Trying to get a business up and running can be challenging and for founder of Solveig Studio, Kaaren Anderson, the learning curve was steep, like 85 per cent steep.
“This is my learning curve, there’s really no curve,” says Anderson.
“Most people laugh, and shake their head, yet it’s true. I’ve had a crash course in creating a business plan, marketing, public relations, R&D, product creation, budgeting, projections, networking, what risks to take, etc.
“Yet, truth be told, I like a challenge. I’m most comfortable in life, when my head is just above the water swimming. I’m not drowning, nor floating, but moving forward, learning as I go. Clearly I’m no Emma Mc Keon, but I’m splashing through the water and enjoying the challenge, no doubt.”
Anderson says each day she wakes up she reminds herself not about the bottom line or her to-do list but to get more joy and laughter into people’s lives and homes.
“That’s it. That simple mantra keeps me motivated through the boring administrative tasks, influences who I choose to collaborate with or not, guides marketing, shapes the course of future products, and so much more. Whether drawing or making business decisions, if I’m not smiling, I know I’m off track.”
Only launched last September, Solveig Studio made its debut at the NY NOW fair in August featuring Anderson’s DOG Days of Summer line including 14 new dog plates.
“It’s the place to be with new products, ideas and designs. I wanted to challenge myself early on to take on such a beast. It proved both fruitful and engaging. I made great contacts, met some wonderful new customers, and launched my line nationally and internationally.
“People resonated with the quirkiness of the illustrations, the utility of the work, and the biographies of each animal character. I felt very fortunate and encouraged by the end of the show,” she enthuses.
Inspiration for her unique designs comes from different sources such as New Yorker cartoons, graffiti and mural artists, and her daily observations of people and animals’ quirks and oddities including her menagerie of pets (she lives on a horse farm).
“I draw with sharpies on paper and work with a local engineer in upstate New York, whose proprietary printing process is central to the work. The image from drawing to plate/platter remains vibrant, electric, bold and unusual. They are truly unique to the tabletop genre and format.
“I’m not content with the whimsy of a character. I think in both visual and story form. Each animal has a funny bio that speaks to the overall creation and is included with each purchase.”
Her latest investigative project is illustrated yoga mats. “There is something hilarious about my dog drawings printed on a yoga mat as a practitioner bends into … a downward dog.”
She adds: “I’m doing what I love, creating joy and laughter for myself and others, and I get paid to do it. That’s pretty sweet.
“A friend gave me this little mantra on a poster: Life is Shor. Not life is short, but life is shor, because it is—I’ve got today, that’s all I know. So it’s worth taking on each day like it’s potentially my last.”
By Marion Gerritsen