2014 was like whoa!

And we’re back! 2014 was insane… in a good way. This year Robo Roku dived into licensing shows and the licensing world. I tried to prepare for that by not restocking stores we were in and not doing as many selling shows, but between online sales, the few selling shows we did and adding the licensing shows and design work we had to do for those shows (plus life changes here and there) it was quite a lot. 2014 was certainly a learning/practice year. 2013 was all about art licensing classes and learning and 2014 was about implementing what I had learned, licensing shows, and taking more classes. It was hard to try to balance everything, and I know I failed – I was behind on deadlines, didn’t post on social media enough, had a blogging break, many things suffered. Even today, I am scrambling to finish things I’m behind on because I am determined to not have anything hanging over my head as we go into the new year….except maybe this…
Too Many Leaves
Raking will be done tomorrow. Sorry neighbors! It really sucks because we’re the corner house. I’m sure our neighbors are not happy with us.

I don’t want you to think 2014 was a bad year, because it was quite an exciting year. We did new shows, I made new friends, our artwork has improved, our online sales improved, we got two agents, everything seemed to be on an upswing. I call 2014 a “practice” year even though everything we did was “live”. I didn’t expect much from the licensing shows we did, but good things came from them. I’ll be going into 2015 having a better understanding of the time, energy, and work it will take to bulk up our portfolio for the licensing shows; I have sales data of what sold best at shows and online, and what our customers want more of, which will help us streamline and order supplies more smartly. 2015 will be about spending my energy and time more wisely. I can’t be all the things all the time, but I can continue to grow my dream biz without exhausting myself into a ball on my sofa.

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar went well. From December 16 – 24th our booth was open 11am-11pm. It was a very long 9 days. This pic was on the last day, as you can see we don’t have as big of a selection; load out was not so bad, as we had sold out of quite a lot. See the kids clothes on the wall? Those were made by our guest vendor Petite Pensieri. We love doing this show and can’t wait to do it again next year.
Armadillo

I only asked for one thing for Christmas, and it is the best thing ever. I’ve been snuggling up in this on the sofa. The sleeves are very wide, so I sorta feel like Renée the Pink, Wizard of Cute!
Snuggie

I’m not going out tonight. I’ll probably be in my Hello Kitty Snuggie most of the night to tell the truth. The cool thing about the Snuggie is I can still work in it! It may seem rather boring to be working on the designated party night of the year, but I want to start 2015 off ready. Tonight I will be organizing my goals by assigning deadlines and timelines for everything. I work better when most of my days are planned out. This is why most of my friends know we need to make plans a month in advance. Booking my time keeps me sane and better on top of things. You know I don’t really make NYE resolutions, I feel like a lot of resolutions don’t work out because they tend to just be wishes. I’m a planner. By breaking up my big dreams into tiny goals I can plug into my planner I’m able to reach my goals without freaking out over them. Maybe that tactic will work out for you? Let me know what you’re looking to accomplish in 2015, and if there’s anything I can do to help, reach out!

Sending you wishes of love, prosperity, (and safety if you’re going out tonight) – let’s own 2015, and not just float through it.
XO!
-renée

happy thanksgiving!

Trees
Happy Thanksgiving!

This month has been a whirlwind of busy! We’ve been prepping for Printsource (50 designs and/or patterns due 12/1!), we also had designs to work on for some licensees, add ordering supplies, and starting in on holiday show prep. Whew! I am SO glad we decided not to do any bigger shows this November. I think I’d be dead if we had done our normal show schedule with our new licensing workload. I’ll do a “the haps” post soon to fill you in more.

Today I want to share what I’m thankful for with you.

1) Work
No matter how busy I am, I am so thankful to do work I love. Admittedly some days I’m so tired I want to quit, but that’s just a passing phase when I’m heavily overloaded. I love drawing, painting, making, and blogging. I also love sleep. 😉

2) Family & Friends
I could not be where I am without a strong supportive network. When your work is so demanding and can be a bit of a roller coaster having friends and family that say they believe in you, and keep your chin up when you’re low, congratulate you when you’re on a roll, and have fun time with you so you can decompress, is just the best! Monthly meet ups at Sierra’s with a group of girls all working for themselves is really helpful (and fun, too!).

3) Being Grateful
This one may seem weird, but I know a lot of people out there that seem to take for granted the good in their life. I’m glad I have a grateful spirit. It keeps me grounded, and I think when you show gratitude, you attract more things to be grateful for.

4) Josh
He totally deserves his own number. I’m always amazed at how well we work together, but then I see it’s because we respect each other, and always say thank you. Working and living together could be strenuous, and we both need our alone time, so we make sure to give each other space when we can. We’re really good at teaming up to get stuff done, and when one is sick or behind schedule, we pick up their slack. Go team Robo Roku!

5) SXSW, Cherrywood Art Fair, Make Art That Sells (MATS), Tara Reed, and Cultivate Art Collective
This is a group thanks, because these organizations and people helped get Robo Roku on the licensing path. If it weren’t for me volunteering for SXSW I would have never met someone that would eventually be in charge of merchandise for SXSW, who would then see our work at Cherrywood Art Fair, and offer us our first licensing deal. From there I signed up for MATS and learned about the licensing world, and then joined Cultivate Art Collective (started by a member of MATS) which would get us to Surtex & Printsource. Tara Reed has been a fabulous mentor, and with her suggestion of going to Licensing Expo we have secured agents and licensing deals.

6) Music
I love nothing more than seeing my favorite bands play live. Music is on almost all the time, I even play music when I shower! Music fills my soul. It has always been how I get through my days (you can ask my parents and brother about that). My parents patience with me always playing music is quite spectacular.

Of course I’m thankful for more than this list, but these are the big ones. This list is what my life is about. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be sure to eat some stuffing for me!

XO!
-renée

the haps: holiday crunch time is coming

paperplanes
I’m happy that we will be returning this necklace to the This Creative Life shop soon. With one small change, our wood necklaces are going to be hand-painted again. This one was printed for us. We’re working on re-launching the This Creative Life line soon.

WORKING ON:
Our new project, This Creative Life online shop, getting caught up for holiday crunch time, blog posts, design portfolio for our agents and Printsource.

THINKING ABOUT:
How to survive the next three months.

ANTICIPATING:
Finishing up the site for our new project, redoing the blog layout (seriously, I have it planned out, just no time to make this happen! sigh.), the holiday season rush, and Printsource.

LISTENING TO:
Taxes and Pompeii (more about that tomorrow).

THANKFUL FOR:
1. Sierra — she’s going to work my booth at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar the night of The Hobbit release, so Josh and I can go.
2. That things have been falling into place here. Josh’s last day at the print shop is on the 24th. Soon he will have more time to work on Robo Roku stuff, which is so great, because we are quite behind.

PLANNING FOR:
This will probably not be changing for the rest of the year: Holiday season, and licensing shows next year.

WATCHING:
ALL THE SHOWS! Ha ha! I seriously watch a lot of tv, but it’s the only way I can decompress. I haven’t watched Netflix much recently because of the fall shows being back. Doctor Who, Revenge, The Good Wife, Downton Abbey, Selfie, Madam Secretary, Scandal, Blacklist, Sleepy Hollow, Gotham, Cutthroat Kitchen, Gracepoint, Nashville, How to Get Away With Murder, Franklin and Bash, and Project Runway (my fave!) — lots of tv. This list is kind of embarrassing, but seriously, without a way to veg out, I’d probably lose my mind. The normal things other people do to relax make my brain go into hyper-drive. Truth be told, I work on my computer blogging or emailing while watching a lot of these.

Are you getting ready for holiday crunch time, too? Anything you’d love to see return to the shop? Back to work I go!

xo
-renée

the haps: secret stuff update

These photos are not the best, but we were pretty excited to get them emailed to us. In August we signed a licensing deal for tech cases that were being debuted at a trade show late last month. The licensee sent us pics from the show. There was a tight turnaround, so not all the designs we submitted were made into cases in time, but they did add some of our designs to their signage. We can’t wait to see how some of our other designs turn out.

Robo Roku Bubble Tea Sea
Robo Roku Rad Panda Ipad Case
Robo Roku Signage

More exciting news… we signed with agency Supermarcas for representation in Latin America, Mexico, and Panama. Seeing the other names they represent was quite humbling. I cannot believe our logo will soon be added to that list. It’s both exciting and overwhelming. Things seem to be moving pretty fast in these parts, but I’m not complaining.

Tomorrow we’ll be at the Austin Flea at Opal Divine’s. ATX friends, please come out and say hi! More news is coming, but we’re not quite ready to show our project, yet. Hopefully next week. EEP!

xo
-renée

making time for fun and friends

Last week flew by! Josh and I have been pulling in 14-15 hour days, and finally took a little bit of time off this weekend. Saturday night we went and saw Tegan and Sara. Josh loves Tegan and Sara and had never seen them live before. I didn’t think we were going to make it to the show, as we both got hit hard that day with allergies. We stayed home as late as we could and got to the venue about 15 minutes before Tegan and Sara took the stage. Perfect timing. Their light show was amazing. I kept trying to take pis from my phone, but I was too far to do them justice. I must admit the lights distracted me a bit, I kept wanting to draw them. I found this pic online that just caught a little bit of how fun they were. If you like Tegan and Sara, def try to catch a show this tour.

Tegan and Sara
photo by vladislav grach

Sunday Roxy was in town, which means a trip to Veggie Heaven and Momoko are in order. I haven’t been to Momoko for Bubble Tea in months, and I have been craving it so much. I didn’t get my usual Strawberry Jelly Milk, I decided to be a twinsie with Roxy and get Kogepan Pudding Pearl Milk tea. It’s a yummy drink I love to get in the fall.

Bubble Tea

On our drive back home we happened to drive by where Sierra was the hired talent for Teva, so we turned around and hung out with her DIY’ing some free Tevas. It was a lot of fun. One street over was another place Roxy likes me to take her, Hope Outdoor Gallery also known as Castle Hill. We went over and grabbed a few snap shots.
Castle Hill

After our fun I came home and worked on my homework for the Mati Rose class, watched Madame Secretary (I LOVE Téa Leoni) and then went over to Sierra’s for some more girl time. It was nice to take a bit of a break, even though we have SO much going on. I’ll share more about that later this week. I hope you had some fun this weekend, too. It was a nice reminder to try and get in more down time. I love what I do, so it doesn’t always feel like work, but going on adventures and rocking out at shows are just so good for the soul.

xo
-renée

the haps: why so few posts lately

dolphins

Jen and I were going to meet this past week now that she’s settled into the neighborhood after moving, but unfortunately out of the last nine days I’ve spent eight of them in the hospital visiting friends & family. Hopefully yesterday was the last day I have to go the hospital for awhile. This dolphin sculpture at the hospital has been quite soothing through the stress.

let’s breakdown the haps….

WORKING ON:
Not as much this past week as I would have liked (lots of running errands and going and back and forth from the hospital every day). Monday I started an online course called “Daring Adventures in Creative Biz” by Mati Rose. This course came along at a good time for me, because I’ve been feeling a little lost in the shuffle of art vs craft vs art licensing and trying to figure out the best way to have our biz online presence make sense to licensees/manufacturers, and to our current customers. In another class I took we were told our site shouldn’t be focused on selling, because licensees are not interested in seeing that. That makes sense if Josh and I wanted to solely do licensing, but the main reason we wanted to get into licensing is so we could focus more on drawing and have time for painting again. Josh and I want to continue to make goods and sell at shows; getting to see people react and talk with us about our work is so fun. We don’t want to be isolated at home. I’m a little behind on the lessons this week, but so far, I’ve loved interacting with the other students, and am always excited to make new friends on similar paths. We also finalized a name for a sorta new project, and I can’t wait to share more about that next week. EEP! We did redo our site recently (going to announce later this week, after we add more goods), and I like that we made it more visual straight away. Check it out, and let me know what you think.

THINKING ABOUT:
Blogging (if I’m not blogging I am thinking about it – or feeling guilty for being silent), our new project, and getting caught up for holiday crunch time.

ANTICIPATING:
Finishing up the new site, redoing the blog layout, getting the holiday show goods lined up and ready, and having designs ready for Printsource in January.

LISTENING TO:
My Donavon Frankenreiter Pandora station… still.

THANKFUL FOR:

Having friends that get my life careerstyle (Sierra says this blog is more “career style” than lifestyle) and don’t hate me for being too busy to hang, and like talking “biz” as much as I do.

PLANNING FOR:
Holiday season, and licensing shows next year.

WATCHING:
I’ve been switching between my second time through House on Netflix, and (I don’t know how many times watching) The West Wing. ALSO! Fall shows started, and I’m excited to see more eps of Selfie, Madam Secretary, and How to Get Away With Murder. Scandal was a little too “racy” for my taste, I’m not sure how long I’ll keep watching if they don’t shift the focus to cases, I’m not into the making-out scenes.

Recap of last week done. I’m looking forward to getting back on track and introducing you to more artists and sharing more behind the scenes of artists doing their thing. 😉

xo
-renée



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