Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.

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, 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.”

Loading more