Spice Rak a one-woman show

AFC graduate making a go of graphic design business

DIXON – The Spice Rak can freshen a company’s look, or craft the perfect save-the-date.

The design business is a one-woman show, with headquarters in Jessica Stencil’s apartment in Dixon.

From business cards to wedding invitations, holiday cards to branding a new logo, or something as simple as a flier, Stencil has served more than 20 clients since opening in November.

The 23-year-old graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art sees big things in the future for her business, but right now it’s a part-time gig as she balances other work.

While she dreams of owning a downtown studio someday, Stencil knows that building a clientele starts by making customers happy one at a time.

“I’ve received tremendous feedback,” said Stencil, who graduated from AFC High School. “I do a couple projects a week, but I’m looking to build that up. It’s small now, but I hope word grows.”

Stencil said she loves creating something from nothing.

“It’s that ability to create that I love,” she said. “Going from that blank page, and to see [a design] in print.”

She operates from Adobe Suite on her computer, which includes Illustrator, Indesign and Photoshop.

Stencil goes through other companies for printing.

“I know where I can get a decent price on good prints,” she said. “I’d like to find something local, that’d be great, but I find my customers the best deal I can.”

Stencil has worked for a few design firms in the suburbs. She said those experiences have taught her significantly.

“I did a lot of commuting,” she said. “I was having a tough time with commuting, going into the suburbs. I decided I wanted to refocus myself, showing off what I can do.

“When you’re in school, it’s motivating, because all the fun projects you pick. At a company, it’s ‘Here is a bunch of work; just do it,’ I’ve found working by myself is more fun. I am the creative director. I determine what direction we take things.”

The Spice Rak, which can be found on Facebook at Facebook.com/thespicerak1, has its own style, but Stencil said her work is not limited to that style.

“I focus the company in a boutique style,” she said. “It’s a cute style. Sweet stuff. But to be clear, I’ll do everything.”