"...I see artists time and time again...stop posting/creating or trying to change their style to be more relevant. Just DO YOU BOO..."
When I first came across K-Rae designs on Instagram, I was enthralled by the vibrant, happy artwork before me. It was different to anything I had been exposed to with other graphic artists I followed on the gram, so I felt like I was discovering a new world. It had such a "cool, fresh" feel to it, and I instantly found myself wanting to know more about the woman behind the brand Kimberly Engwicht.
Here we are, almost a year later and the Brisbane based mum of two, sat down with me to discuss all things business, what it was like growing up in Darwin, over-coming those oh too familiar creative blocks, juggling motherhood and running a business, and of course, her skincare routine, amongst other things.
Let's start with who you are and what do you do?
My name is Kimberly and I live in Rochedale South, Brisbane. I am the Creative Director of K-Rae Designs - a digital art and stationery business. I produce digital art from my iPad and create greeting cards, prints for your home, stickers, notepads and everything in between.
Where did you grow up? What was it like?
"It's a very chilled and relaxed city where weekends are either spent by arvo drinks down at Fannie Bay (haha yes this is a suburb on the beach)"
I grew up in Darwin with my Mum, Dad and little sister. It was the absolute best growing up in the Northern Territory - bloody hot but the best! Darwin is very multi-cutural and is proudly named the gateway to Asia...so we grew up with the best of foods ranging from a huge variety of different countries. It's a very chilled and relaxed city where weekends are either spent by arvo drinks down at Fannie Bay (haha yes this is a suburb on the beach), a stroll through the Mindil Beach Markets or a road trip down to one of the amazing waterholes.
What were you doing before you started your business? Did you enjoy it?
Once I finished high school I moved from Darwin to Brisbane and got a job as an admin assistant at an international college. Didn't really enjoy it there so then moved onto Flight Centre where I spent 4 years working in different areas. I was in the head quarters in the middle of the city and I loved it. Then I got pregnant with my first baby and never returned to the 9-5 workforce....thus the beginning of K-Rae Designs.
What led you to start your business?
"I created an Instagram account and started uploading my lettering at the time."
I knew I never wanted to go back to a 9-5 office job. I hated the politics that I experienced at each and every one of my previous roles in the workforce and I knew that something creative in me needed to be shared with the world.
I started out experimenting with water colours, textas and ink pens with lettering on paper and card. I created an Instagram account and started uploading my lettering at the time. I've always had a love for greeting cards so I knew I had to bring out my own range. I then bought an Apple iPad and then played around with lettering via the app Procreate. Now I've never looked back. Digital art and lettering ALL THE WAY BABEH! Haha.
What obstacles/ failures have you had to overcome in your life/business to get to where you are now, have those obstacles made you stronger and wiser? If so how?
"...the ability to say "no"...This has made me stronger, I believe, and has made my mental state much more clearer."
Ooohh good question. I think pricing my work was and still is a huge obstacle in my business. It's so hard putting a price on your time and work...well for me it is anyway. I knew in the beginning I started out with pricing myself wayyyy too low. Burning myself out and not valuing my time. But now, over the years...I have gained more knowledge about what to price and to value myself as an artist. I still believe I charge too low...but I'm getting there.
Another point is the ability to say no. It's only been this year where I have had to make the decision not to take on a lot of work at one time and having the ability to say "no" when I'm not feeling it or the project doesn't align with who I am/what I do. This has made me stronger, I believe, and has made my mental state much more clearer.
Do you have creative blocks and how do you overcome those?
"I don't push it because I know it's forcing it and my work will turn out shit."
Ohhhh yes! I experience creative blocks allll the dang time. I hate it...because sometimes I'm in the mood to create but when I sit down...nothing comes to me.
I don't really do anything to overcome it...I let the creative block have it's moment. I don't push it because I know it's forcing it and my work will turn out shit. So, I just leave it be...go and take a walk, play with the kids...do something else...even if it is a couple of days until I pick up the pen again. Then when I have an idea come to mind that's when I know I've got my mojo back.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Other artists I follow or see on Instagram and the world around me. I love cafes, coffee, pop art and people...so these are usually shown in my body of works.
Why do you think so many people fail in your industry and what did you do differently to overcome that?
I feel people fail when they don't see people loving on their work OR being true to their unique style. At first I always thought...oh the more 'likes' on my art the more people are loving me and what I do. But I see artists time and time again...stop posting/creating or trying to change their style to be more relevant. Just DO YOU BOO is my biggest mantra...be the type of artist you want to be, draw/create what YOU want to create and don't give two flying ducks about what people have to think about your art. (Even I'm still learning this)
How do you juggle running a business, being a mum and a wife and keep your sanity?
GIN...loads of gin. Haha it's a ride I tell ya! I think I just give each component of my life their own given time. When I'm in work mode...I'm in work mode, when it's kid time, it's kid time and so on and so on. Of course there are always distractions but I just take it as it comes.
Keeping my sanity is a MUST...so alone time out getting a pedicure or a massage on the weekend does me fine. I also LOVEEEE having coffee dates or a sneaky cocktail outing with friends.
Your skincare routine?
Can I say...none? I legit don't. Is that bad? Haha.
I sometimes use Jojoba Oil products to wash my face and moisturise. But that's like really rare haha. The one thing I DO use on the daily is my favourite lip balm...Balm Balm Co. Can never go a day without it.
We hear you babe ;)