In this Designer Moment meet Rachel and Miguel Rivas, the designing team and husband and wife behind BlackStrawberry_Co. Learn how coffee, rescue animals and their awesome dynamic drives their eclectic art.
Tell us about yourself! Where is your hometown? Where do you live now? Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of design? Any fun facts about yourself?
We’re actually a design couple. Neither one of us can take credit for any one piece. We influence and inspire each other in many ways. It’s actually funny to watch us work. We’re always in each other’s design space, spotting ways to improve on what the other is working on. It’s an awesome dynamic because we always welcome one another’s input and advice. Currently we live in southern Spain. However, neither one of are from here, but it’s where we came together. He’s from London and I’m from the United States; Florida to be exact. So you could say our styles mix and match. He’s use to modern and fashionable surroundings and I’m more used to laidback, tropical aesthetics. This means our style is very eclectic and unique. We both contribute our backgrounds into our designing and it’s fun to see what comes out of that.
Our hobbies? Well we love coffee! Is coffee a hobby?!! Other than that, we have a heart for animals. We love all of them! We actually rescued one puppy with a bad eye who would have been put down and an abandoned kitty who was barely three weeks old. We had to bottle feed him and everything, around the clock, every three hours. Now imagine doing that while you’re trying to work! Well that’s why working with Zazzle is amazing. We have the freedom to do what we love and want to do!
Tell us about the space where you do your work. Do you have an official studio or have your carved out a nook in your home?
My husband actually built a desk for us. A standard desk just wouldn’t do. We wanted a large work space that could fit the both of us and have room for our art supplies and our computers. It actually came out very nice. He’s on one side of the table and I’m on the other side, so I get to stare at him all day while I create and he’s handsome so that’s a good thing! 🙂
What is your background in art/design? What got you started creating?
Well my husband, Miguel, started very young with Photoshop. He’s completely self-taught, which is amazing. I’m very impressed by his capabilities. In fact, he surprises me every day with how talented he is. He’s capable of so much and he’s done it all on his own. He’s always been creative, as long as I’ve known him. He has a natural knack for style and design and he’s very meticulously picky. As for me, I dabbled a bit with Photoshop when I was in college. I majored in Graphic Design for a couple of years, but I didn’t really get the quality of teaching I was supposed to. It’s really my husband who has taught me most of what I know in the design world. He’s been very patient and understanding, teaching me as we go. I’ve got the hang of it now, but in the beginning it was sight to see. As far the art aspect, I was always involved with that, through school or as a personal hobby. I just loved creating something new, so over the years I’ve married the two skills and I now absolutely love what I do!
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration is everywhere! We just look at our surroundings, we watch the trends, look at what those around us are wearing, what products they’re using, etc. Your best indicator of what people are looking for is actually looking at what people have chosen for themselves.
When do you feel your most creative? Your least?
We feel the most creative when our environment is calm, clean, and peaceful. If the animals are running around the house like lunatics, it’s a bit distracting; or if the house is in disarray, we just don’t feel it. For us, we set the ambiance for creativity and we are good to go. We make sure the house is quiet and organized, and perhaps, we put on some inspirational music. That’s what especially gets my husband into the creative zone. He has to feel the music.
What are your favorite products to design on Zazzle?
Our favorite products to design are pretty much everything, but we enjoy business cards, luggage tags, and pillows the most. And now that they’ve finally come out, we absolutely love designing the print all over leggings.
If you could wish for one new product on Zazzle, what would it be and why?
I would love to see some print all over bikinis! What can I say?! I’m from Florida. We practically live in our swimsuits there!
What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?
It was a modern black and white geometric print wrapping paper. It was very exciting to see that first sale! It makes you think that you can really do this and we did!
What are your favorite product types to design on Zazzle?
We love designing home decor and office products. I just feel a connection to products you see and use every day. Our mission is to make our design the thing that you use every day, the thing that maybe inspires, comforts, or gives you those good vibes.
What Are Your 5 Favorite Products in Your Store?
Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Designers?
Just keep plugging away. Don’t give up on what you love to do. It will happen. You will be successful! And last but not least, drink more coffee. It’s fuel for the creative!
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?
Just that we believe in being ourselves, being authentic, and doing what makes up happy.