Day #3 of Demdaco Appreciation Week!

Jun 22, 2011 | Entrepreneurship, Life in Progress

Demdaco Appreciation Week continues (hope you guys are finding this fun and interesting) today with another giveaway (see below!) and a conversation with Anne, a product developer who I work super closely with at Demdaco.

36 years young today. First bday with this true love

There have been some good questions coming my way about all of this that I think are important to address. In the absolute celebration of being honest, here are my answers + thoughts!

Q:  It seems like you and Demdaco are still in the honeymoon phase. Who came up with the idea for Demdaco Appreciation Week? 
A: I came up with this idea, asked them if they would agree and they graciously said yes. I sometimes wish we were still in the honeymoon phase (working together three years) but we are not. Just like ANY relationship (friendship, marriage, business collaboration, etc), I believe that working relationships require nurturing and open, honest communication. My relationship with Demdaco is no different. We’ve had our ups and downs and misunderstandings and miscommunication which is inevitable when working so closely on something meaningful/important to both parties. So yes, we have our hurdles but we work through them while remaining committed to the same thing: doing the right thing while celebrating our partnership while negotiating tricky pieces while being firm while remaining open while staying honest while respecting the other while problem solving while moving forward.

Q: Are you not concerned about offending other companies + artists?
A: I am not concerned about offending the other companies that I work with – many of whom are brand new partnerships off to exciting starts that have also been highlighted here on the blog (Calpyso Cards for cards! Creative Co-op for home decor!). This week is about celebrating the licensing partner that started it all for me, the one that I’ve had the longest relationship with, the one who has paved the way for me to continue to grow both personally and professionally. I’m confident the other companies I partner with are celebrating right along with me because what is successful for one partnership is successful for all.

As for other artists, I hope in sharing a bit about Demdaco and how they work with their artists, I’m encouraging my fellow artist friends to find their right partners, to celebrate those partnerships, to dream big inside the licensing world (if that’s what they want), and to gain some inspiration from the videos and photos. The videos are really for the creative souls of the world, a peek into how it all works and direct access and information from people inside the industry. This is information/inspiration that quite frankly I find super valuable and rare – you just don’t see it very often – conversations between artist + manufacturer – and I am so grateful to Demdaco for doing it. When it comes to other Demdaco artists, you’ll hear how I feel about them (nothing but love!) in the video today – they are an amazing group and I’m in very, very good company. I operate from the place that there is plenty of room for all of us and that we’re all supporting and encouraging one another. My success is theirs, and vice versa.

(Me, Anne, 2009)

Okay, back to it…..there are people who come into our lives and change everything. Anne has been one of those people for me ever since asking me to license my work with Demdaco. We started working together in 2008 and met one another in 2009 shortly after the KRR Collection entered the retail market. Above is a photo of the two of us meeting one another for the first time.

Since then, we’ve worked closely together, working on the KRR products. I generally make the art and Anne (and her amazing team) do all of the hard stuff when it comes to all the technical and intricate pieces of product development. But together, Anne and I brainstorm ideas, we choose which art goes on which format, we see each other once or twice a year, we skype, we email, we text, we talk, constantly going back and forth about whatever products the team is currently working on sourcing, developing, sampling, and more.

(at the national sales meeting, 2009)

You know how when you talk to people and it’s clearly evident how much they love their job? That’s Anne. She loves her job and it shows with her knowledge of the industry, her design talent, and her creative enthusiasm. Once, Dave K (co-owner of Demdaco) told me he always knows when Anne’s product samples have arrived because he can hear her joyful screams all the way down the office hallway. And that’s so true. She has a way of getting super excited and LOUD when she’s happy and/or inspired and it’s quite contagious to the lucky people around her.

(that’s us at the National Sales Meeting in 2009. See/read more here.)

During this interview with Anne, you’ll hear how the KRR line came to be (and what a risk it was for both of us), how Demdaco finds their artists (you’ll be surprised), how they try and honor the indie/handmade movement, how they’ve come to embrace the mixed media art community (with successful partnerships with many mixed media artists), how the product development process works, what she thinks is the key to creating successful products, and so much more, including a surprise guest!


Also, if you’ve ever wondered why my paintings always have figures with tilted heads, the answer is in this video! One more thing….what is hilarious to me about this video is that we’re on our best behavior…usually we’re a bit more giggly and silly and ALL OVER THE PLACE with our chatter and ideas, but after a disastrous first attempt at our video (due to all the above), we decided to try again with a more grown-up/reserved approach πŸ™‚

I just rewatched this video and really love our conversation…enjoy! The sneak peek of the summer product that I mentioned in the video will happen later this week!

Important: For those of you who might be interested in licensing your work in the gift industry, I, along with Ingrid Liss (Demdaco’s creative director that Anne mentioned a couple of times in the video) and a few other super talented peeps in the gift industry will be participating in The Creative Connection’s pitch slams – a chance for you to pitch your ideas, meet key players, and get valuable advice. We’d love to see you! More info here!

Big thanks to Jonathan Jones at Demdaco for editing our skype conversation!

everyday giveaway

We’re giving away a little something special everyday this week in honor of Demdaco Appreciation Week here on the blog. Feel free to enter ALL of the giveaways! We’ll be picking winners next week, including the winner to the all expense paid trip with me (see Monday’s post to enter that giveaway)!

For today’s giveaway:
*We’re giving one lucky commenter $100 to spend on whatever they wish in the online shop.
*I’m giving another lucky commenter an original painting by me!

Giveaway rules:
* To enter the giveaway, leave a comment in this post! Tell us something funny, tell us a meaningful story, tell us what you’re celebrating, WHO you’re celebrating today….anything goes!
* Just one comment per person, please. International commenters welcome!
* I’ll announce the winner soon.
* Go!

PS: If you haven’t already, be sure to enter all the giveaways this week. We’re offering a giveaway every day, including an original painting every single day! 
Giveaway #1: original painting + all expense paid trip!
Giveaway #2: original painting + $75 to spend on products

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (526 comments)
  1. Traci

    celebrating my son's graduation and his new chapter in life he is about to embark on. you are so inspiring…thank you for sharing yourself with us.

  2. tynan

    today I am celebrating the past year that I have spent with my new baby boy and celebrating that I also kept up my photography biz during the past year but also completed my first screenplay–a BIG project I've wanted to complete for a long time!

  3. Melissa R.

    Celebrating all that I am grateful for each day, and the fulfillment of a new love relationship with a wonderful man!

  4. Katie @

    sipping tea, listening to music, celebrating this journey and where it continues to go. Thank you, Kelly Rae.

  5. Life Verse Design

    i am celebrating anne too & am ever so thankful to her for discovering me & my work! julie chen.

  6. nadia

    Today I celebrate being and living in the present moment. Enjoying the sunny weather, taking care of myself by listening to my intuition, and eating good food!

  7. Darby

    I am celebrating that my husband's business is going good after having such a horrible year last year – it is so nice to have such an amazing turn around. I am truly grateful for all the wonderful work coming his way. It is something to celebrate and give thanks for always.

  8. SConn

    Today I'm celebrating my boyfriend! He's been out of town working on a contract, and so I haven't seen him in 2 months. He finally came home last night, and it has been WONDERFUL. I can't believe how much I missed him

  9. Island Soul

    I not sure just how "meaningful" this is but…..The day I moved in to my new home last summer(the 1st one to actually belong to me!) my mother gave me one of your canvases. (Coincidentally, it's the one Anne is holding in the photo of the 2 of you from 2009.) When I opened it up I asked "How did you know?" She looked at me strangely and said "Know what?" She, of course, had no way of knowing that I follow your blog and admire your work. She just saw it in a gift shop and thought it was full of advice I should heed (I tend to be a very self critical most of the time). It was the perfect gift to "warm" my new home.

  10. glorygirl

    Celebrating my children's relationships with their cousins. So innocent and adventurous and full of love!

  11. Katherine

    Today I am celebrating progress on a big grant I am writing for work! Every little step helps.

  12. E'Layne Koenigsberg

    This week a dear friend flew in for a visit from Laos. She sold her comfortable home in our community, moved to Laos and started The Language Project…creating community libraries in underdeveloped areas…because the children are getting educated they can get jobs to afford food for their large rural families…the most inspiration part is the children can check out cameras and they are amazing photographers and getting lots of recognition for their art…I happily donated one of my cameras that didn't get much use…knowing it would bring creativity and joy to Carol's "children"…many call her mom…she is a saint!!! She gets so much joy in her giving…which is witnessed in her huge smile and jolly laugh.

  13. ten_33

    Please consider posting the names/cities of known shops that carry your work… that would be so lovely.

  14. awesome mama

    today i am celebrating the fact that last week's emotional storm has passed and i survived. we have a new kitty cat that my two little ones adore and i take delight in their squeals and laughter when she does something funny, cute, or unexpected. they've never had a pet before and it's just awesome to see this experience through their fresh lens πŸ™‚

  15. Heidi H

    I celebrated with two of my friends who just retired after 30 plus years teaching!

  16. Ms. Knitsalot

    I am celebrating ME! I have made it through breast cancer surgeries, chemo and radiation!!!!! Thanks for the giveaways this week! Your work is so inspirational and fun at the same time…

  17. Jane

    I'm celebrating grandchildren today. For the past 9 months my husband and I have been living in North Carolina to care for our grandson while his parents worked. We are now back home in Michigan and missing our precious one year old grandson. In the next 6 months we will have 2 more grandchildren and our cup will runneth over with blessings. There is no greater blessing than that.

  18. eliz burton

    I am celebrating all the wonderful chronic pain patients I work with. The everyday hell they live through. I give thanks that I do not have to deal with that agony. I am an artist who works outside of my art. I celebrate your art work that inspires me to have a smile on my face for these people that so often are not able to wear a smile! thank you

  19. Suzanne

    Today I'm celebrating that my family is moving tomorrow. Our new home is so nice and we're so excited!

  20. Lori Yardley

    Right now I’m celebrating that my daughter is in bed, and that there is a cool breeze coming through the windows. The end of June in the Sacramento area and a cool breeze….priceless!

  21. Laura Haviland

    Oh lets see,
    Today I celebrate enjoying this peaceful quiet moment with you.
    You are such an amazing creative spirit…
    I celebrate you !!
    Hugs, Laura. xoxx

  22. Heather K

    I'm celebrating the arrival of Summer in Portland! Love this time of year!

  23. laura

    Today I am celebrating my parents visiting from out of town, my wonderful husband and the anticipation of a day exploring a little island in RI.

  24. xoxaine

    my 2yo daughter is starting to experiment more with imaginative play, and i think its pretty cool to watch her babble to herself and play with her toys, sometimes its pretty funny as well. πŸ™‚

  25. Anonymous

    I am celebrating this wonderful gift of life that I have been given with my amazing family!
    Cristal in HK
    please please please please please pick me πŸ™‚ hehehe


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HelloΒ + welcome!

I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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