PROfile is a series of interviews with artists and creative souls who have built businesses around their craft and passion. We’ll dig deeper to try and find out everything you could want to know from seasoned pros who have experienced the full gamut of highs and lows that come with running a creative business.
I first came across BelloPop when a colourful set of matchboxes made their way into my shopping cart almost subconsciously. I have a major soft spot for everyday items that look stylish and fun, so coming across such gorgeous designs made me practically jump for joy. In this PROfile interview, we hear from Andreina Bello, the founder and designer behind BelloPop. Enjoy!
What was your first ‘proper’ job and how did you land it? Was it what you intended to do as a career?
Right out of college I landed an internship in a great advertising agency and luckily got hired as an Art Director right after! I had no idea that advertising and agency life would make such a big impact on me. It opened my eyes to conceptualisation and introduced me to so many talented people along the way.
Has art always been in your blood?
Definitely! Since as far as I can remember I’ve always been drawing, doodling, designing, painting. Is part of who I am.
What’s your main creative discipline and how did you get started in it?
I started BelloPop in 2014 with the need to explore my creativity in an unrestricted way. I’m also an Associate Creative Director in an advertising agency and juggling both is a challenge! But worth every second.
Do you see yourself as introverted or extroverted, and does being either affect the way you work?
I’m an ambivert, it all depends on the company I find myself with. The introvert part of me gives me a very rich inner world and I think that’s where my creativity comes from. The extrovert part of me loves collaborating with creative people that inspire me, but it’s all about feeling comfortable and a natural connection with those people that makes it really work.
What is your favourite kind of commission, and why?
I got a commission from Lulu & Georgia to design some new pillows for them. I loved seeing the final products in their shop and gorgeous photoshoots.
How did you know you were ready to have your own business?
It was all about timing for me. I felt I had enough experience to have my own business and as I was on maternity leave for 1 year, it seemed like the perfect combination. I needed a creative outlet during that time since my passion for art and design is endless. So I started by designing gold foil prints and took it from there.
How did you go about starting your own business?
After I had a few designs and products done and an online shop set-up, I started to contact some amazing bloggers and online shops that I liked and with the acceptance and encouragement of most them it all started to fall into place.
How did you secure your first clients?
I drafted a very personal email to one of my favourite bloggers whom I admire and basically asked her to take a risk and order some of my products for her shop, if she liked them, of course. She amazingly said yes! Thanks to her support my products started to get featured on other blogs and it sparked an interest in all the right people after that.
What is your typical daily routine like?
My day usually starts by updating my to-do lists (I’m big on making lists for everything!) after that I tackle each task. This can vary immensely from research, meetings, to contacting and emailing people… Most importantly I always reserve a part of the day for designing, putting on some music, and getting in ‘the zone'!
What traits do artists have that help with running a business?
I think the most important traits are creativity and resilience. You can be creative in many many ways, especially in how you approach your business and strategy to grow it. Creativity doesn’t only live in your work but in every aspect of your business. And being resilient, because artists know not to ever give up. Sometimes we make something that doesn’t turn out exactly the way we hoped and we just keep exploring!
How does being an introvert (or an extrovert) help or hinder you when it comes to business?
Sometimes the introvert part of me can hold me back in reaching out for new opportunities, I don’t like to be pushy or ‘salesy'.
Do you have a favourite medium or technique?
I love sketching and doodling first and always! Then I go digital After that, I’m very picky with printing. I want to make sure that the stock is the right weight and texture and COLOUR are my biggest concerns.
What’s been the most beneficial business decision you’ve made?
Recently, to partner with my brilliant friend Kathryn Stallard, she’s a production magician! She has all the skills someone wants in a partner. It’s important to surround yourself with the right people in your business and work towards the same goal.
Artists and writers often describe the compulsion to work – do you experience an overwhelming desire to create something new?
Oh yes! It’s part of breathing and existing. I can’t go too long without a creative outlet.
Do you ever feel alone in your work?
Not really. Music gives me company. And I also collaborate a lot.
How do you relax?
Where do you find inspiration?
Other people’s work inspires me. I have a lot of successful friends that inspire me immensely. I love seeing how everyone can ‘make it’ in their own way and within their area of interest.
What advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?
Don’t waste any time! Time is so precious to me right now.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Hmm… tough question. I think I’d like to be remembered as a great designer and a kind person. But really most importantly a great mom for my kid.
What’s been the best moment of your career so far?
Probably when I won the young creatives competition back home and was sent to the Lions Cannes festival with my partner at the time.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing other people display my products in their homes! It makes me pinch myself when someone posts an Instagram photo or a post on their blog of their living room, and suddenly see one of my prints on their walls or my matchboxes on their coffee table. I simply can’t believe it sometimes! It’s the best feeling.
What have been the biggest challenges or obstacles you’ve faced in your business and how did you overcome them?
Time time time! I still find it a challenge sometimes to manage my time. There’s so much I want to get done and not enough hours in a day, especially since I also have a 3-year-old daughter. I just keep myself very organised and prioritise my time as much as I can.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
To always have something to look forward to. Be it a trip, a creative business idea, a little restaurant you want to try. I think it’s one of the keys to being happy.
If you could have dinner with any inspiring person (past or present), who would you choose?
Probably, Dali. I was obsessed with him during my teenage years and still admire his life and work so much. He seems to have been a true creative in every way, from the way he portrayed himself, to his art and life and never wasting a moment.
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