In the Studio with Artist + Educator Roben-Marie Smith
Have you had a chance to look around the new place?!..... I am in total heaven here! I am going to be totally honest here..... I had a lot of help! Hence where we will begin here......
I have had the fortunate opportunity to work with Roben-Marie Smith a couple of times now. Each time, I was so impressed with her great creative eye, her super savvy business sense, and her overwhelming knack with technology.
Roben-Marie is always so organized in her approach and even though I was maybe not as familiar with the technology, she was eager to help me learn and guide me through the process.
So that is why I was even more excited when I learned that Roben-Marie was going to be providing assistance with navigating technology and the business side of art. I feel so blessed to be providing all of you with this post here on my new website (thank you Roben-Marie) and being able to share this opportunity.
She hardly needs an introduction.... but, I am so happy to have Roben-Marie Smith here on my opening day of my website, as her stylish tech-sense is definitely present here....
Please, be my guest and look around the website if you haven't, as this-...this is what Roben-Marie has built.
And now, ....enjoy hearing her story!
How long have you been in business? When you first got started was it with your creative ideas and making things or was it selling items like your rubber stamps?
My business was created in 2003 stemming from my dabbling in scrapbooking and stamping. I began teaching at a local stamp store and as I was looking for new stamps to purchase, I realized that I should be making my own. This was the origin of Paperbag Studios and myself as a mixed media artist/entrepreneur.
Looking back at your business journey- do you feel like there has been one breakthrough idea or class that really pushed your business forward? Or do you feel like everything is just part of the journey?
My breakthrough occurred when I gave myself permission to see myself as a creative. Claiming my art as a place where rules and boundaries were negotiable and breakable opened new creative doors. Limitations and perfection were put on notice that this was an area in my life where they would be challenged and unnecessary. My mindset changed and my creativity soared.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I am NOT a morning person! I like to sleep in a bit and start my day with breakfast and then whenever possible, a hot bubble bath. I find this relaxes me and starts my day with self care. The rest of the morning is filled with business chores and “have to’s” that are listed on a calendar/agenda to keep me organized.
Afternoons are filled with spontaneous creativity when my schedule allows. If I find myself “in the zone”, I keep going and will push other things aside to keep the flow going. My favorite time to create is after sunset when things become quiet and slower. You can often find me in my studio in the evening.
You are a huge inspiration for so many of us, and constantly coming up with new ideas. Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from allowing an idea the time and space to develop. I try to not question myself about the value of an idea while letting the possibilities unfold. It's about seeing things, ideas and myself differently.
Do you take art classes or education?
I sign up for many art classes but finish few. I will often get a new idea and abandon the class to pursue my own designs. The exception is a business course! I love the business/technology side of being an artist and love to learn new skills. I will complete those courses.
And, with doing business, blogging, making classes, making super adorable stuff, how do you stay organized?
Simple answer: Trello.com. I start ideas with a pencil and paper but once it is starting to form I am all about software that creates workflow. I process information better in a technological form while keeping organized and reminded. Trello is my go to place for keep track of my business.
I know you are super techie and love that type of stuff, where and/or how are you finding out about the latest techie ideas or apps? How do you find time to see if that will really work for you? Some of them take time to figure out, and then you put information in, so how do you know if it really works for what you want it for?
I follow several technology blogs and an extension called “Product Hunt” to see the latest offerings in business technology. Did I mention I am a serious geek? I also use AppSumo to see new apps that are debuting. I read lots of reviews and know pretty quickly what will work for me and if it is worth pursuing. If I think it is going to help keep me productive and organized, I am willing to take the time to get to know the information better. I also know when to bail and walk away which comes from lots of experience. I think friends are a good resource for things that are working in their business and if it will be right for you.
Do you have staff that assist you with your business? Packaging and shipping? Posting to social media? Maybe doing video edits? I think you would have a line around the corner if you needed any help!
YES! Last year I hired an assistant, Karen to coordinate my design team and all that entails. I also have a church friend, Kaylee that helps with shipping. I have had a great experience with help in my business and frankly, I waited too long before hiring them. I should have done it years ago!
If an artist were thinking about moving towards art as a full-time hobby, what are some things that artist needs to be thinking about? Can you give three ideas to contemplate and get us started?
You need an online presence that is yours - a website that introduces who you are and what you do. I love social media but accounts can be closed and algorithms change so a site that you own is very important.
Develop a strong email list so that you have a direct form of communication with the people who discover you.
Reach out for help and guidance. Starting a new venture can be overwhelming and time consuming!
You have mentioned a new idea about helping artists, not only creatively, but on the business side of things. What is this idea? How does this work? Do tell! We want to know!
For years, I have quietly helped artists with tech help for their websites or building their business. I love it and it is time to bring that out of the shadows. It combines two of my favorite things - teaching and tech love. I am currently developing classes that will help creatives and makers leverage their original art into products for themselves to use or to sell. Online coaching for the technology side of business is coming as well. I am very excited about both as they have been on my To-do list for years.