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May 7, 2019

I’m here to tell you exactly HOW I doubled my Pinterest stats in one month, for free. I realized a few months ago that I needed to utilize this platform more (for reasons I’ll share below) and I’m excited to share what I learned along the way.

Double Your Pinterest Stats in One Month

Do you know where your ideal clients are hanging out? Which platforms are they most active on, and which conferences are they hanging out at? You might immediately jump to a specific platform, but to be frank, you could be totally wrong! I’ve spent a lot of time planning content for Instagram over the years – because it’s where I enjoy spending my time the most. I mostly use the platform to share my work, and I assumed that’s why my followers were there too. After some research, I realized that a lot of my following is full of my peers (hey that’s you!), so I changed the way I approached the platforms, and looked into my other platforms too!


First, figure out where your people are – are they hanging out in facebook groups, looking for your services on Instagram, getting into witty conversations on Twitter, or are they spending most of their time on Pinterest? While there are probably dream clients on each one of the platforms, I’m going to focus on Pinterest today, and how I increased my traffic in ONE MONTH FOR FREE.


I love delegating. When I first started working for myself, I wore too many hats, and didn’t wear them all well. Now, whether it be a system or a person, I’ve found ways to make my life easier by handing off tasks. For Pinterest, I looked at both options, and decided to do my research and try to make the platform work best for me before investing in a Pinterest Manager (yep, that’s a thing!). I started by hopping on Pinterest and searching for articles about growing your account, and using it to get people to your site. I read them, took notes, and got to work. The one common thread I noticed was people talking about Tailwind – a Pinterest scheduling app. I actually already had the app, but hadn’t really used it much because I didn’t understand it (evidence that you get out of things what you give in), so I decided to give myself one month to learn what I needed to, and see how it goes. Using an app is absolutely a form of delegation, it’s affordable, and helps you be more effective with your daily tasks. Once you’ve finished the free trial – the app is 9.99, which is a small price to pay for delegation!


Within a day I started seeing results. I wasn’t looking for more followers, but more clicks to my website, and more views on my content. Over the course of the month I actually doubled my average views, and I know to keep up with it will require dedicated time and energy. The app is super easy to use, you add an extension to your browser (I use Chrome) and instead of pressing the pinterest button, you can click on the tailwind Icon, and schedule your pins. The program automatically spaces out your pins, making your account more active and involved throughout the day (instead of just at 1am when you’re wide awake and pinning from under the covers). Here are some things I love about it:

  • Schedule Pins for a whole month – this is exactly what I did. I spent about a week constantly pinning, and spanning them out throughout the month. One day’s work for a whole month of results.
  • Put your popular Pins on Loop – You can have your best content re-appear as if it’s a new pin, but it’s just circulating instead of having the same pin a thousand times.
  • Join Tribes to build community – This is a great way to connect with others, and help each other spread your best content. It’s typically a “one for one” – where you’ll pin someone else’s content in exchange for yours. They’re large groups, and you should find one that makes sense for your brand.
  • Check stats and analytics easily – I saw more blog comments, and figured out my most popular content which helps me create better content in the future.


There’s a ton of other ways to use Tailwind, and I haven’t even scratched the surface, but what I’ve learned so far is working great for me, and is allowing me more time to spend creating the content I want to see in circulation. I’m learning what my customers are looking for, and love the ease of it. There are tons of resources online to learn more about the app, and other systems (like creating custom board covers) but this has been working just fine for me, and I can’t wait to hear how it works for you!

There are plenty of people offering Pinterest management if this all feels like too much work for you – like my friends at Pinegate Road! Either route you decide to go, I hope this helped you figure out which route to go, and that you learned something!

September 27, 2018

Time for some fun and games, entrepreneur bingo is here!!

Entrepreneur Bingo Printable PDF

It’s easy to feel alone when you quite literally work by (and for) yourself. Sometimes it feels like NO ONE ELSE could have possibly been experiencing what you’re going through, because they didn’t share about it on Instagram, but I’m here to tell you that YES, I’ve been threatened by clients, YES, I’ve charged too little, YES I’ve spent the day working from the couch, YES I’ve experienced the highs and the lows of being an entrepreneur, a boss babe, and a small business owner. You are NOT alone. We need to start talking about this! Download the PDF to play along, or head over to my Instagram stories and screenshot your own board, fill it in with your favorite gifs, and then throw a dance party because YOU JUST WON BINGO! The prize is that you feel less alone, have a little fun searching through the gifs, and now… you should probably get back to work.

Confession: I can fill out all but ONE of these!

May 10, 2018

Handlettering Logo TypeThis feels like such a big deal to me, but I know I’m overreacting. This week, I redirected my shop page (sugarandtype.com) to the domain I find myself using more (this one – ilanagriffo.com). I also switched my instagram handle (WHATT!?). I’ve felt a pull towards becoming a “personal brand” over the past year for so many reasons, and I didn’t share about the process while it was happening, so I’m going to reflect on it now. Let me be clear – I’m not stopping, I’m creating more than ever, I’m just choosing to go by my name.

I started Sugar & Type as a blog in college. I remember I had a few blogs I followed, and my roommate was going to start one, I was in design school, and figured why not?! I could write about type. I made a list of words – things I like, things that go together, and voila! Sugar & Type was born – two things I don’t care to live without! I used Sugar & Type as a creative outlet, an etsy shop, and a way to name my products. I grew, changed, and had a few contractors working for me, and was definitely having a lot of fun.

When I walked the Stationery Show for the first time about 5 years ago, I realized I didn’t think I’d be an exhibitor – I liked keeping my line of products small and intentional. Honestly, it also just seemed like a ton of work (it is).

For the years the followed, I toyed with many ideas – licensing, client work, growing my line, and felt a bit all over the place, but was busy (and happy), so it matter. I made a great living, worked for myself, and produced work I enjoyed! Also, I love staying busy, I like change (in some ways) so always changing pace, and jumping from project to project kept me excited and occupied!

Last year, I intentionally took a step back from client work to refuel after a really tough client situation . I set two career goals for 2017 – get a publisher for my book, and pursue licensing. Come October, feeling like I wouldn’t meet my goals for the year, I signed a book deal, and signed on with a licensing agent, while 8 months pregnant. Looking back, I guess I didn’t really slow down! I had spent all summer working on those goals, and I still pinch myself thinking about them.

Shipping planner orders to hundreds of incredible women, working on my licensing portfolio, writing a book, and working with clients left me feeling pulled in too many directions, and I craved a more streamlined approach. I was always updating two sites, and not knowing where to post what – so it made sense to just merge them into one. I also read Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crushing It, and it helped me see how easily I could position myself as a personal brand, and it felt SO RIGHT.

Basically, I wasn’t serving Sugar & Type the way it deserved, as a product line, and it wasn’t serving me. I didn’t feel this major pull towards it, and didn’t love saying it. I was too afraid to let go of it completely, so for now, it’s redirected. Who knows what will happen next year (or next month). Don’t worry, the planner, the notepads, the pins – they’re still here, and I’m still over here working on a million awesome projects,  but now I feel like I have a platform that I share on. So thank YOU for listening, reading, shopping, supporting, and being you!!

And Yes – I will be sharing about the tough client situation, the book deal, and ALL THE THINGS! So stay tuned!

December 13, 2017

I’ve been posting these quotes each month (sort of) on sugarandtype.com since they’re all about the planner, but I wanted to write a longer post about the last quote I featured in the #ruletheworldplanner.

I think part of it has to do with giving birth to an actual human being, and the other part has to do with experience, but I’ve definitely noticed a shift in my focus lately.

When I was stuck in a job that didn’t fulfill me, I kept telling myself I needed to change my attitude. I needed to remember that this job was giving me the cushion to pursue my passions, and I’d eventually be able to leave (which I did, three years ago!). It was WAY easier said than done! It’s really hard to put on your big girl pants, and smile through something that doesn’t bring you joy. I spent a lot of time at that job focusing on things that weren’t worth my energy – like the tiny little things about the job that bothered me. Instead, I needed to focus on getting the work done, and the things about the job that were fantastic (my team was AMAZING, and I had lunch EVERYDAY with one of my BEST FRIENDS). Now, as I enter a new chapter in life, motherhood, I’ve found it’s a BIT easier to stop focusing on dumb shit. It’s not easy, but it’s easIER to check in with myself and ask if worrying about XYZ is valuable, or a waste of my energy. Plus, I’m tired, so my energy is in demand these days!

Are you wasting energy worrying about things that don’t really matter? Check in with yourself, journal, or talk to a friend who can help you remember that your energy is best spend on what really matters, and where it makes you shine!

Thanks Gary for the quote, and starting this conversation!


October 10, 2017

Freelance Advice / Don't Fake It Until You Make It / handlettered quoteWe’ve all heard “fake it until you make it”, but a recent article really made me think about that phrase. I’m all about pushing forward, and continuing to grow, and I think the day you stop losing the drive to get better, and work harder, is the day you stop being “successful”. That drive to learn, to grow, to work harder – that drive shapes our journey as entrepreneurs/freelancers/creative thinkers. Being hungry for more is a wonderful thing. However, “faking” that everything is butterflies and rainbows is where I believe the problem is.

Here’s how we can make a change – realize that it’s okay to get vulnerable, and ask for help. Share your struggles, show people that you’re only human! Get feedback, ask for help where you need it. Lean on other entrepreneurs or people in your field (or friends and family). Delegate things that make you want to pull your hair out. Share what’s not working, and what’s helping you. You’re not sharing industry secrets here, you’re sharing experiences, and I bet a lot of people will be able to relate, no matter what stage of your journey you’re at.

No matter what level of success you’ve achieved, you’ll still find stress, struggles, obstacles and the like – so putting your mental health first is key! Being honest, and opening up about your struggles humanizes your brand – and people want to know YOU! They’re not just buying a product or service – they’re buying into YOU. You are your brand! This of course, makes finding “work/life balance” a real struggle – I mean – does that even exist (I think it’s just called boundaries). So I challenge you to get a little more “real”. I get that you might only clean your house when you need to take a cute shot for instagram, or that you haven’t washed your hair in days, and honestly, that’s what people will like about you – that you too, are real, authentic, and willing to share.

Update: A friend reminded me of this amazing Q&A with my spirit animal, Jen Gotch. Throwing up my hands and saying YES to how Jen speaks about this subject!

September 26, 2017

I think it’s about time we start changing how we talk about money. Over the past two years, I’ve consciously made a decision to shift how I think about money, so when my mom called me out for the way I was talking, it was a great reminder that I needed to check in with myself.

Changing How We Talk About Money | Handlettered by Ilana GriffoWe’ve been working on some major home updates, and I had my eye on some beautiful wallpaper. A few things about wallpaper: you can’t take it with you, you’re “stuck” with it for a while, it’s amazing and beautiful, and a pain to install. I found one I really loved, and was almost certain I’d be putting it on a mini wall in our nursery. I looked around for alternatives, but really loved how it would make an impact in the room. I settled for only doing a mini wall (we’ve got some interesting configurations over here), but ideally, a full wall would have been amazing. Granted, it’s not a huge investment, but once I realized I could do a much less expensive “faux” wallpaper, I started saying “I can’t afford wallpaper”. Thanks Mom, for bringing me back to reality. Of course I can afford it, but it’s not where I WANT to spend my money.

Instead of focusing on what you “can’t afford”, focus on what’s going to fulfill you – will spending your money on X make you happy, or would you be happier buying Y and Z? I’ve found Caroline Joy’s capsule-ish wardrobe to be a major contributor to how I changed my mindset. I also read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck!” and took what I resonated with from both. I didn’t follow the book to a T, and some chapters didn’t resonate with me (or were things already ingrained in me!), but I found value in both! I’m loving that each purchase has more purpose, and intention behind it, and I really appreciate the items I surround myself with daily.



Represented by Jennifer Vaughn Artist Agency. For commercial work please contact Jen Vaughn at jen@jenvaughnart.com or 760-808-2462