The creation of Rue Franklin
Based in Dublin, Ireland, Rue Franklin is an art and design studio born with the mission of bringing art to life. Working with bright, coloured, abstract art, we add a pop of colour to your day, sparking joy and conversation.
Rue Franklin is my contribution to the “Passion-Economy” - an economy built around “creators with a purpose”. These are people who are powerfully motivated to start a brand, business, or community, usually on digital platforms, around a shared passion.
So many of us have always wanted to try something, to set out something of our own, or to safely test the waters. A global pandemic cancelled our social outings, our events and our travels and as a result many of us found we had a lot more time at home. I've used this to finally embark on a journey of creating Rue Franklin, as my contribution to the passion economy of today.
For something to work in the “Passion-Economy” you need three elements: the creator (ME!), the digital platform (THIS SITE!) , and the market of consumers (YOU!). Rue Franklin grew very organically, in a way that could only work if it was truly fueled by passion. I hope this blog post will inspire you to seek out your own passions and take the plunge in sharing them with the world.
The creation of Rue Franklin:
In 2020 I started painting as a means to channel my creative energy and to cope with the impact of the pandemic. It started with paint by numbers, and slowly began to morph into my own canvas paintings, testing new techniques and styles until one day I realised I had a mountain of canvases filling our one-bedroom apartment (which was already in triple use as a home / office / gym for two people!).
That Christmas, in an effort to create some space, my whole family were gifted a painting! And I saw the joy in their faces as they examined the brush strokes, and asked questions as to how it was created, how did I pick the colours, what did I see on the canvas? It gave us a reason to speak about something other than vaccines and social bubbles, and instead we got lost in a fantasy land of the paintings and coming up with our own interpretations of the splodges and the marks.
As we entered our harshest and longest lockdown post Christmas, I started 2021 with a sense that I could paint my way through it until I could see friends and family again. And boy did I paint!
In February 2021 I decided to set up a Shopify store. A place for me to upload and sell my paintings. I watched hundreds of videos on Shopify stores, drop-shipping, print-on-demand and how to market a new business. I truly learned as I went. I took an Instagram course, started a social media page, synced my Shopify and began showcasing my work and my pieces to my tiny audience of less than 100 people - mainly friends and family!
In March I began to see some traction. I started testing how I could create art-prints of my pieces, how I could sell them framed and ready to hang. I had fun putting designs on t-shirts and tote bags and mugs. People were curious as to what I was up to….! They would go to the website and browse. Whatsmore, they loved the apparel, it was selling far quicker than any of the art prints.
In April, I decided to take the apparel design process into my own hands. I wanted greater autonomy of what fabrics I could use, how designs could be placed, the finishes and the labels. I enrolled in a short course at the London College of Fashion so that I could learn how to communicate with fabric suppliers and manufacturers. I started designing my own 6 piece activewear collection and got a slot on an Instagram takeover of a national media site. I sent my first set of Influencer emails. I contacted local interiors stores to see if they would stock my prints.
That brings us to now, May 1st. It is really crazy to read back on all this and see how much I did in a few months without even realising I did it…! It has been the most constructive and exciting way to pass through lockdown. As restrictions slowly start to ease, I really do feel I will emerge with a whole new hobby, passion and perspective.
The joy of the passion-economy is that anyone can do it. The one thing I have truly learned is that while many people can do it, very few follow through on it. The difference is in the execution. You do not need to be the best or the most qualified or have a brand new technological innovation to do any of this. You just need to have the passion behind it, the willingness to test-and-learn and the courage to put yourself out there.
I hope that anyone reading this piece can see how just deciding to do it, taking that first step, is all you need to get going. That’s the hardest part. From there onwards, it is a fun and exciting journey!