One of the best things about living in the digital age is seeing the progress we've made in terms of business to customer interaction. Using the internet has developed into a mandatory practice in creating and sustaining a growing business. With entrepreneurship at an all-time high and social media as the number one tool for marketing, it's no wonder why most businesses are being run from home allowing more people the opportunity to be their own bosses, do what they love and generate an income from it.
One artist in particular has taken note of this and jumped on the entrepreneurship bandwagon. Oregon resident, Brandace Rojo, who has a long lived passion for artistry and crafts, is the owner of Humans in Bloom, a business that specializes in creating handmade ceramic art and acrylic paintings. The demand for her unique creations and knack for knowing the ways of social media has earned Brandace the ability to not only connect with potential customers, but create a successful business by exercising her love for art.
I had a moment to speak with Brandace and learn more about Humans in Bloom, her inspirations for creating works of art and her tips on how to establish a successful business.
3. Where are you from?
I spent most of my life in Southern California—I grew up in San Diego and spent my high school years in Simi Valley. I get to call southern Oregon my home now! I live in a little cottage on the river in a small town called Gold Hill and it’s pretty amazing!
I feel like I’m living in Fergully.
4. Tell us a bit more about your business, Humans in Bloom.
I’ve been painting for about ten years now and making ceramic art for about two years. I feel like I’ve really started to hone my abstract and super colorful aesthetic and style as an artist since I moved to Oregon. I’m inspired by the full spectrum of emotions that people experience every day, especially the ones that leave us feeling negative. I like to create art that takes that negativity and turns into something optimistic and happy. I think that’s where the idea for the name Humans in Bloom comes from.
I like to think that I’m expressing people from the inside out whether it’s on canvas or through my ceramics.
5. As an artist that paints and creates ceramics, what would you say are the hardest parts of working with each medium?
I actually never imagined I would love working with clay so much when I first started but it’s a medium that lends itself to my creative process well. I mess up a lot when I’m making art and being able to turn my mistake into something else is key for me so clay and paint are great because they’re so easily transformed—I guess that didn’t answer your question though!
The hardest part of working with clay would personally have to be throwing anything on the wheel. I’m terrible at it! I prefer to hand build everything I make which means it takes longer so I can’t produce as much as someone who uses a pottery wheel would. That really just means that each piece I create is that much more special. It’s hard to exactly replicate something that was hand built.
As for paint, I find that the most challenging this can be finding paint that’s the texture I like. It’s hard because even within the same brand, the texture of each color varies.
6. Because you have some very unique pieces in your collections,
how do you gain inspiration for your work?
I’m inspired first and foremost by daily life and the emotionally journey people go through every day. I also pull a lot of inspiration from other art in all types of mediums, fashion, nature, and of course friends and family—they always have cool ideas to share with me.
7. What moment in your life did you realize that visualizing and creating
is something you wanted to do as a living?
I don’t know if I can pin point this to one moment—it was more of a snowball effect. I started getting into art when I was in high school because the group of friends I had was full of extremely creative people. From music, to painting, to fashion design and acting, I was totally inspired by them. Most of them are actually working in some type of artistic industry now which makes me so happy! Back then it was really just a hobby though. It gradually turned into a passion and then something that I wanted to do seriously as the years have gone on.
8. As a business owner, what are some great tips you can share
about devising and establishing a business?
1. Social media isn’t going away so use it!—I’ve learned a lot about social media marketing through the work that I do at the public library and have just recently started to apply that stuff to my own little art business. Facebook is the #1 marketing tool out there right now and it’s also the cheapest way to get yourself out there! Now that they’ve bought Instagram, you get more bang for your buck. Set a monthly advertising budget for your business and explore all of the cool ways to advertise using social media. It’s totally worth it.
2. People love free stuff.— Don’t we all? It’s nice to let your people know that you appreciate them by doing a giveaway every once in a while or offering a discount/sale here and there. Take that a step further by turning it into exposure for your business by creating a call to action in order to get the discount or giveaway. A good example would be requiring people to share a Facebook post or follow your Instagram page in order to enter a contest.
3. We live in a visual world so good pictures are important.—You don’t need a fancy camera to accomplish this, just get creative. It’s perfectly acceptable to use a cell phone camera (that’s usually how I do it). The way that people perceive the value a product is pretty much directly linked to the product photography. Play with different angles and lighting, take pictures indoors and outdoors. You’ll figure out what works best for you through trial and error.
9. You grew up in California and now live in Oregon.
What are the best things about it? What are the worst things about it?
The best things about living in southern Oregon are the easy access to nature, low cost of living, and no traffic. The things I miss the most about living in California are the cultural diversity and amazing food… let’s not forget all of the 24-hour taco shops. I REALLY miss those.
10. What is your most favorite piece from your collections?
As far as ceramic art goes, I really love the marbled porcelain bowls with the raw edge. The process to make those is so time consuming and messy but also a lot of fun. And I would have to say that my favorite painting is a piece called Gossip Folks that I did on a round canvas—it kind of looks like the heads of conjoined twins. I really love how it turned out and will probably get it tattooed at some point. It was inspired by one of my favorite modern artists, Many Tsung. Look her up on Instagram; her portrait work is stunning!
11. Who inspires you in your everyday life?
People who are strong without realizing that they are inspire me.
12. What are goals for 2017?
I would love to get a DBA license for Humans in Bloom and start to get myself out there locally by doing more art shows and displays around southern Oregon. I also have this idea to work with a local photographer and find some models to do body art on. It would be great to bring that idea to life in the coming year.