In Decor/ Design/ Entrepreneur/ Featured Artist/ Featured Retailer/ Uncategorized

Meet the Entrepreneur/Artist Series-Shelly Kennedy

Today we are featuring Shelly Kennedy, artist and shop owner. Shelly Kennedy is a published stylist, decorator, and artist. Starting in 1997, Shelly grew Drooz studio {drooz.com} as a wholesale art business for 10 years- selling decorative accessories to stores, designers, mommies and Hollywood celebrities all over the world. Her custom decor has accented the homes of celebrities such as Rachel Ashwell, P.Diddy, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Dylan McDermott, Courtney Love, Kate Hudson, Johnny Depp and John O’Hurley. She now works from her studio – painting, designing, and crafting… focusing on licensing and creating original and custom work. Her exclusive designs have been sold thru wonderful retail partners such as Garnet Hill, Layla Grayce, & Land of Nod. Her work has been seen on the set of television shows as NBC’s FRIENDS, Modern Family, and Extreme Home Makeover. Along with creating traditional wall art, her designs have adorned such items as rugs, piggy banks, nite lights, dish sets, birthday hats, necklaces, growth charts, pillow and placemats. Her designs have been seen on the pages of People Magazine, Country Living, InStyle, Better Homes & Garden, Coastal Living, Rachel Ashwell’s “Shabby Chic” as well as many other magazines and decor books. With a love for beautiful spaces and entertaining her homes & studios have been featured by This Old House, Design Sponge, Where Women Create, Where Women Cook, Mary Englebreit’s Home Companion. She lives in her hometown of Skaneateles, New York with her husband, 2 teenage children, and her French Bulldog puppy, Lewis. A self-professed chronic nester, she can often be found renovating her 1896 farmhouse, mixing colors & mixing cocktails, and spending way too much time on social media. Over the years, Shelly has worn the many hats of RETAIL. At the age of 16, she landed her first job as a “shop girl” at a florist/giftshop in her hometown. After catching the retail “bug” she also worked as a Sales Rep for a giftware group in the Midwest, a Merchandiser & Display artist, as well as a Buyer for a chain of gift stores in Chicago. She then managed her own wholesale art and giftware company for over ten years.

From Kathy

I first met Shelly at a branding/gifting event in New York around 2005. At that time, Clairebella was a juvenile products line and baby products were the focus of the event. I was a huge fan of Shelly’s work and was really excited to get to meet her in person. Shelly was very gracious and we have kept in touch a bit throughout the years. It has been fun, following her on Instagram as she opened her brick & mortar gift store.

Q & A

CB: How did you get into the industry?

SK: I’ve been in the giftware industry for over 20 years! My first job out of college was for a rep group in Chicago at the Merchandise Mart. I had the entire Chicago and North Shore market. It’s then that I got the bug big TIME for consumer goods, creative gifts and decorative accessories.

CB: Is there any part of your work that has been especially meaningful to you or you are most proud?

SK: Currently at the shop I am very proud of my line of greeting cards-I love hearing the customers laugh out loud as they browse the card wall (most of the cards are pretty sassy and mildly inappropriate!) I try to fill a void in the “normal ” greeting card market-congrats on getting your drivers license, braces off and getting rid of that shitty boyfriend. Sympathies for the loss of your wisdom teeth, cat, and bad habits. It makes my day when a customer says “OMGosh-this is PERFECT! I NEED to get this for…”

CB: Regarding your art, how did you develop your unique style and how would you describe it?

SK: I originally developed art for babies and nurseries. Bold, bright, crisp lines, saturated colors-classic images with modern twists that look and feel carried through when I branched into teen art, home decor and gifts

CB: Is there any advice you have for people looking to make a living with their art?

SK: 1. Create daily. Sketch.  Keep notes, document your ideas well (I have journals over 20 years old filled that I still flip through from time to time) 2. Document finished work well. So much of the work of an artist is sold and given away-keep good records of everything! Makes sure you are building your portfolio along the way-invest in good photography 3. Research! Research! If you are looking to get into licensing-find companies you like-do they design in-house? Or license out? Who do they work with? Do you like the quality of their goods? Do they seem to promote /support their artists?

CB: What is your favorite part of having your store?

SK: It’s my HAPPY place. And I think (I KNOW) it’s becoming the happy place for others…(last year a very good customer was browsing in the shop. She looked a bit “down”-she explained that her best and longest friend had just passed and that she consciously drove to DROOZ because she knew just being there would make her feel better)

CB: What or who inspires you in your daily work?

SK: Just trying to stay FRESH and ahead of trends! It motivates me to always be thinking of my next idea, finding the next big thing-no time to rest!

CB: When did you notice that you had an eye and natural talent for this field?

SK: Always. I’ve always loved it! Even as a little girl playing with Barbies I have more fun creating bedding, artwork and lamp shades for my Barbie dolls (vs their clothes)I love color, design, interior design-all of that has played heavily into the development of my brand. Seeing my art and designs as components of an entire room or special event. The look of my art flows through into my own home, decor and shop selections. Bright, bold, fun, not too serious. Sassy. New and vintage, classic and vintage.

CB: How does your background as an artist influence the items you pick for your store?

SK: I’ve always been drawn to the small mom and pop companies-brands developed and grown by the owner; with their creative drive, blood, sweat and tears! I like supporting the little guys. I’m a little guy 🙂 Examples: Hester and Cook; Pure Home Apothecary; Curly Girl Designs; Clairebella. For my shop, I try to find unique, small batch, handmade items. I like trendy, current and relevant-but I try really hard to find things that aren’t commonly found in our area. I like pretty and practical-form and function!

CB: What is your favorite gift to give?

SK: I think a gift should be something you wouldn’t consider buying yourself-a true luxury item! A facial, a massage, a bottle of reallllly good Tequila or a box of super decadent dark chocolates

CB: What is a favorite book you have read recently?

SK: Latest: Profit First by Mike Michalowicz; Old Favorite that I’m always flipping through “12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women” by Gail McMeekin. Great stories and motivation and lots of little inspirational quotes through the book on the sidelines.

CB: Your inbox…9,999 or 0?

SK: 9999! omg.

at the store…

additional creations…

in her home…

Find more of Shelly and DROOZ follow them @DROOZANDCOMPANY.