Designer Diaries: Sarah B

Today's Designer Diaries feature is an interview with the Lovely Sarah Bertochi, who recently re-branded her business and opened up a lovely new shop carrying beautifully designed stationary and home decor products. Sarah talks about the decision of re-branding herself here. As someone with a background in Graphic Design I definitely understand her decision to re-brand and move her business in a direction that allows a lot more creative freedom.  Go ahead and read more about Sarah below and be sure to pop over to her site and check out her beautiful work.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

 I am a mom, wife and I am an artist-a declaration which was not always easy for me.

 I have not always viewed myself as an artist- my full time job is that of an outside sales rep for a contract furniture dealer. I have been in this industry for close to 30 years-it's not something I necessarily aspired to be - it is a career I accidentally "fell" into.  I accepted a temporary position in the design department of a large Boston dealership many many years ago after having recently graduated from college. I found that I enjoyed the creative energy of those around me and never looked back.    

When did you discover your passion?

 When I turned 48, I started to question what I had accomplished and realized that although I enjoyed the creative folks with whom I worked (architects, interior designers) I was not actually the one being creative. I have many fond memories from my youth of spending time with my colored pencils,and paints,and was inspired to get back to that part of myself which had been set aside in favor of "being practical". I went back to school to get a 2nd degree in graphic design.    

What made you turn your passion into a career choice versus just a hobby?

With my graphic design degree in hand (2 years later) and my newly rediscovered passion, I made the decision that I wanted to focus my energies into developing a 2nd career with the intention of eventually leaving my outside sales position. Upon graduation and turning the big 5-0 (50) I set up my new web site and was open for business. I decided to name my new venture-Chapter 2. Turning 50 is a milestone for many, and for me was no exception. I viewed it as a new opportunity-to turn the page in a book so to speak. It was time to write the 2nd chapter of my life. 


How do you stay motivated?

It is hard to stay motivated all the time of course, but I am fortunate to have discovered many talented and supportive artists thru various social media channels. These groups have been a great source of inspiration as well as a knowledge. Everyone I have connected with has offered something positive and has been willing to generously share their experiences. Ideally I need to meet more like minded creatives in person with whom I can learn from and share-this is on my "To Do" list for this year.

Can you share a little about your design process?

It's hard to say at this point if I have any sort of real "process" for creating art. I am finding more and more avenues of expression and love to experiment and learn new techniques. For instance, I discovered a love of surface pattern design, two years ago I had no idea that pattern design even existed as a possible career path. I love creating new designs and I am totally attracted to the symmetry of pattern design. I find the repeating nature of the various elements to have an almost calming effect. My patterns start with a pencil sketch of the motif which is then inked and scanned into Illustrator or Photoshop for final placement, scale and color. I recently completed a class on how to block print. I am now going back to several of my previously created patterns to carve the motifs and then block print. This will give my patterns more of an artisan, hand crafted look and feel. 

What is your favorite part about having a creative business?

I love being my own boss and love the freedom that comes with it.  I get to choose where and how to focus my attention, which designs to create and in what manner to present them. 

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career and how have you overcome them?

I try not to compare myself to others but sometimes that mindset creeps in. It is hard not to judge yourself against the "internet superstars" As an artist because you work alone it can be lonely.  I hope that this year I am able to connect with more artists in person with whom I can share my experiences and learn from them as well.

What advice would you give to aspiring designers looking to build a successful creative business?

I am new to the creative world but have learned many things from my experiences as sales rep.

 First and foremost - Be Yourself. Trying to be something you are not takes way too much effort and is something that is easily picked up by others.  Be Authentic. Be Sincere. Sounds cliche but being true to yourself will ensure that you are happy. Create art that you love not to build an audience or following. Your fans will come organically-keep doing what feels right 

Whats next for your career?

I want to keep exploring new avenues of expression, I have yet to discover my one true favorite medium.  I love to create.  I am happy learning new things as much as I am reworking older skills