Thursday, April 14, 2016

chasing a dream series with Becky Dawson of One Lane Road

There are so many things that inspire me but one of my biggest inspirations comes from hearing other people's stories. Stories of chasing after dreams, trying something new and pursuing a passion project are the things that really get my heart racing!

Today I am excited to share another post in my series called "Chasing a Dream". Today I am interviewing Becky Dawson, the creative powerhouse behind One Lane Road.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey with creativity and your creative business.

I grew up in a family where innovation, ambition, creativity, and dreaming big - were all kinda the norm. It wasn't uncommon for my Dad to dream up a big crazy plan or project, then actually go and do it. My mom being an abstract painter, was always painting wildly colorful and "weird" stuff. We lived in a community full of fairly conservative people, I remember not everyone understood what my mom painted, but it didn't seem to stop her. She painted for herself, and embraced that her work was different. My parents examples, without a doubt, shaped my work ethic today.

After high school and most of my 20's I worked as a hairstylist throughout Portland, Oregon and Las Vegas, Nevada - falling into a fun niche of working with a mostly rock 'n roll/pinup clientele. I had an amazing run at doing hair, and feel lucky I had the opportunity do it in such a fun and creative way.  

In 2008 my husband and I had a our first baby, and moved to our dream home in the country. Around that time I decided to quit my job doing hair in the city so I could stay home with our baby. The big idea was to make a side income selling my art...I just didn't know what yet. 

Fast forward a few years later to 2011, after experiencing many ups and downs and failed attempts at making/selling things - I launched One Lane Road.  Only a few months into opening my One Lane Road Etsy shop, I started being contacted by big name magazines, bloggers, landing illustrations gigs. It was all very exciting! I knew I had stumbled onto something good, so I just kept at it. The ultimate goal at the time was to sell enough products to turn this into a regular source of income. So I just kept taking baby steps towards that goal, everyday.

The last 5 years have been an amazing journey. Probably some of the most challenging years of my life navigating around running a handmade business, being a mom, and just life in general, but SO fulfilling. I've discovered a passion and drive for my work, that I didn't know I even had in me. Ultimately this endeavor has turned into something really special. I could have never imagined before all this, all the good things that would come my way. I really do have to pinch myself sometimes that this is my job! 

Can you share a little bit about your creative process.

It all starts with a drawing. I love to draw, and I love to get lost in my little world while I do it. All my illustrations are then made into printing screens. I hand screen print all my designs onto fabric, pillows, towels, totes, and t-shirts. Almost everything I do is made here in my cozy home studio. 

How do you go about finding inspiration for your products?

Visually, it's all around me. Living in the country right outside of Portland, Oregon, I'm surrounded by so much beauty and inspiration. Even though I wouldn't consider myself a super outdoorsy person - I do feel a deep connection with being outside and in nature. I can't help but share that in what I make. Some designs I draw are pieces of my everyday life, some are just interests or part of a fantasy. I'm a big dreamer, so my head is always swirling with the fun possibilities life has to offer - those ideas tie into my inspiration as well. Overall, I create designs that make me happy, and hope that others will connect with that too. 

What inspires you? 

Country life, slow living, getting back to my roots, gardening, food, adventure, camping, family. Just soaking up life in it's most simple moments.

I love seeing how other creatives set up their work space. Can you tell us a little bit your your space?

My work space is split into two places. I have a studio on our property that I call The Art Shed, and a separate office area in the house.
The Art Shed is where I screen print everything, store my supplies and inventory, and do the bulk of my product production. The Art Shed was a long time dream come true last summer, when my husband and I converted an old shed on our property into a functional work space. It has a big window overlooking the garden, the chickens and ducks are always near by within my view. It's definitely my happy place! 

My office space is in the spare bedroom of the house. That's where I do all my packaging and shipping, computer work, and my drawing desk is in there too. Because my days are a juggling act of being a mom/wife/business owner, it's convenient to have a space in the house where I can just pop into here and there throughout the day. 

What is a typical day like for you?

I have two young kids, 7 and 3. Mornings I'm usually getting one off to school, and the other one off to childcare 2 days a week. The days I have childcare I cram in as much studio time as possible. That's when I screen print and fill orders that come in. Some weeks my printing schedule can vary from a couple hundred items, to maybe just a dozen. Either way there's always some sorta work needing to be done. I do freelance illustration as well, so when I'm not producing products for One Lane Road and shipping them out, I'm drawing up illustrations, emailing, ordering supplies, and just tending to all the miscellaneous tasks of running a business and working for myself.

The days I don't have childcare I just hang out and chase my energetic toddler around. I try to wake up a few hours before everyone else does most mornings, so I can get a bit of work done then. Otherwise most days of the week I just pop in and out of my office when I have a spare moment, or when my husband gets home from work. Dinner time and the wind down to bed, I try to keep sacred as family time. I'm usually pretty exhausted around the end of the day anyways, so it's not hard to just "be" with my husband and kids then. At the end of the day I might help the oldest with homework, read, or just chill and watch netflix with a glass of wine.

I know that you juggle being a mom and an entrepreneur, can you share a few challenges and (and a few good things) that you face throughout your days as you juggle both roles?

When I first started One Lane Road, one of my biggest motivations to keep going was the goal of working a job that allowed me flexibility and I could stay at home with my babies. Looking back, I was naive in thinking I could take on everything. Both running this business AND being a full time stay at home mom is a ton of work. I could handle it for a while, but progressively as things got busier, I was stressed big time. I finally caved and got childcare about a year and a half ago, and it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made for my business and sanity. I can actually have hours of uninterrupted time to focus on work, and then have days where I can just focus on my kids too. I'm happier, I think my kids and husband are happier, and my business has grown because of it.
Sure, there are still plenty of days I get overwhelmed and feel mom guilt....but then, I try to remember the good stuff. I do have tons of flexibility with what I do, I get to spend lots of time with my kids, and I get to make a living being an artist. It's not all peachy every day, but it's pretty darn close.

What are your goals for One Lane Road?

I have so many goals and dreams, they grow and change daily! 2016 I'm really focusing on seeing One Lane Road products on the shelves of more stores. This last year the wholesale side of my business has grown quite a bit. I'm currently working with one major retailer, and gaining new accounts often. It's exciting taking the steps towards growing my biz in this way, and figuring out production on this level. I still do most everything on my own, but I've starting contracting out work time to time. I would love to take my brand, and share it with more people. 

I also have lots of goal such as; expanding my line to paper goods, teaching more workshops online and in person, and coming out with a book. 

Mainly, I just want to continue making a living as an artist, creating what I love, and sharing that with others as long as I possibly can.  

Want to see more of Becky?


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Anonymous said...

Becky is a dynamo and I've had the pleasure of meeting her and getting to know this genuine, loving creative a bit. So happy that all her hard work is paying off and making her so happy!

Joan Princing Art said...

Awesome Interview! Thank you so much, Alisa for sharing not only yours, but all these other wonderful Artists' stories/dreams!! It is such inspiration for all of us who are starting our own dreams!

Jodi Marie said...

Love her work and especially the art shed! Thanks for sharing!

Daily reflections said...

Thank your for sharing your story! Its inspiring me as a working mum not to give up on pursuing a creative business.

jabbott said...

Im inspired!

Unknown said...

A new artist to love! Thanks for telling her story.


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