“If you have a ‘Day Job’ that is totally OK, you are not less of an artist, creative, etc. for having one. You are smart! Your day job is your best Investor/Sponsor for your creative endeavor.”
Our next Creative Business feature is the lovely Caro Montiel of Fox Bear Studio. Caro is an amazing illustrator and designer, creating wonderfully whimsical children’s illustrations and gorgeous surface pattern designs. She has the sweetest range of little character illustrations (my favourite is Lion Bear) and even makes little animations with them. Let’s find out more about the inspiring woman behind the creative business…
What does creativity mean to you?
For me, creativity means being able to explore different media, and being inventive, doing the best with what you got at hand.
Have you always been creative?
When I recall my childhood memories, yes, but I think somewhere in the way I lost that spark. Thankfully, that spark was ignited again when my first child was born.
What first got you interested in your field?
I tried drawing as a creative outlet; back in 2017, I was blogging about DIYs.
I saw a promo for an online course, and I enrolled in it with no major expectations, just to give it a try! And everything has snowballed since then. I started a 365 challenge on Instagram to keep me accountable. I kept drawing every day, even if it was just a simple doodle.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
The freedom of being your own boss, the flexibility of deciding my own hours. Financial freedom is another big one for me and being able to provide for my family.
What is your favourite thing about your work?
The experimentation phase and imagining all the possibilities. When I visualize my designs and characters out in the wild. In nurseries and playrooms, kid’s rooms, paper goods, party goods, it is so exciting and motivating.
What is a ‘reality’ of your work that other people don’t realise?
It takes a lot of work and is not only about drawing cute things. If you want to have a thriving business, you have to keep learning and investing in yourself, market yourself and your work. You need to do a lot of things that are not necessarily creative, like writing emails, pitching yourself to prospective clients.
How do you handle creative ‘blocks’ in work?
Walking in nature helps a lot, just to clear my mind. We are fortunate to live close by the woods and parks. Also, I keep a list of ideas I would like to develop, and when in need of a little inspiration, I can go back to it.
Do you have any other creative interests?
I enjoy baking and cake decorating. Love GBBO. And in general, doing DIYs.
Punch needle has caught my eye lately! Would love to see my characters Punch needled, maybe some punch needle plushies, which is a creative project that I have on my list!
What one thing would you say to someone dreaming of starting their own creative business?
I would say many things! Hahaha, I would tell them that there is no better moment to start than now, it is never too late or too early.
It is hard work and is a marathon, not a sprint. The people you see that are successful now have worked at it for many years and never gave up their dream.
If you have a ‘Day Job’ that is totally OK, you are not less of an artist, creative, etc. for having one. You are smart! Your day job is your best Investor/Sponsor for your creative endeavor.
The last comment from Caro is a really important one and I’m so pleased she said it – it’s okay to have a day job… it’s ‘your best investor/sponsor’. How brilliant is that? There are so many women working a nine-to-five whilst growing their business and creating incredible things. It absolutely doesn’t make them any less talented, professional, or worthy. I’m very grateful I get to work in and on my business full time but that doesn’t make me any more ‘valid’ as a artist and designer. I also know friends who sometimes feel down about having to work for someone else during the day, but Caro’s point of a day job being your best investor is so empowering. Nine-to-fives are fueling so many incredible and inspiring startups… thank goodness for day jobs or we wouldn’t get to enjoy those women’s creativity!
Time for Caro’s self-portrait. This is what she had to say about it: “I love this photo, we were starting to teach the girls about growing veggies. We started growing peppers. The whole family was in the back garden on a sunny day and transplanting our little pepper plants with the girls. The photo represents family, learning together, playing together and enjoying life’s beautiful little moments.”
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