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 🙂

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. Jodi

    Today & everyday, I celebrate my sweet little ladies. Eden-3 & Marin-14 mo crack me up, warm my heart, and fuel my days. It's pretty amazing just how much I love them! So blessed!

  2. Tammy Fulinara

    I am celebrating life. I am so blessed! I have a wonderful and supportive husband. My mom is healthy and I appreciate her so much for taking care of me this week during my surgery. (She is remarkable – she just had surgery a week ago herself.)
    I also celebrating that my husband and I have been waiting to adopt a baby girl for four years and it's going to finally happen this year. We are so excited!

    I hope I haven't provided to much info but there is so much to celebrate.

  3. Bee Joynes

    Reading your blog is one of the reasons I started to paint. Last week I sent a painting for the finals of an interstate Australian competition and it was sold to a well known Australian author. Still pinching myself.

  4. Elma

    I am celebrating my two little grandbabies!! Thanks for this wonderful giveaway!!! Elma

  5. Kim Padden

    Okay, so I'm going to get a bit personal here, but what I'm celebrating right now is the fact that a week ago I got out of a two-year abusive relationship. I'm heartbroken and feeling lost right now, but I know I've made a positive and loving decision for myself and that, with time, I will get through this and be an even stronger person.

  6. Tessa


    Today is my "half birthday." We used to celebrate my half birthday when I was little because my birthday was so close to Christmas (Dec. 24!) that it would often get a little brushed over during the holiday season, so my parents set aside a special day to celebrate – June 24. Today I am 29 1/2…6 months til 30!

  7. Jennifer C

    Today, I am celebrating a healthy life! I am thankful for my family and the little things in life. I am thankful for your blog and Demdaco and for bringing such joy in my life!

  8. Beth Megquier-Doan

    I celebrate my daily round now that I start each morning rising very early and painting, preparing myself to go out in the real world to my day job with positive energy and ending most evenings with a cup of camomile tea and my knitting needles.

  9. Nichole

    I am celebrating my creative business and being my own person. Thank you for your inspiring blog!

  10. Mindy

    Hi Kelly! Thanks for the chance to enter this awesome giveaway! I'm celebrating my new baby daughter Melaina – she's 3 weeks old today 🙂


  11. Dana in Texas

    I got to celebrate going shopping with my dear friend and coworker Connie. We went shopping for something inspirational to put up on the walls of her classroom/office. Fortunately we work in a Christian school so we started with this beautiful handmade wood "Mary's Cross" from an artist in North Dakota. It went up and on each side were 2 of your 6 x 6 printed canvas. I am the artsy one and i never measure or level. I always eyeball it. Connie must be exact and level and measure everything to make sure it is right. So we did it her way. We couldn't get it placed exactly right. I finally told her to let me up on the stool. I "eyeballed" it while she watched and didn't like what i was doing. When i finished, i stood back with her and we looked. Guess what? It looked perfect! She had to admit to me that "eyeballing" was okay.
    Dana Weinberg

  12. Brittany

    I am celebrating my inner strength! I recently started running (which is not something I love to do) with the goal to run a half marathon in September. Each time I go to run, it is always different- the thoughts that run through my head, the things I tell myself to keep going, the things that hold me back, the things that lift me up. I have wanted to do this for a long time and I know the only thing that has held me back is myself. Since starting, I've realized I can do so much more than I ever thought I could. I am excited to keep going and see where I can go with it.

  13. Laura McHugh

    I am celebrating being asked by a major Art Magazine to complete a challenge. They liked the work I submitted and asked me to participate in another challenge and I can't wait to get started…..have so many ideas, I am having a hard time deciding what to finally do….I have limited time to complete because I am having surgery in 3 days so have to hurry and complete while I have use of my arm…..wish me luck!

  14. Kolleen

    thank you!
    i am celebrating my children…trying to enjoy them as they grow so quickly…savoring each age, each trial, each triumph.

    being a mom is a GIFT…a TREASURE.


  15. jeanied's

    what a wonderful giving heart you and Demdaco have….that puts hope back in the world….yay

  16. Lauren

    Such generous giveaways! Yeah for you Kelly Rae! Today I am celebrating the opportunity to be at home with my daughter this summer and to revel in all things kid. Snow cone, and swimming, drawing chalk portraits on the driveway and basking in the joy of an 11 year old!

  17. feedingthebirds

    I'm celebrating my boy today — he made the all star baseball team! It's something he's worked hard for and will challenge him. I'm so excited for his achievement and to watch him grow as a person and as a player.

  18. Renee!

    Today I celebrate YOU, Kelly Rae, for sharing your success with the world! Way to go… <3

  19. Erika

    My toddlers see me painting and they grab their smocks and ask, "what about me?" I love that they are open to creativity and I want to foster it in them.

  20. Donna Gibson

    I'm celebrating that it's Friday and I have a whole weekend to spend in my craft room!

  21. sparklejenna

    Today I'm celebrating that my 7 1/2 month old just learned how to clap! It is the cutest thing ever!!!

  22. Kelly

    I am celebrating the long days of summer, the creative spark that I feel awakening again, and the fact that is Friday afternoon with a weekend of possibilities ahead.

  23. Mattos

    I try to celebrate the simple things everyday….My oldest son just had promotion from 8th grade, he is taller than me now and turning into a young man, this is a cause to celebrate and a little fearful of lol, they grow to fast
    My middle daughter is in the midst of a pretty good spell of her Aspergers, her summer math tutoring is going well and she is being rewarded with chocolate and horse riding, what a great tutor.
    My youngest is funny and inquisitive everyday, her passion for life and fun makes me joyful, plus I think she loves to create and craft as much as I do.

  24. carol penner

    Love your work Im from Canada would love to be able to buy some pieces….Your my Fav….I even have a US mailing address if needed…tried to do collage even bought your book its not for me I am horrible….really bad…

  25. Shari

    Today, I am celebrating all of the possibilities out there, especially the ones that just pop up out of nowhere!

  26. mkotb

    Celebrating that it's FRIDAY!

  27. Angelique

    I celebrate myself and my love. We've been married nine years as of April and shared the experiences of my mother's death from cancer, his mother's illness from cancer, and the adoption of my much younger brother. The path we're on isn't even one we could have predicted when we first got married, but, in my case, it's the company, not the journey, that matters, and in that regard, I have been blessed. <3

  28. mercurytillone

    Today, I'm celebrating new experiences. I moved to Seattle on Monday and as nerve-wracking/anxiety provoking/stressful as it has been to try something new, I am also loving the ability to explore and develop a new path for myself.

  29. Jennifer

    I am celebrating the teachers that have nurtured my son for the past two years as he will embrace a new school in the fall. So thankful for these posts this week…so fun and inspiring and you're really making me miss the ten years I spent in the retail world! I have attended gift shows and they are amazing! So happy for you….

  30. Kathy L

    Retail stores in our area are targets and walmarts. We have some really nice gift shops in our area, Crystal Lake, Illinois. THere is one called "Out of the Box" that carries your line :)))))

  31. missy

    Today I'm celebrating facing my FEAR of the dentist and having had a difficult oral surgery completed yesterday and waking up today feeling STRONG and proud of myself.

    Thanks for the great contest!! So fun to DREAM BIG!!


  32. Angela Barribeau

    I can't wait to sit down and watch the video you just posted for us. It is interesting to see what it takes to go from being an artist to a person whose work is mass produced (hand produced, that is)! Congrats again Kelly!

  33. Nina Watson

    That was a great video chat. You two seem like two peas in a virtual pod. 🙂 Today I am celebrating my beautiful mother & aunt, they are identical twins & best friends, and it's their birthday! I just love them!!

  34. brigid gallagher davies

    we talk alot about being brave, about putting ourselves out there, about not being afraid to be who we are. i want to write about the bravest person that i know, someone who makes all of our struggles seem like luxuries, who puts himself out in the world with a hope and a bravery that is unbelievable to watch, inspiring to encounter and just awesome in every way. imagine being in a country or on a different planet even, where you not only don't know the language or the customs, but you have to invent yourself over and over everyday, based on a few words that you manage to understand(or think you do), and from what you observe other people doing and try to imitate, without ever knowing whether what you say or do is "right", and constantly having to check yourself with other people who really don't understand you, to see if you're doing okay. imagine venturing out every day with hope and bravery into a world you don't understand and don't have the language or communication skills necessary to make sense of ? this is the world of my son alex, who was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder(autism is a sub group of p.d.d), at the age of two ,and has for the past 24 years been doing all that i described above, everyday ,day in and day out with an extraordinary faith and perserverence, and who wants nothing more from the world than to be a"regular" guy , who goes to "regular" school, and has a "regular" life, like everybody else that he sees, doing whatever it is that he imagines "regular people" do. he is very independent, has a job, travels by himself on public transportation in new york city; but he lacks the ability to process language, to communicate his thoughts and feelings, and to understand what the rest of us are saying except in a flawed incomplete sort of way. he doesn't think in the same way that we do, and i don't know where the difference lies, but he soldiers on, doing the best that he can each and every day with a spirit and a gentleness that amazes me. i celebrate him.

  35. catina jane

    loving the videos!! i am currently celebrating TRUSTING! trusting God for the journey in all things . trusting my talent , my voice, my purpose.. trusting that i am right where i need to be.. it is a scarey thing to do but so worth doing and must be celebrated.

  36. lauren

    wow would totally love to win some of your work – so so so beautiful and warming!!

  37. Mindy Blanchard

    Amazing. I love the energy behind each of those working together for the common goal of getting the best quality produts out.

    I'm celebrating my relationship with God. After 33 years I'm getting to know him intimately for the first time. I'm reading the good book and learning what he wants for me.

    I'm using my singleness status not as a time to pine and want but a time to work on projects that I love, learn from him, and experience using the "eyes of faith" each and every day.

  38. christina

    hi kelly thanks for doing a give away!! I am celebrating the fact that my hubby and I are just finishing my very own art studio!!!! yay!!!

  39. "Girl"

    Love Demdaco appreciation week! Great to learn about the company and the great people that work "with" them. Today I'm celebrating a new day, a practice I am working on. So Happy New Day everyone!!!!

  40. kelly@thebluemuse

    I am celebrating (and counting down the days) that soon I will be able to run again after knee surgery!

  41. Harmony

    i am celebrating family! we are spending a oh so special week of my extended family gathering together in one big house for an entire week. I love these people 🙂

  42. jenn h

    I was not aware of the meaning behind the tilted necks and absolutely get it and love it!!

    I am not celebrating anything extraordinary today, just the amazing gift of life.

    Thanks for all the inspiration and insight 🙂

  43. Johari

    I am celebrating how I'm finally letting go of fear and worry and doubt.

    And I'm celebrating strawberries, because they're sooo yummy right now!

  44. Sue K

    Seems like more and more these days, I am celebrating my freedom. Pretty scary world out there and we are lucky to live where we do. I am also celebrating summer! Growing lots of new flowers and a big honkin' veggie garden. Love this time of year!
    Thanks for the great giveaway!
    hugs, Sue K

  45. Helen Lewis

    Loving all the art. Thanks for all the generosity!

  46. Desiree

    I am celebrating being on my joy-filled path, knowing that everything is going to turn out okay and that I deserve this happiness. It is a good feeling 🙂


  47. Brandy

    Celebrating Miss Sadie, my beautiful 9 year old. She's visiting her grandma and I miss her dearly. Last week she took her first plane trip by herself! She said she noticed a little boy sitting behind her and so she made an origami frog for him. And she made my husband and I a video, saying that she heard a Coldplay song and it had her missing us. Amazing little girl, she is. I'm so grateful for her beautiful spirit.

  48. Mitzie

    I was in downtown Carmel Ca today … Took a hike by the sea, miracle #1, Walked through an abundance of native flora to get there, miracle # 2, went downtown to find the whole place alight with oak moths! I couldn't help but feel they were there to inspire and enlighten me…I'm on a gratitude roll….

  49. Kate MacAndrew

    Hello! I am celebrating continuing to do what I love on a daily basis! It was you kelly Rae that inspired me to follow my dreams so thank you 🙂

    Much love from the UK,



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Hello + 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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