard work and proving myself, I was able to get part-time at the marketing agency. I had to still work at Olive Garden part-time to make ends meet, but it was so relieving to finally know I broke into the industry. Later that year in December 2020, I also re-branded my freelance business to Femme Flora Design. Looking back, it is funny to think about because I focused my niche on wedding stationery and branding, knowing nothing about the wedding industry and even attending a wedding before in my life (that is not true anymore!)

Over time, I grew in my role to full-time while also putting myself out there for my freelance business. By the end of 2021, I decided to re-brand again, and shift my focus from weddings to helping Asian women in creative industries make impactful brands and selling Asian-themed stickers and prints. I then opened my Etsy store to sell my products and re-vamped my website to reflect the new direction! After that, it’s been grinding and grinding to not only perform my best at my full-time job but also get my name out there as a freelance graphic designer and small business owner.

As my name began to spread to more people in my community and on social media, I saw a rise in my Etsy shop sales, freelance graphic design clients, and bigger, more robust projects at my full-time job. I signed my first two full-service freelance clients in October 2021 (shoutout to Universalis Wholistic Health and Sunday Table!) I felt immense pride that people were willing to invest thousands of dollars in my work and saw the value in it. In Summer 2022, I also signed up for local community events and did in-person markets selling my products and art.

Honestly, I was able to make all of this happen through hard work, passion, and dedication. And while it sounds cliche to say, I mean it! I made the choice to keep going despite experiencing several moments of failure. Instead of framing my perspective of it as a notion to give up, I rather saw failure as a learning tool that allowed me to stay resilient, even through the hardest of times such as a career rejection or getting zero sales on a product launch. Staying consistent and remembering my why also allowed me to make all of this happen. There were definitely times I had to take a break, but knowing to come back to why I am so passionate about design and the end goal I have in mind for myself kept me motivated.

It was definitely not like this from day one though! Most people, including myself, think that it just takes going viral on social media once or knowing someone to get you the next job to be successful, but that could be farther from the truth. It takes months, if not years, of putting in the work. Something I had to get over to reach success was to stop comparing my journey to others and be present even if I didn’t see the results I wanted. After that, it became more manageable and realistic for me to achieve the goals I set for myself!

Some major milestones I remember are hitting 260,000 views on one of my TikTok’s signing two full-service brand strategy and design clients, doing my first market at the Reno Punk Flea Market, and my many product releases. Looking back, I think there were definitely some things I could have done to speed up the process knowing what I know now. I wish past me wasn’t so scared to ask for help, utilize her local community, and invest in herself. I used to be a designer that would silo myself and think that no one wanted to help me and that I should figure everything out on my own. I think that really stunted my growth as a designer for a while because I found what I love about the design community is that everyone loves to help, all you have to do is ask!

Additionally, I wish past me utilized my community more because I’ve learned so much and received so many opportunities from merely being present in my community, whether that was meeting artist friends or getting the opportunity to attend another summer market. Lastly, I wish past me saw the value of investing in herself. Growing up low-income, we were always taught to save every penny and that there was always a way to do something free. And while I still do that occasionally, it was important for me to realize that there’s nothing wrong with investing in myself. It was because I took the risk and invested in myself that I was able to learn so much knowledge about the design and branding world and create products to sell online.

Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.

For those who have not heard of me before, hi! My name is Christine, and I am a freelance graphic designer and small business owner located in Reno, Nevada. I’m known as someone who obsesses a little too much over pastel color palettes, well-put-together Pinterest boards, boba, and dogs. When I’m not spending hours in front of the computer designing, you can also find me watching anime, going to raves and festivals, shuffling (the dance), and spending time with my partner, Jacob, and my adorable Lab Retriever, Zula!

I was first introduced to the world of graphic design when I used to make GIFS and edits of my favorite fandoms on Tumblr. I remember when I would spend hours learning how to make GIFS on Photoshop through Youtube tutorials and making the latest fan edits for followers. When the time came for me to attend college, I was actually supposed to major in Physical Therapy, but I changed it to design on a whim. I could see myself spending hours designing something and would never get tired of it.

Fast forward to after college and my career opportunities, and I finally re-branded my freelance graphic design business as Femme Flora Design. At Femme Flora Design, we help Asian women in creative industries make impactful, authentic brands and celebrate AAPI creativity through Asian-themed stickers, prints, and more. What sets me apart from others is that I’m a graphic designer who fully celebrates and includes my Asian heritage in my brand. Growing up Filipino-American, I did not feel proud of my heritage or where I came from. It took years of unlearning this mindset to finally feel proud of my roots, and now I feel inspired to help others do the same.

That is one of the reasons why I want to help Asian women in creative industries. Not only do I want to give Asian women the confidence to pursue a creative field, but I also want to be their mentor and guide to help them make the best business decisions. As Asians, we are expected to pursue careers in tech, medicine, or law. But, I’m living proof that we don’t have to follow that stigma and that we can be just as creative and successful!

I am most proud that I was able to make a name for myself and pursue a career that didn’t get much approval or support from my family. It took years of working hard and even working two jobs to break into the design industry. But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything because I’ve grown so much as a designer and even an individual in my field. The main thing I want my potential clients, followers, and friends to know about me is that I’m a designer who loves to connect with others. Whether you’re looking for a designer to work with on your next brand or project, someone who needs help becoming a designer, or someone who just wants to talk about our similar love for Asian food or anime, my DMs are always open!