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Just Lyne: From an anniversary gift to a blossoming business

Just Lyne

Lisbon, Portugal

“Gelato offers us the choice to be green and cut carbon emissions. Our designers are remote, so our biggest CO2 footprint is with printing and transportation; minimizing this impact is pivotal to our sustainability success.”

Vicente Mourão and Mariana Madaleno, Founders, Just Lyne 

It’s not easy to find gifts for your partner when you’ve been dating for years. 

Meet Mariana Madaleno and Vicente Mourão who after four years of dating were desperate to find a fresh, interesting gift they’d both enjoy receiving. At the time, Mariana, whose background is in marketing and design, was interested in the art of line drawings - a technique where the artist captures its subject with one continuous line. She had an idea – hire an artist to make a one-line drawing of the couple – a timeliness image she thought would make a nice gift for Vicente. She was right, he loved it, and the inspiration for Just Lyne - an ecommerce store for just-one-line art  - was conceived.  

“Our main inspiration was to create something we could gift each other and really like. We started with one-line art, and that’s how we created Just Lyne (pronounced ‘line’).”

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Turning a creative idea into an ecommerce business 

"It doesn't require a lot of people to start a business, it takes the right people." 

What do you get when you combine two vibrant young brains and one Gelato? A creative, sustainable business.

With Mariana’s interest in marketing and Vicente’s in software engineering, they pooled together their drive and ambition to focus on different aspects of the business and left the logistics, production and shipping up to us.

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“We found Gelato right away. All our favorite brands were using Gelato, so we trusted we were in good hands. We loved the ease of the website and setting up our store was easy. We just had to start making sales, to give Gelato the opportunity to print and ship our posters.”

Instead of playing video games or going out with friends, the young couple dedicated their extra time to their business. Every evening after a day at University, Vincente would spend hours coding and developing new software to automate and speed-up the design and fulfillment process. Now, embedded into their website, this software grants the customer total control of the customization of their art. When submitted, it automatically fulfills the order and connects straight to Gelato. 

“Software developers have a bit of an advantage with ecommerce; we’ve become a bit of a tech startup in our own way.”

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At the same time, Mariana focuses on the design of their website, optimizes content daily, scripts ads, and researches the psychology behind why and how people buy. Everyday discovers new ways to improve their services.

Little by little, by developing their soft skills, and harnessing their individual roles, the couple planted the seeds of success.

“In the beginning it was quite hard. We didn’t expect so many orders, so we had to shut down our advertising. We wanted to make sure the products, which are gifts, arrived on time. We needed to shut down and expand our team. And that was hard.“

Within 2 months the couple had sold over 2,000 custom artworks. 

Within 1 year, both had dropped out of college to focus full-time on their business. 

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“Our college degree is from YouTube! All the info is there, we just do the research and find it.”

Through grit and determination they carried themselves over the threshold into business ownership. 

“It was now or never. We’re young, we aren’t like our parents, we don’t have responsibilities like a mortgage or children; we’ve put everything we have into Just Lyne and believe completely in its success.”

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Four key ingredients for ecommerce success

The recipe for success isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always one-size-fits-all.  

How did Just Lyne go from ideation to selling over 2,000 custom artworks in just 2 months? 

They attribute their success to four main ingredients: 

  1. A strong product: a well designed product, in a niche market, and a thoughtfully designed online store.

  2. A reliable, dedicated POD partner: as if Gelato’s team of 100+ production partners in 34 countries wasn’t strong enough, the couple expressed their relationship with their Customer Success Manager as key, “Laura goes above and beyond for us. She’s an important part of our business, and is always available. We really appreciate that.”

  3. Ads, mainly TikTok: written and produced in-house, the couple went viral with their Tik Tok and Instagram ads. Showcasing their products to customers, and walking them through how to order a custom one-line drawing, customers can click and buy instantly.

  4. An entrepreneurial mindset: the young couple changed their mindset and stepped into the role of “business owners”. This entrepreneurial shift was the key to them “becoming” Just Lyne. 

With these four ingredients in place, the orders started flooding in. 

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A global business supporting the local creator economy

From the comfort of their home in Lisbon, Portugal, Just Lyne has amassed a team of artists from around the world. All drawings are handmade and the designers go through a lengthy process to ensure drawing capabilities and consistency. 

“We work with several designers from around the world. We have a total of 6 designers and all are in Europe – Ukraine, Cyprus, Macedonia, Italy and Spain – we’re constantly expanding. We don’t know how to draw, but wish we did!”

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Not only is Just Lyne supporting local creator communities around the world by hiring artists, but by partnering with Gelato, they’re also enabling local, on demand production on a global scale. Now, local communities can produce what local communities need, when they need it. 

“Gelato is perfectly placed to scale with us; they’re a part of our team. Their customer service team walks us through each step and is there when we need them. We’re currently only selling in the USA and having a huge success. We can’t wait to expand into Europe – I know Gelato will guide us.” 

Sustainable, local production that builds stronger customer relations

Just Lyne prides itself on high-quality products, using sustainably-sourced, FSC-certified® paper for each of their prints. They’re able to print posters at the facility that’s local to the customer, allowing them to reduce carbon emissions by up to 67% on each order.

“Gelato offers us the choice to be green and cut carbon emissions. Our designers are remote, so our biggest CO2 footprint is with printing and transportation; minimizing this impact is pivotal to our sustainability success.”

By allowing customers greener options, they build stronger, long-lasting relationships with their customers.

“Gelato has factories around the world, and the logistics are fantastic. We like to share with our customers how things are produced locally. Our customers love to see this. This is a big seller. They come back.”

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From  niche to mainstream digital art

From an anniversary gift to a blossoming ecommerce business, Just Lyne captured the one-line market with the right partnerships, innovative software, and a solid marketing plan. 

Both in their 20’s, and now successful ecommerce entrepreneurs, the couple found a niche that transcended language, culture, and time. With the evolution of digital art, one of the oldest techniques of drawing, one-line, has become a crisper, cleaner, and commercial success. Once a foundation for all artists to capture the essence of figures in motion, now is a mainstream style.

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