Maker Monday: Gingiber

As a small woman-owned business ourselves, we at Candelles are so passionate about lifting up and supporting our fellow creative lady bosses who are making waves in the world by following their passions and creating their own paths.  After all, in the great words of Lizzo, "When I'm shinin', everybody's gonna shine".  With this in mind we are so incredibly excited to shine a light on a maker that we absolutely love, who is following her passion and drawing her own way forward, one beautiful illustration at a time.
Stacie Bloomfield is a life long creative who resides with her precious family in their Arkansas home.  When pregnant with her daughter she was struggling to find cute nursery art and decided to take matters into her own hands.  What began as a fun endeavor to decorate her daughter's room has led Stacie into the direction of her dreams: she has now licensed her art with several incredible brands, been featured on a vast array of popular outlets, and runs both a successful ecommerce site and brick and mortar shop!  Stacie's mission is to inspire us to live our most full and creative lives, and she surely has had that effect on us!

We are so very excited to dive in and get to know more about
Stacie and the heart behind her beautiful illustrations!

Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about the background of Gingiber:

My name is Stacie Bloomfield, and I am an illustrator who runs a multifaceted creative business called Gingiber. I got my start designing nursery decor (because I had my first child and had no artwork for her room), and eventually started selling my designs on Etsy. Over the years, my business grew beyond nursery art, and I started designing stationery, home decor items, tea towels, enamel pins, and more. Now my team sells products in over 800 retail stores, and I license my artwork to companies such as Moda Fabrics, Chasing Paper Wallpaper, and several other companies.

How did you come up with the name for your business?  Does it hold a special meaning to you?

Gingiber is a word I randomly picked out of a latin dictionary! When I was in college, I had a branding project to create a brand all about myself, so I created the brand "Gingiber". Later, when I was opening up my first Etsy Shop, I took all of that branding and plugged it into my new business. 

How did you initially get involved with art and illustration?

I've always been drawing. My earliest memories are of me drawing puppies. I knew I would grow up to be an artist. As I got older, I decided to study graphic design and fine art in college. I focused on printmaking in college, and didn't even consider an illustration career until I found myself selling prints of my artwork.

What inspired you to take your love of art and turn it into a business?

At first, the thing that inspired me to turn my art into a business was a need to decorate my own daughter's nursery. I didn't like what I saw out available in the marketplace at the time, so I made my own art. Later, after I had finished having kids, I realized that I wanted to focus on making artwork that I wanted to put in my own room or office. So now I focus on making art for women that encourages and inspires connecting with one's creative self.

What are the biggest inspirations for your work? 

Currently I'm really into Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Also, vintage flower books and posters. I also love the work of Fairfield Porter (but it doesn't really show up in my work). I'm also a huge William Morris fan.

How would you describe your aesthetic, and how did you work to develop your style?

My style has evolved over the years in terms of subject matter, but my work has always focused on form, whether that be an animal or a woman's body, and finding ways to play with color and texture and to add tiny details to create visual interest. For years I focused only on animals and putting unique patterns on their bodies, but now I play a lot with typography in my work. 

Do you have a favorite design to create, or specific product that you enjoy making the most?

Lately I am really enjoying making work that incorporates suns and moons and feels connected to nature. But I also love creating surface patterns featuring floral motifs.

What is a typical working day like for you? 

Right now I wake up, drive my oldest daughter to school (the younger two are homeschooling right now), then I make breakfast and then I go to my bedroom/office (I really work from bed right now due to covid) and I get to work. My days are mostly filled with zoom calls, scheduling coaching calls or filming classes for my online course and membership (focused on teaching creatives how to turn their art into a profitable business) or with pursuing new partnerships. I tend to block my time throughout the week, so I might have one day where I have a 3 hour block for making art, or another day where I try to book all of my product development meetings together. I have an amazing team of employees, so I spend a lot of my time delegating and managing projects. I take an afternoon break for lunch and either a walk around my neighborhood or 30 minutes on my stationary bike, and then I'm back to work!  After my work day ends (around 5) my family orders dinner (we eat out a lot honestly...) and then my husband plays video games with the kids while I draw on my ipad. 

Can you describe your workspace?  Where is it, how have you designed it, and how does it support you in your craft? 

So I have an amazing studio in Springdale, AR, but right now my team uses it for assembly and shipping. We've grown so much that I now work from home so the team can focus and work safely and socially distanced. We had a great little storefront prior to Covid, but right now that area is set up as a makeshift filming space for when I'm making videos for my courses or memberships. My current bedroom office is less inspiring, but I filled a wall with hand written affirmations that I read every day in order to keep myself focused on my big giant dreams and goals.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a maker and small business owner?  What did you learn from it? 

There are so many challenges I've faced. First, I started 12 years ago, and there were no online courses or blog posts about how to run and scale an illustration business. So much of what I have learned has been trial and error, asking friends for advice, and taking the long way towards growth. Also, learning how to scale my business as my interests shifted away from nursery art to more of a wider audience with creating artwork specifically aimed towards self care and encouragement meant that I had to find my new ideal audience. I feel like I am constantly pivoting. Nothing feels predictable, but I like the challenge of finding my way. 

What does being a maker mean to you? 

I got my start as a handmade artist, and really trying my hand at so many things until I found my niche. Being a maker means that my unique perspective is a part of each product we sell. Even though now we are not hand making everything at Gingiber, we still try to find the best way to make the experience purchasing from us feel personable.

What are some of your other hobbies and interests? 

Scotland (can that be a hobby?), drinking coffee, trying new teas, walking on trails, and occasionally, baking. Although 2 of my kids bake a lot now so I barely can get to the oven to try my own recipes! 

What do you feel is the most fulfilling part of being a career creative?

After nearly 12 years in the industry, I started teaching online to help creatives learn how to run multiple revenue stream businesses. I found that as an artist, I can license my artwork, sell my products on my website, and also wholesale products to other retailers, all while using the same artwork. I try to show people how they can do the same with their art. I love seeing students make their business dreams a reality, and honestly, helping people and encouraging people feels like my real calling, if that makes sense. 

What advice would you give to other creatives looking to turn their passion into a business? 

Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. That is why I always recommended diversifying how you are making money. So, do craft shows, sell online, sell on different platforms, mix it up! Also, building a creative business takes time. I always say slow growth is good growth. It is really easy to think that people who are doing what you want to do are overnight successes. In reality, I think there were years and years of quiet growth and work involved.

We are so grateful to Stacie for taking the time to share a peek inside of her world with us.  To see more of her work, you can check out her website, Gingiber, and follow along with her on Instagram @gingiber


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