Thursday, January 28, 2010

Feature - Robo Roku

Shop Name: Robo Roku
Name: Renée Rice & Josh DuBose are the team behind Robo Roku, (Renée is answering the questions.)

Brief Product Description: Character driven line of assorted accessories, fun jewelry & stationery.

What is unique about your product? The characters are done in tandem with my Robo Roku partner Josh.

How did you get started? I would make things for people & always dream up cartoony characters. However, I couldn't draw in a cartoonish way, I could only draw realistic. I partnered with my husband who draws comics to turn my sketches into cartoons.

Where do you get your inspiration? I have incredibly vivid dreams, most designs start there. I also have a "popcorn" ceiling, and stare at it when I go to sleep & wake up & connect the dots to make characters. Kinda like what people do with clouds.

What excites you most about your work/shop? Since the designs are done in tandem sometimes the end design is not what was planned at all and it becomes a favorite. That is the most exciting part, surprising ourselves with the evolution of a design.

Describe your workspace/workroom. We turned our master bedroom into our workspace so we can use the master bath for cleaning screens when we silk screen. Josh's desk is set up across the room from me so that I can see his computer when he is working on the characters. It allows me to keep working on my computer & glance over to say what changes need to be made. We are going to be house hunting in April, so we will be looking for the oh so rare house with two master bedrooms. I really like working from home. If I am in a fussy mood I can work in my pajamas all day.

Which do you prefer: online sales/marketing or face-to-face sales/marketing? Why? I am a little torn on this one. My first reaction is online, because Josh & I are both a little shy. However, meeting people & seeing them smile over what we worked hard on is a really nice reward.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years? This one is tough. I want our business to grow of course, but where I'd like to see myself in 5 years is a little dependent on a new local co-op I joined. Their vision & mine are pretty inline with each other, so if it succeeds I won't have to take that venture on, on my own. Sorry that wasn't a solid answer. I'm trying not to jinx myself. Josh partnered with a friend of ours doing the illustration for his graphic novel, so he is hoping to continue doing that more.

What do you feel is the most important skill you use in your business every day? Connecting with people. When I meet new people and they get to know what we're about, we gain new supporters.

What do you like about EtsyAustin? Since joining I have met some really fantastic people & even have some collaborations coming out of it.

What do you think makes EtsyAustin Street Team unique? It's a really supportive & proactive group. I really like being around productive people, it only adds fuel to my fire. There are so many opportunities in Austin for local designers, having a team of people to seek them out really helps.

Describe something about yourself that may be a surprise to people on the team.

My music taste is a bit of an anomaly. I own well over 3,000 cds, and the artists range from Reba McEntire to Hatebreed to Miley Cyrus to Modest Mouse to Taylor Swift to George Jones to Rage Against the Machine to Death Cab for Cutie to Celine Dion to Andrew Lloyd Webber compilations, and I truly enjoy all of those artists. I have been in love with music since the age of 4. Michael Jackson was my first friend. When other kids would tote their dolls around I would carry my Thriller album.