"Women in business" Interview with CHARISMA CONCEPTS

[This blog post was originally written by Charisma's blog CharismaticConcepts. She has a "Women In Business" series, which is a bi-monthly feature that highlights female entrepreneurs and business owners.] 

watercolor floral wreaths

When did you start My Dearest Co and what led you to start it?
It has always been a dream of mine to create a brand and business. Ever since I was a kid, I would draw my very own fictional logo on the back of my handmade cards. A year ago, I asked myself the question:“What am I waiting for?” I’m never going to feel 100% ready to jump into it, so let’s just do it and figure it out as I go. That was when I decided to start My Dearest Co.

How long have you been creating with watercolors?
I remember always loving arts & crafts as a kid, and even when I was in high school I dabbled into watercoloring. However, I never considered myself a “creative” and so I didn’t pursue it professionally. Fast forward to 4 years ago, I graduated from college and started working in advertising as a brand strategist. I loved it, but I was spending most of my waking hours just working. I didn’t want my identity to be defined by only my day job, so that’s when I committed myself to learning watercoloring and calligraphy.

How did you learn to do such gorgeous lettering?
I am actually self-taught! It goes to show how if you want to learn something, you can always make it happen especially in today’s world where so many great resources are accessible. I initially took a SkillShare course – I bought all the supplies and just started practicing. It was so much fun to learn, and it was something to look forward to after work and on weekends.

mydearestco calligraphy

What do you love most about owning your own business?
I love being able to share my art with people. I love when someone tells me that a piece spoke to them, or that they’re curious to know where I drew my inspiration from. I think it’s beautiful that art has the ability to connect strangers and transcend language.

Where did you find the inspiration for your Lady Power illustrations?
I’m so glad you ask! Lady power is one of my favorite illustrations. I took a watercoloring class at the National Academy Museum & School last year to pick up the fundamental basics of watercoloring, and part of the curriculum was painting live models. It was amazing to see the human body as an art form and be able to represent it in a way that feels authentic to what I saw.

In Lady Power, I tried to capture the bravery, guts and confidence to show up as you are fully, both mentally and physically. As women, we’re encouraged to embrace our intelligence, but are often shunned into feeling insecure about our bodies. I think there’s great power in being comfortable and unashamed of your physical being too.

lady power watercoloring

You do a lot of custom projects. Do you have a favorite that you have worked on so far?
I’ve done a few! My favorite is also my most recent one. I did watercolor place cards for my sister’s bridal shower. I love that it was a small way to celebrate the people who are celebrating with you.

custom wedding letter place cards

You mainly use Instagram to market for My Dearest Co. What made you choose this social media platform over other platforms?
So many reasons. It’s easy to be discovered on Instagram, just by using the right hashtags you are able to tap into communities of people who share the same passion as you. It’s also highly visual – as an artist, this helps give people a taste of what your style feels like.

What was the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?
This is it. This is your life. And you only get so many years on Earth to live it.

This goes back to the question I posed earlier, “What am I waiting for?” If there’s something you know you want to try, a passion you want to pursue, or a job you know you don’t want – the only thing stopping you from making something your reality is you.

Where do you see yourself and your business five years from now?
Wow, I can’t even imagine! I would love to have partnerships with boutiques and retailers that align with my visual aesthetic. A place like Anthropologie would be a dream. I’m also starting to teach floral watercolor workshops in NYC, but would love to eventually travel the world to teach and empower students.

social pop up nyc

Life lessons discovered through art

[This original post was written for my personal blog. Adapted for MyDearestCo.]

This year I decided to create a separate place for me to share my creative expression with the world: MY DEAREST CO. My dream is to make every piece symbolic of what “my dearest” means - a statement of love and endearment - for people who bring it into their homes. 

The purpose of this blog post is to reflect on the past months and share what I’ve learned about myself on this exciting journey.

You’ll never be ready for your first step.
Don’t wait until you feel 100% prepared to do something because you’ll never feel absolutely ready. Don’t worry about needing to know what the next 10 steps are, just keep taking one step every day and it’ll become clear as you go. In other words, be okay with not knowing.

Don’t compare your practice to someone’s masterpiece.
If you expect to create an end product every time you practice - you’ll just be let down. Go into each session with the intention of bettering your craft and good work will come naturally.

Find the work you cannot do, and actually do it.
Is there something that you can’t wait to dig into every morning? Where “work” doesn’t really feel like work, and where you have uninterrupted flow when doing? Then you’ve found something that makes you feel alive and/or gives you meaning for living. Seek out that thing and find ways to spend more waking hours on it to nurture that passion.


As a final note... 
I’ve also come to embrace the “seasons” of living and now believe that there are times and places for different opportunities throughout our lives. I’m blessed to have this be my side project right now with the hopes that one day this could be something bigger. Until then, baby steps onward!

What is a passion project you’ve been wanting to explore?
What are you waiting for? 

YOU'RE INVITED: POP UP EVENT IN NYC!

Hello friends. Exciting news for my fellow New Yorkers - 
I will be taking my work to the streets of this lovely city I call home!

Social Pop UP New York City

This Sunday, April 30th from 5-9pm, we will be selling our work at the Social Pop Up's monthly event in New York City. This event is a one of a kind pop-up gallery showcasing local artists and designers with live music and exotic cocktails. It's a great way for everyone to celebrate and experience art in a whole new way! RSVP through Eventbrite here!

calligraphy and watercolor new york city
Calligraphy and watercolor

Come by and say hello by our table!
This April will be a Spring edition, featuring 13 local artists and markers. There will also be tarot readings, henna, a live portrait artist and curated nail art. We will be sharing a selection of cheeky art prints and sweet greeting cards. I will also be offering free personalized gift tags written in calligraphy with any purchase. 

Admission is free!
RSVP through Eventbrite HERE!

Where:
THE VNYL - Vintage New York Lifestyle
100 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10003

When:
Sunday, April 30th from 4-9pm

Who: 
YOU =)

Welcome to MY DEAREST

Hi everyone - 

Since this is the very first blog post of MY DEAREST, it's worth a little introduction before we dive in. Shall we? My name is Carol and I am a watercolor and calligraphy artist. I am based in New York City and was actually born and raised in Queens, NY! 

My love for art started when I was a little girl. Initially, arts & crafts was a way to keep me busy on weekends and after school. But eventually, art became a tangible way for me to express and share a piece of myself with the people around me. My mom still has a big box of all the “presents” I’ve made her throughout the years - jewelry, plant pots, drawings, origami and little trinkets of sorts. 

I started pursuing art more seriously after I graduated from college. I had started my first full-time job and I was realizing that I spent a WHOLE LOT of time just working. It wasn’t the worst because my job called for creative thinking, but I craved being able to create something tangible and shareable again. That’s when I decided I needed an art passion project.

...and that is how I rekindled my love for art through watercolor and calligraphy. I did not have any formal art training, but I LOVED the work I saw other artists create online. I took matters into my own hands by taking a series of online courses, in-person workshops and a lot of practice. For me, art isn’t about producing a masterpiece every time, but finding joy and flow in the process. 

I don’t consider myself an expert, but I find great joy in sharing my skills with others. As someone who has a day job, I can absolutely relate to those who want to unwind after work and channel their energy into something positive.

Starting my own brand has always been a dream of mine, and FINALLY I've taken the leap to make it happen! You can learn more about the meaning behind MY DEAREST on our About Me page. Otherwise, I invite you to explore, connect and get excited about this wonderful journey. 

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Visit our Etsy shop

Sincerely, 

MY DEAREST CO