Meet a Maker - Bloomwolf Studio
I met Betsy Garcia, owner of Bloomwolf Studio, for the first time about two years ago at the Deland Indie Market. I had found her on Instagram and loved her illustrations, especially her city prints that are now one of her best-selling items. Over the past two years, I’ve gotten to work with Betsy and do events together, and I’ve found her to not only be talented, but sweet, humble, and hard-working. Almost every weekend she is packing up her car and driving to a different city to sell her goods at local markets. The girl works nonstop. She quietly got married this fall, and just kept working on her business barely skipping a beat. Her hustle is real.
LH: Where did the name Bloomwolf come from?
BW: When Luis and I started the business together, I knew I wanted “studio” in the name but that was about it. So, we used an online band name generator and we went through thousands of names. We ended up writing many of them on a whiteboard and eventually found two words that fell together that we liked.
(Side note Luis, Betsy’s husband, works full-time as a computer engineer and works every market with her on the weekend. MVP husband status.)
LH: You didn’t start out as an artist with a creative business. What was your journey like before Bloomwolf?
BW: I went to USF where I double majored in psychology and biomedical sciences. I was applying for medical school studying to take the MCAT and I didn’t get in on my first try. I was going to study more and reapply but I started teaching middle school science. That took me in a different direction and while I was teaching is when I started doing Bloomwolf on the side. Teaching was fun and a good experience, but in the end, it was not for me. It was not what I imagined teaching would be like.
LH: How did you find the realistic balance and shift from a stable job to a creative career.
BW: I was able to do it because of Luis. He had a stable income at the time and without him, it would have stayed a side hustle for much longer before diving in fully. He was willing to do it with me, so he was committed to supporting me from the beginning. His parents were also very supportive. I feel like there is often a huge unseen support system involved when someone takes an entrepreneurial path.
LH: What realistic steps would you tell others to follow when they are leaving something stable versus an entrepreneurial venture besides the normal “follow your passions” rhetoric.
BW: Finances are really important to keep in mind because starting a business is really expensive. Those expenses are of course on top of your normal living expenses. We didn’t know what a business plan was, so we had to sit down and google it and figure it out which was very important so we could set goals. Knowing what you made at your regular job and how many hours you worked versus what you needed to make now in your own business and how to achieve it is crucial.
LH: You have lots of products you work on, but your city prints seem to be the most popular. What inspired you to create them and introduce new cities on a regular basis?
BW: I started them because we do so many pop-ups in different cities. We started going to St. Petersburg so much I thought I needed to produce something special for them and the reaction was great. That spurred a lot of requests. I started with major cities and where we did pop-ups. A demand was really created for it, not just for the cards but for prints people wanted in their homes. From other major cities to college towns, I continue to add to my list. It’s important to have something for people who search online, like on Etsy for instance, for something closer to home for them.
LH: What has been your biggest struggle so far in owning your own creative business?
BW: Because of the nature of our business, it has been very frustrating getting the quality we want out of the products we have vendors print and produce for us. We are very picky because we want our customers to have the best products but it seems like every single time we go to print something is wrong with it. It’s such a waste of time, and often a waste of money.
It’s also been a struggle of self-doubt, wanting to get to a good place quickly for the business. I think a lot of people think everything is an overnight success, but it takes so much work to get to a place where you feel more confident in your business.
LH: You travel a lot to markets in other cities. What would you love to see Orlando implement?
BW: Seeing some incorporate more interactive elements at their markets would be great to see here. Overall, it would be nice if Orlando had a “go-to” market that happened on a regular basis that locals could count on. It helps you get to know the makers in your city and realize how many people are creating in your own city.
LH: What have been your biggest successes to date and your biggest disappointment within your business?
BW: The biggest success has probably been meeting our goal for 2018. It reinforces that we are on the right track and doing a good job. It’s also been exciting to get into more commissioned work from businesses. This year I did commission work for the city of Coral Gables and the Salty Donut in Miami. I look forward to doing more work like that this year.
The biggest disappointment has probably come from sinking money into certain marketing/advertising efforts with no results, but it’s definitely been a good learning experience on where to spend our marketing dollars.
LH: What advice would you give to those seeking a life of creative entrepreneurship?
BW: There will be a lot of doubt, but if you want to do it and you don’t see yourself doing anything else, be determined. Do the research, use google a lot, educate yourself. Set a standard for your business and stick to it. A strong work ethic is necessary. I work every day, often all day long. However, for the most part, unless I’m answering emails, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s what I want to be doing, and you need to feel that way to continue.
Follow Betsy on Instgram @bloomwolfstudio. You can purchase her paper goods online or visit her at local markets and events.