After drawing her favorite vacation spot, a local woman turns her illustrations into a business

For a lot of us, summer vacation is where memories are made.

A local woman found herself dreaming of being on the beach in the midst of the pandemic. After drawing her favorite vacation spot, she decided to turn her illustrations into a growing business.

Courtney Palmer has always loved drawing, but just saw it as a hobby.

“I didn’t think that that was like a viable career path or what,” said Courtney Palmer, Owner and Illustrator of Palm Prints. “I told myself at least.”

The Quincy native graduated from the University of New Hampshire and then moved to Boston for a job in finance. But during the pandemic, she needed a break from staring at spreadsheets all day, working remotely.

“I found myself scrolling through my phone and just was like, I need to find something to kind of break up my day and tap into that more creative side again,” said Palmer. “And I felt like that would kind of provide more of an escape for me.”

Courtney broke out her watercolors and started drawing the first thing that came to mind—her favorite vacation spot.

“I created a map of Portland and just kind of started including at the restaurants we loved and like the landmarks we loved and the places we love going to,” said Palmer.

Courtney posted her Portland map on social media and tagged the restaurant. They ended up sharing it and people came calling.

“I had people reaching out to me saying, hey, like, where can I get a print of this?” said Palmer.  “And I had to get over the disbelief that somebody would want to buy something that I created.”

From there, Courtney started to draw maps of other popular places like Boston and Cape Cod. And what started out to be an escape from her job turned into a growing business.

“I never thought in a million years that I would be an entrepreneur or own a business,” said Palmer.

Courtney juggled her finance job while drawing maps. Then as any financial analyst would, she crunched the numbers to see if it would make sense to go full-time with Palm Prints.

“I just finally came to the realization like, I’m always going to regret not seeing where this can go,” said Palmer. “I can kind of always find some sort of other corporate job if I need to. And I just was like, I decided just to take that leap.”

Since taking that leap, Palm Prints has expanded to mugs, notepads, and greeting cards. With each map—Courtney puts in a lot of research, trying to encapsulate everyone’s favorite places. She focuses on New England and its coastal towns. She also customizes maps and collaborates with other local businesses. Courtney admits she has never worked harder, but it’s these illustrations that resonate with so many that remind her why she became her own boss.

“It’s just like a piece of the places that they love and they can kind of take them wherever they want and put them in their house and just have those happy memories as they’re sitting on their computer and they have their vacation spot, their favorite place,” said Palmer.

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