Stephanie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a Designer & Illustrator, and Junior High Art Teacher, I love to draw, paint and sew. Designing new characters is my passion. Inspiration for my work comes from my children, Latino culture, and love of color.
My love for illustration and crafting began at an early age. As a child, I would tag along with my mom to craft shows, and learned a variety of crafts from her. My dad would save the Sunday comics from the newspaper and encourage me to improve my drawing skills by copying the comic strips. While growing up in South Texas, summer trips to San Antonio, and (unsuccessful) ballet Folklorico lessons, fueled my love of her Latino culture, growing up in the late 80s/early 90s being obsessed with Lisa Frank school supplies and everything Hello Kitty helped form my playful artistic style.
Studio Longoria has evolved over the past few years. As I have grown as an artist so have my products. I began sewing pillows from fabric that I loved. Sadly I started seeing that same fabric being used by many other artists.
So I decided to put my graphic design skills to the test and design my own fabric. That’s when inspiration hit and I started turning my illustrations into small plush dolls. Dolls turned to apparel, prints, and even a coloring book.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road is never smooth for an artist. I have been incredibly lucky to have a very supportive family. My family encourages me to follow my passions, especially when it comes to my business. Working full time and running a business is never easy, it is a family affair. Everyone pitches in. My husband and sons are always helping me with art shows.
My mom is probably my biggest customer and could be considered my unofficial sales and marketing team, she is always the first to buy my new designs and passes out my business card to everyone she meets.
The hardest part of running my business has been dedicating the time to create new work. As a full-time art teacher I spend my days teaching students how to create and working on lessons for them. Sometimes I forget to take the time to create for myself.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Studio Longoria story. Tell us more about the business.
I’m very inspired by my Latin culture and pop culture. I specialize in fabric, plush toys, and apparel that can be described as Frida Kahlo meets Hello Kitty. What sets me apart is that I make everything myself. I start with my own illustrations and even sew my own plush toys. The only part I don’t do myself is print the designs onto the fabric and apparel.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I believe I have been very lucky. My family, friends, and customers have been so supportive and encouraging.