The unveiling

So you’ve read about what it has taken to start and design a product line. We sketched, designed, tested, and made hundreds of mock ups. Next is the scary/exciting part – we had to go present the entire line to the first round of buyers. They look at it as you explain each and every little detail.

This is like submitting a manuscript to an editor and watching her read it right in front of you. You get to see the looks on their faces as it happens. I remember at the newspaper, I would never dare look when I knew an editor was about to read one of my stories for the first time. I worried I would catch a glimpse of them rolling their eyes at my lede and I’d be crushed. And that was for stories about art festivals or celebrity interviews. So imagine the emotions bubbling inside me for this!

I couldn’t fall asleep the night before our big meeting because I was so nervous. We were to set up the display at 8 a.m., so I woke up at 5:30 a.m. My original plan was to wear pretty false eyelashes so I could bat my lids at the buyers, but I put them on, and by breakfast, my eyes stung so bad from lack of sleep that my lashes melted off, ala Tammy Faye.

Once we got to our location, we had two hours to set everything up just as it would look on store shelves. I’m telling you, seeing the finished spread, man, it took my breath away. It is nothing like you have ever seen at a craft store. Bright, bold colors, really wild, funky art kits! The packaging is stunning, it looks like you could buy this stuff at Sephora, it is so beautiful. I’m not taking credit for that, the props go to the designers at Duncan. They totally captured my spirit and the vibe I was going for and then sharpened and refined it.

Even though it is early in game, seeing the whole display made me think of something very passionate that I want to share. Call me paranoid, but I know this line will raise eyebrows. There has never been a mainstream craft product line like this. Yes, the initial Crafty Chica roll out has a strong Latino vibe to it, because it is about the arts and crafts I’ve personally created, sold and taught throughout the past 17 years. I’ve always sprinkled my work with imagery of my Mexican-American heritage, because I’m proud of it, and adore all the imagery.

When they brought me on board, the folks are Duncan did not say “Kathy, design a line for Hispanics!”, they said “Kathy, design a line around Crafty Chica – everything you love and have been doing!“.

So even though parts of the line are Latinocentric – it is not only for Latinos. I do not claim to be the poster child for the Latino crafter. Lordy, we all know that there is no “one” type of product line that can cover that because we are all individuals who have different tastes and styles. That’s like saying “Design a line for Italian people, or Greek people.” It is silly.

When I started making Latino-themed art with my husband in 1990, it was because we wanted to have cool cultural things for our home, but we couldn’t find anything at the stores. So we made our own. Other people noticed too, and that’s how our art made it into 300 shops and galleries all over the world. Now this craft product line is my way of empowering others to make their own art and accessories that is affordable, doable and fits their personality. And is made with love, of course!

The Crafty Chica product line is for anyone like me – who loves bright colors, lots of glitter, topped with high gloss varnish. People just like this. And it happens that many of those people happen to be Latinas like me! But also other ethnicities too. Chicas from all kinds of backgrounds who proudly wave the anti-pastel flag above their heads. So I just happen to use the triple threat method (color, glitter and gloss) to celebrate my culture! I want the line to inspire everyone to discover and embrace their heritage.

But, there is more to me than my culture. I love self-empowerment, writing, Bollywood films and the glitzy costumes and jewelry. I love vintage and retro imagery. I love rock ‘n roll, reggae/tropical stuff, and urban flair too. So as the line expands, you’ll see all of that as well.

OK, now back to the meeting…

We covered the display with a big curtain until it was time for the big reveal to the buyers. I would have chewed all my nails off but managed to contain myself. It was a smashing success. So smashing, I held back tears of joy.

My boss reminded me on this trip that it has been exactly six months since she came to Phoenix and offered me this unbelievable job. Six months since my life changed. It feels so good to work so hard doing what you love – only because you love it – and have someone notice it, appreciate it and even compensate you for it!

As soon as we left the building I felt like I just wanted to collapse on a couch and watch a Gregory Nava movie marathon. I was so exhausted from the inside out. Once I got home Thursday night, there were no movies. I crashed out as if I had drank two too many martinis. That’s what jet lag from a two-day trip will do to you. Friday I had to gather research from my site, and this weekend and every night until November 1st, I’m working on my sewing book, full throttle.

Although… last night we went out to dinner, and I came up with the most outrageous, kick butt plot for a young adult novel. Oooooo, it’s good!!! I can already feel that it is going to be big! I couldn’t sleep all night because I was outlining it in my brain. This morning, first thing – I jotted down the outline so I wouldn’t forget.

However, I can’t start typing one word until my sewing book is 100% polished and perfected. That’s my nighttime gig. Next week at Duncan, we start brainstorming and sketching products for Crafty Chica Halloween 2008.

Time to go fire up the espresso machine!
Author of Crafty Chica’s Art de la Soul: Glittery Ideas to Liven Up Your Life ($19.95, Rayo Books, an imprint of Harper Collins).

Love & light,

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

Let’s work together! Check out my services page HERE.

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