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
A solid brand permeates throughout an organization and rules everything - sales, marketing, company culture, business decisions, employee relations, recruitment and retention, and more. But how does that work? How do you figure out what your brand truly is?
We asked two professionals with ample experience—Corey Brewis and Cynthia Walker, partners and co-founders of Unfussy. Both worked for larger agencies in the past but wanted to work with brave and open-minded business owners and community leaders willing to wear their heart on their sleeve in order to stand apart from the crowd. It’s a powerhouse studio with additional skilled team members brought on as needed.
Here`s how they explained branding, “Where brand is the heart of an organization, visual identity, graphic design and imagery form the face; messaging and communications the voice; and lastly, how this communication is delivered–to whom, where and when– is marketing action. Each element must work in unison to tell part of the same brand story - thereby providing a holistic, consistent, authentic and accurate representation of the entity as a whole. The brand is both a perception and a driving force, and in the absence of its clear definition, any marketing action is at best a shot in the dark, and at worst a potentially damaging waste of time, effort and money.”
“Our actions should be defined by what happens in our hearts,” claims Corey, with a background in journalism, freelance writing, brand development and marketing. It’s apparent he’s a creative soul and a writer to his core. A writer that stirs up imagination, inspires thought and gets conversations going. Cynthia holds a background in art and is naturally imbued with a range of technical skill sets like design and production, website development and more. Collectively they deliver on the projects they take on.
As a team though, they connect people to the intangible offerings that a community or an organization can present to make lives better. They thrive on coaching and working with organizations to find the driving pulse in their heartbeat and make authentic connections with their audiences.
Unfussy are brand-first marketers who ensure all clients have a solid brand foundation and strategy first before any marketing components are done, such as website design and development, digital marketing, traditional print advertising, ad campaigns and social media, etc.
A brand helps build loyalty, equity, consumer value and longevity, so a company needs to connect first before they can direct. Only after a meaningful connection is made, can you then present a call to action with true conviction and effectiveness such as visit the website, speak to someone or make a purchase. Identify what intangible wealth you’re offering beyond simple product or service that no one else can.
There are challenges however. For Unfussy, there’s a misunderstanding out there about branding and the true value of letting a brand direct your marketing. To address this challenge, Cynthia states that, “We incorporate a branding 101 educational component into our brand strategy. We do this specifically for key decision makers and stakeholders so they know what we’re doing, what to expect from the process and why it’s critically important to go through all the steps.”
Every decision, recommendation and word used has intention and is based on promoting someone’s brand. Perhaps consider getting the beating heart of your brand checked by Unfussy.
Author: C. Tracy Williams
Courtesy of Alberta Chambers of Commerce