From creative side hustle, to over $1 Million in business
Cass Deller is a watercolour artist, who worked with us to create some of our best-selling patterns including our newest arrival, Eucalyptus Arches. Cass creates designs by hand using watercolour in her Sunshine Coast studio. We had a chat to Cass about her creative journey and how she's built her incredible business.
Congratulations on launching your design course! Can you tell us how this came about and what creatives can expect from it?
Thank you so much! It’s been something that I’ve been so excited to share with other creatives as it’s a fairly new industry for freelance creatives and there isn’t much information out there on google, so I really wanted to share what I’ve learnt from my experiences.
It all came about because I started taking on private mentoring clients towards the end of 2020, and I was noticing a trend from all of the questions I was receiving. So many other designers wanted to know about surface design, how it worked and how to get into the industry. It was so hard to share all of my knowledge in our mentoring sessions so I decided to create a course so that I could deliver all the information in a clear and practical way.
The students who take my signature surface design course (The Licensed Artist) can expect to really dive into the world of Surface Pattern Design and learn how the industry works. I teach all the tech you need to know as well as the licensing side and how to price. We also cover lessons on finding your style as well as building collection of work to attract clients. It’s an exciting and eye opening 9 weeks for my students.
Have you always created art for a living or was it originally a side hustle / hobby? How do artists know when to take the leap?
I think everyone’s journey is always very unique to them, and there is no right time. I always painted as a kid, all the way into my teenage years. I was always inspired by our family summer holidays in Noosa, and would spend a lot of the school holidays painting with acrylic on canvas. I didn’t touch a paint brush throughout my entire 20s, as I thought I had to climb the corporate ladder and follow a traditional career path. It wasn’t until I was studying Graphic Design at 29 where I picked up a paint brush again.
Some of us may not want to take our creative talents and turn them into a business, and that’s totally fine. Running a business is an entire art of its own. If we feel the inner calling to start sharing our art with the world in a bigger way and with more impact, then we truly know that deep down. Then it’s just having the courage and bravery to follow those intuitive nudges and trust in the universe. If artists make that decision and promise to themselves that they WILL make a career out of their art, then they do anything and everything to make it happen. I want to show other artists and designers that it’s more than achievable to build a thriving creative business of your own.
I loved designing our Shell pattern together for our jersey baby collection! Can you talk us through your design process and what it looks like from concept to final product?
Yes absolutely. The process begins with a brief from yourself, or my client. We discuss the subject matter and what the design is going to go on so that I can keep that in mind whilst I’m working through the design process.
The initial part of the brief relies on great communication between myself and you, my client. I really need to understand what you are looking for, the feel, the vibe, your ideal client, etc. If I understand all this, I’m more likely to get the design right, the first time.
We put together a moodboard or a Pinterest board to capture the vibe and look for inspiration for the print. From here I start to paint the elements, keep in mind the inspiration and the vibe we are going for.
Once the elements are painted then I scan them into the computer and take then into Adobe Photoshop to edit the artwork and turn the design into a repeat pattern.
This is the part where I send you the artwork concepts to ensure you love them and to see if changes need to be made to the subject matter, pattern layout, scale or colour.
Once you/client approves the artwork then the final files are created to be sent to your manufacturer. From there, the samples are printed and we can discuss any changes that need to be made to the artwork.
How would you describe your interiors style and what is your favourite splurge item in your home?
Haha, I feel like I have ‘my’ style, and then I have my ‘mum’ style. This is so evident in my home because my design studio is downstairs, and this is ‘my’ area, where NO kids are allowed, haha. My studio is very white, with timber accents in my custom made furniture, lots of subtle colour, ceramic vases, white washed floors and beautiful greenery. However our home upstairs is extremely minimal, with nothing my mini humans can destroy. We are just about to renovate our kitchen and bathroom upstairs, so they are definitely our splurge areas at the moment.
Cass in her Noosa studio
In progress: Tiles design from our La Dolce Vita collection
Lemons - Part of our La Dolce Vita Collection
Hand-painted Sunshine design