A recurring theme with many of the people I have interviewed for Creative Corner is the excellent mindset they have. Whether they have used their creative outlets to overcome health issues or used their ideas to channel their energies into positive mindset. This weeks interviewee shows a great positive attitude and is keen to develop and grow both herself and her business. Meeting Lara King Draws is a great read this week!
Hi! Thank you for giving me this platform to talk about myself, it’s my best skill woohoo! Hola! Mi nombre es Lara and I’m a total beginner at Spanish! I’m a British illustrator and small business owner behind LaraKingDraws. I graduated with BA (Hons) Digital Animation in 2014 and opened my first online shop in 2015. I’m into self-growth, mindfulness & yoga, travelling & anything space themed. I’m always open to learning new things and disillusioning old beliefs!
Tell us a bit About Lara King Draws
Lara King Draws mission is to help restore faith in our humanity and bring a little light into the darkness. I want my platform to bring a smile to you. I create bespoke goods for all occasions and fun accessories for all!
What made you start your own business?
In 2015 I started a new full-time job shortly after my mum passed away. I worked 9-6 in a windowless room, crammed in with others. Craving creativity, colour and choice. I spent my days in figurative darkness and nights feeding up ‘Lalalam’, my first Etsy shop I still co-own with my friend. Amy. I’m always inspired by my friend’s talents, her work is to die for! With endless ideas and determination, I opened my own shop in 2016 which allows me to enjoy other creative pursuits. Think fan-art, custom art, accessories & jewellery, greeting cards and prints, etc., you name it, you’ll find it in either of my shops!
Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I am armed with a graduate’s degree in digital animation. I guess I skipped the semester on becoming a business owner for non-animation projects..! However I learnt what self-belief feels like and how fulfilling life can be when working on a ‘passion project’ (hint: VERY fulfilling!). Every obstacle faced has been an opportunity to learn and grow. I’ve written more about this on my Instagram post dated 31st August 2017 (@larakingdraws).
Explain your creative process.
My creative process involves a bunch of scribbled notes strewn over my desk. Notepads fit to burst are tucked away in any available gap. I research a potential problem and how I will uniquely solve this. The process then varies depending what the product is, for example I enjoy designing enamel pins but I also creative custom wall décor which is very hands on.
Describe your typical day.
My typical day involves printing and packaging orders from the morning ’til lunchtime. If I have yoga class, I’ll get up extra early and try to meet a friend afterwards. I certainly couldn’t do this with previous jobs! Then I show up at my second home a.k.a the post office. I make my daily offering to the post gods and return home with food on my mind. After making lunch, I silence my phone and meditate. Once I’m done realising I just spent all that time thinking about myself and getting lost in thoughts, I have my first hit of caffeine in the early afternoon (black tea, coconut milk, no sugar thank you). I make the best tasting tea ever, just saying! Anyway!
I spend the afternoon working on personalised artwork and sending art proofs to my buyers, for their confirmation. If I have time (wishful thinking) I’ll tinker around with online listings or implement some of those exciting, new ideas.
I have other commitments in the evenings which see me through to dinnertime. At the end of the week I usually do an early evening post office run, followed by a walk down the seafront to chill out and have a break from the computer screen. I take an oath of courage to continue working on orders until the silly hours, and repeat!
What’s your biggest seller?
Apparently a lot of you are getting engaged! My personalised engagement prints have certainly ‘put me on the map’
I have digitally travelled the world via designing these prints and it’s such a treat, my geography is certainly improving! Check this out – I can spell Massachusetts without looking it up! Each print is completely bespoke and made to order for the couple. I create the proposal location on the heart-shaped map, add the couple’s names and their engagement date. I also get requests for unique shapes like a mountaintop shaped map representing a proposal in Arapaho National Forest. Cute!
I also offer unique, house-warming prints which are picking up momentum too!
Use ‘LALALOL’ at check-out for 10% OFF everything from both Larakingdraws and Lalalam.
What have been the high and low points of running Lara King Draws?
The highs of owning my own business are very clear for me to see. My vision of doing my own thing in life (and killing it) has come to fruition! It isn’t luck, it’s hard work and preparation. Another bonus to being an Etsy seller is spontaneously ‘aww-ing’ out loud at my buyer’s positive feedback and their stories they share with me.
If there be light, then there is darkness. There isn’t enough time to do EVERYTHING when it’s just you. This Christmas rush has tested me like no other time, everything is a learning curve!
The emotional labour involved requires constant awareness and vigilance. If you’re having a rough day or just drank a disappointing cup of tea (I didn’t make it!), you don’t want those bad vibes to effect your business. On a serious note, long-term thoughts about financial stability, your competition, etc., can totally overwhelm you and take over. Initially going against the grain is terribly scary. Being told “just get a normal job” is unsympathetic and also hard to ignore at this most vulnerable period. But please continue to walk your own path in life and follow your passion. It isn’t about proving others wrong.
“You can’t expect to live the same and feel different”. This quote is stuck on my wall and serves as a positive reminder to keep going.
What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?
This is a great question!
• Hmm, take all advice (including mine) with a pinch of salt. Question everything, question my advice! I’m still learning myself, I don’t have all the answers.
• Every obstacle faced (and you will face plenty, sorry!) is an opportunity for you to grow. Not everyone has the same tenacity and drive, some will quit. You’ll soon be raising the stakes, new opportunities will present themselves and you’ll enjoy this forward momentum for your business. It isn’t luck, it’s your hard working paying off. Well done you!
• Stop and smell the roses! If you’re always grinding away without appreciating the lifestyle you’ve cultivated, that’s not living. I need to remind myself of this too! Watch your emotions, you need to look out for yourself too. Even when everything seems to fail over and over. Will you pick yourself up or admit defeat?
• Bonus tip – find your passion and allow money to be the by-product of this. How fulfilling could your life be with this mindset?
What are your aspirations for Lara king Draws?
Hopefully one day when I’m engaged, my partner will commission me to create our own personalised engagement print! Joking aside, my aspirations are targeted inwardly and not so much outwardly. I want to master my emotions and really strengthen my self-growth skills. Side-effects from this naturally seep into everyday life, including my business.
Of course I have goals for myself and my online shops. These goals inspire me to lead a better life and to push myself higher. However, deep down I know I’ll hit ’em and chase the next goal. I’m really looking for permanent awareness and understanding of the bigger picture. To live my authentic life that positively contributes to society.
Where can we find you?
Here’s my links. Come at me! I love connecting with new friends too.