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Maker Monday: Keely

I have always wanted to own my own business, especially so while in my last semester before graduating from Graphic Design. I thought about this All. Day. Long. Finally, after working from home with my 1 year during the pandemic, while pregnant with my son, I figured, if I can do this, I can do anything. I launched Alluring Labels soon after giving birth with the goal of creating one design/artwork each day.

What do you make? I create digital paintings of Canadian landscapes, pet portraits, and one-of-a-kind spice labels. Spice labels were created in December 2020, and since then I have added over 30 digital paintings to the shop.

Why do you create? What is your spark? I have anxiety. There are a few ways for me to release my anxieties, one is to clean and organize the house, while I organize my thoughts, get outside and exercise, another is to release it with art. If I feel anxious or stressed this is my favourite way to feel myself again.

What is art to you personally? Art is a way to create from both mind and heart. Being a designer, my artworks are thought out before I even begin to put my apple pen on my iPad. It's a way to release anxiety and stress and turn that into something beautiful.

When did you first become inspired to start creating? From a very young age. I always loved to paint, design, build!

Were you born an artist or made an artist? I would say, a bit of both. I studied Graphic design and took a few fine arts courses. I felt like the courses made me question my art, but also showed me different techniques I could use. This made my art grow into something a little more thought-out.

What is your favorite tool/thing to work with? My iPad and apple pencil! I don't know how I lived so long without this. I splurged after a few sales and I would never go back. I went from painting with paint and canvas to painting on my iPad. It is so different but the perfectionist in me loves the fact that I can easily correct mistakes.

How have you developed your career? I do everything myself (good or bad, I'm not sure). I have taken courses in web design and development, SEO, and photography. I want to learn all aspects of this crazy online world to help my business and myself grow.

What are your hobbies? My family. From my husband and kids, to my fur baby and all my extended family. I wouldn't be who I am today without them. Exploring- hiking, snowboarding Road trips! I love exploring North America, Canada especially!

What is the hardest part of running your own business? Managing the time to do everything while having kids at home full time and working full time. But if you live what you do, you make the time.

What keeps you up at night? Everything, literally. I have type 1 diabetes and anxiety, and two young kids (2 year old and 8 month old), so the three together leave me with some sleepless nights.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? Hopefully doing this full-time. That's the dream. Or at the very least working Freelance in Graphic Design and Alluring Labels as my priority.

What advice would your current self give your beginner self? Just do it! I waited so long to just jump in with both feet. It took a pandemic for me to realize I needed to just go for it.

If you weren’t a graphic designer, what would you be doing? If I weren't a Graphic Designer, I would be a nutritionist. That's what I wanted to be when I first went to cegep. Then I took my first math course and realized it just wasn't for me (insert crying laughing face here!). I am SO bad at math, it's not even funny.

Describe your creative process I start with looking for inspiration- people's photos or my own. Then I decide what style (day, night, sunset, stars, beach, forest, etc). From there I plan out how to layout my page. And then I just go for it.

What do you love most about being an artist? Creative freedom. When I first studied graphic design, I thought I would be creating everything myself, until I got my first job and realized I was just a tool for other people to let out their creativity.

Have you taken classes or are you self-taught? Both. I studied graphic design, but am a self-taught painter.

Where do you find inspiration? Canadian photographers, or just going out and exploring myself.

What is your biggest fear about following your dream? That it won't work. That people won't like my art and that I will lose money. It's one of the reasons it took me so long to take the leap.

What is your advice to others starting out?

Go for it. Don't let fear get in the way. The worst that will happen is you'll be right where you are today and the best thing is that your business takes off and you can quit your 9-5 to do what you love all day!

Follow Keely on Instagram @alluringlabels

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