Today I’m introducing you to the amazingly talented owner behind Brighter Sides Designs, Kelsi! I met Kelsi in a local blogging group after she had suggested some people meet up to take each other’s outfit photos. It ended up just being myself, Kelsi, and our friend, Jenn of Hellorigby. I had no idea when I showed up on that gloomy, Seattle day that I’d be meeting friends that I’d grow closer to as time went on. Kelsi is a wonderful artist and when she told me about her newest venture, cards you can color yourself, I thought it was the coolest idea!! She sent me a few cards to try out too and let me tell you, I love them!! They’re less pressure than an adult coloring book and they make the cards you give out even more special. Alright enough of me jabbering on. Let’s meet Kelsi!
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A: Hi! My name is Kelsi. I’m a serial entrepreneur, living in Seattle, WA with my adorable pomeranian, Bruno. I spent the entirety of my 20’s as a self-employed hairstylist, until back problems and increasing chemical allergies became too much, and now I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing with my 30’s. I’ve been blogging for about six years and drawing since I could hold a pencil. Some of my interests include dogs (the smaller and more circle-shaped the better), heavy rainstorms, foods that have sprinkles on them, listening to Elliott Smith songs on repeat, confetti, and attaining a hobbit-like lifestyle and eating schedule.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your cards?
A: The first few cards that I drew were inspired by Seattle, which is where I live. I made a mini-collection of different sights in the area like the Post Alley gum wall, and Mount Rainier. Other than that, I mostly draw things that I would like to color, myself. You’ll notice that a lot of my designs are food related. Donuts and candy are super fun to draw, and to color! Adult coloring has been on the rise the past few years, and even though I loved coloring when I was a kid, I’ve had a hard time getting into it, because so many of the “adult” designs are extremely intricate, which I find really overwhelming. I get stressed out and discouraged before I even start. So I keep all of my designs simple enough that they can be completed in an afternoon or an hour, and make sure that the spaces are large enough that someone who is just starting out can color confidently, with just about any type of coloring tool, or experienced colorers can use more advanced blending and shading techniques. And like I said, I always want the designs to be FUN to color.
Q: When not making super-cute art, how do you spend your time?
A: I’m kind of a homebody. I like to hang out with my dog, tend to my little succulents, and eat copious amounts of pizza. In the summer, I also go to music festivals in the area with my boyfriend, and go hiking and camping. I’d really like to get out into nature and travel a lot more often! I’ve been working on my cards during just about every spare moment before work, on my lunch breaks, and after work for the past several months, getting them ready to launch, so other than that, I’ve spent most of my time sleeping!
Q: You’ve had an online shop (an Etsy store) for a while but only recently started selling cards. How did you decide to get into the card game?
A: I think it came about kind of naturally. From the time I was a kid up until about 20 years old, I always had a lot of pen pals – which was at least partially due to my introversion and social anxiety. It was a way to connect with people and share experiences, without he pressure of real-time conversation or having to verbalize my thoughts on the spot. I’ve always been able to express myself better through writing, which I think is common for people with anxiety. And this was before social media as we know it was really a thing. But I loved going onto message boards for art swaps. How it worked was, there would usually be a theme. You’d sign up and get matched up with one or more partners, and create a card or small piece of art, then you’d send it off to your partner, and you’d get one in return. In recent years, I’ve been really nostalgic for that sort of interaction. Everything now is texting, or emailing, or likes, which can be cool, but how often do we get actual letters from people? Or a birthday card in the mail instead of a post on our Facebook wall? I remember being so excited to get an envelope in the mail that was hand addressed to me, and open it up to see what beautiful thing someone had made for me, or what they had been waiting to tell me, and taken the time to actually write down on paper. So a large part of this was wanting to be able to give this experience to everyone. The coloring cards were a more user-friendly way of making art accessible to people, even if they don’t consider themselves an artist, and to encourage sharing your art with someone else when you were done. I’ve already started it for you, you just get to have fun finishing it, and then give that gift of your time and mental presence, and creativity to someone else, and make their day!
Q: If you could have a beer with anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
A: Can it be a fictional person? I’d love to have a beer (or waffles! or both!) with Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec. Mostly because she’s just so different from me, personality-wise. I feel like by the time I had finally decided what I wanted to order, she’d already have the next 5 years of my life planned out for me. That’s what I’d really like, step-by-step life instructions in a binder, with my name in glitter glue, and maybe motivational text messages every 5 minutes. I think she would be a great friend/life coach.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about owning your own business?
A: I really enjoy seeing something that I created and nurtured begin to grow. Being able to see all of that time and hard work and patience begin to take form is exciting. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy that people are enjoying something that I made, and to see that yes, what I’m doing is good enough to be out in the world, and it’s making people happy. It’s been so heartening to see some of the colored pictures people have finished, and to know that I helped make this art, together with someone that I’ve never even met. It feels pretty magical.
A HUGE thank you to Kelsi for allowing me to grill her. Even though I’m already friends with Kelsi I feel like I’ve learned so much!! BTW I’d totally grab a beer with Leslie Knope too. That would be amazing.
Now that you’ve met this amazing maker please be sure to check out her shop and follow her on all of her social media!! She is a rad person and I know you’ll love her work as much as I do.