“Space Queen Studio is cute ‘n kitschy meets pop culture with a succulent green twist. Handmade concrete housewares that are hand sculpted, poured, painted, and sealed in house.”
Check out our interview with Mare Garcia, Founder & Creative Director of Space Queen Studio, and learn more about her side hustle, as winner of the #OwnrsWhoHustle Competition.
Mare, tell us about yourself.
Hello! My name is Mare, I am a Canadian Filipinx designer and the creative director behind Space Queen Studio – a home goods studio specializing in handmade concrete planters that are hand sculpted, poured, and painted in house. I am a recent graduate of OCAD University where I studied Environmental Design – it was at OCAD where I found a passion for building and material exploration. Outside of Space Queen Studio I like to build furniture and grow houseplants. My creative practice is heavily influenced by the things I love and I hope to keep making work that is reflective of that.
Give us some background on how you got started with Space Queen Studio.
Space Queen Studio began as a way to mix together my fascination with cute and kawaii culture + my affinity for making. It was a creative outlet while I bounced between part-time/full-time roles in Arts programming and education. While it started as a way to document my illustrations, it quickly morphed into an exploration into concrete housewares to satisfy my appetite for building.
What first inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I’m an avid Anime and Comic Book convention goer and my favourite part of the events were always the Artist Alleys. I’ve always loved seeing the hustle – indie Canadian artists and designers running their own booth and creating unique items that you couldn’t find anywhere else. It inspired me to see such passionate makers and was the first kick in the butt to get started as an entrepreneur myself.
Tell us about the decision to formalize your side hustle. What helped you make that decision and what did the process look like?
With the pandemic, I found myself in a spot where all of a sudden I had so much more time on my hands. I redirected that time and energy to my side hustle and decided to see where it could take me. I started seeing steady growth in online sales, and growing interaction on social media. What helped me make the decision to formalize my business was paying keen attention to that business growth and looking at how I could keep that momentum going. When online sales traffic began to surge I took my business from Etsy to my own domain name and website on Shopify. I’m at a point where I’ve finally registered my business (thanks to Ownr!) and I’m super excited to continue to grow.
What is one important lesson that starting Space Queen Studio has taught you?
One important lesson I’ve learned in starting a business is to move with what moves you. I don’t think I would have found the same success if I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing. I find that I am so much more driven because I enjoy what I do. Having creative freedom and agency has always been a privilege that I don’t take for granted. It’s not a matter of “If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life” but more of, I’m willing to put in the work every day of my life because I love what I do.
Fill in the blank: The most rewarding part of doing what I do everyday is…
Getting to share what I love to do with others. Space Queen Studio has always been a labour of love and it’s been a joy to watch it be so well received. To have a platform that has been a safe space for my work, and to have the freedom to move between projects that inspire and allow me to grow as a creative has been exceedingly gratifying.
3 tips you’d give to aspiring entrepreneurs. What would they be?
Get started! What’s your vision? What’s your goal? Where would you like to see your business in 5 years? Start imagining what your business could be, and write down manageable steps to begin.
Once you have something to show, be prepared to show it. Feedback will be your best friend. Take your work and show it to your best friend and ask them what they think of it, pretend that it isn’t your work if you want an unfiltered opinion. Be open to criticism – it’s great to hear the sugary nice things but it’s even more important to know where the holes are so you can fix them!
Be consistent. The best way to develop your brand and hone in on your style is to consistently share your work. Consistency is important on almost all fronts, from figuring out your best work routine, to planning your work schedule, to dealing with your customers – it will always be an advantage to be consistent in the things you do.
Do you have any future plans for Space Queen Studio that you’d like to share?
My future goal is to expand Space Queen Studio to include furniture design. Furniture design is my first love and to be honest I really miss woodworking. I’d like to jump back into bigger projects (particularly plant stands, tables, and chairs). I’d like to find ways to mix my material explorations with concrete with my training in woodworking. I’m not quite sure what that would look like yet, but it’s on my mind.
Finally, where can people learn more about Space Queen Studio?
Email: [email protected]
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