What do you do when someone says they love something you’ve done - and can they maybe buy it from you? Well, for Kevin Chow and Jamie Mason, founding partners at Rawry and Pohly, their stylish minimalistic, hand-painted pop-art canvases morphed from being a talented hobby into a business partnership in early 2015.
Although they’re currently in the process of migrating the business from Regina to Calgary, their core purpose remains the same - to create art that resonates with your inner child. Bold and thoughtful shapes with primary colours that ignite humour and happy memories created through the imagination of youth. Even their business name, Rawry & Pohly, derives from the name of his childhood teddy bear, Pohly, and his wife's same teddy bear, Rawry. According to them, “Pohly (aka Kevin) is the super excitable, creatively limitless bear who believes anything can happen and always sees the best in everything. Rawry (aka Jamie) is the quietly grounded and rational bear with deeply penetrating talent.”
As a couple they are sharing their journey so future entrepreneurs, crazy risk-takers and teddy bears can learn from them and laugh right along with them. Some of their challenges in creating original hand-painted canvases as affordable art included expanding quickly, going on long-distance trips and stretching their limited resources, mostly with human hours to get everything done. Thankfully COVID has helped them regroup a little to sell more online and share time at home.
We often ask what you’d do differently if you could do this all over again. Our champions of youthful spirit simply respond that their business growth and evolution was an organic process so they wouldn’t change anything from their journey. Everything that’s happened has shaped them into who they are today with valuable experiences. As Kevin says, “We’d be reluctant to take away something from our past to avoid some temporary discomfort and not be where we are now.”
All businesses need to ensure the paperwork is up to snuff and for these memorable artists that can be less than appealing. As Jamie says, “I just want to make art.” The adults in them though ensure that their business runs smoothly and they make sound decisions as a team. Decisions that include a stronger call to action for their audience to move them from loving what they see online to purchasing what they see online. Kevin and Jamie have travelled extensively and sold globally. They know their client base who delight in reconnecting with nostalgic memories and want to give them more.
“Most people buy art not because of the price per se but because it speaks to you as an individual,” says Kevin. Personal expression is certainly alive and well as they continue helping others to awaken their own inner children through original keepsake art pieces. In fact, just viewing their stylistic art kinda makes me want to go outside and play for a bit now with my friends.
Author: C. Tracy Williams
Editor in Chief, Alberta Business Review