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Hey friends! We are continuing with the Artist Showcase series after five years of hiatus. I’m thrilled to restart this series to interview and showcase amazing creatives that I’ve found influential for me and are willing to share information about themselves. It’s 2020 and I enjoy having a space to showcase creatives without having to do so many things or even pay to be featured. It’s a bit of the old-school blog vibes that I miss.
Today’s guest is a wonderful multi-faceted creative who I found also on Instagram. She knows the struggle of a creative who is constantly working between various mediums within their business and I appreciate having someone around who can relate to what I deal with. Andrea is extremely talented and is building her empire. I’m so grateful that she spent time chatting with me about her life as a creative.
Andrea Flores is a Miami, Florida based photographer, marketing strategist, and the founder of Drea Flow, LLC. Mostly known as “Drea” by friends, she is a first-generation Guatemala-American Latinx who wears a healing crystal every day and loves exploring new skincare. Drea holds a Bachelors Degree in Fashion Merchandising from Miami International University of Art & Design and worked at 16 different jobs before launching her business.
What are your favorite ways to create?
One of my favorite ways to create is through my mind – I could look and study an object and begin to dissect the creativity from there, later transfer the idea into tangibility, and executing it through photography. Photography is my ultimate creative escape!
What made you start Drea Flow?
After working in corporate office environments for more than 10 years, I continued to feel a lack of creative fulfillment and the inability to grow. “Climbing the corporate ladder” was never a real aspiration of mine; however, launching my own business always has. It became clear to me while working fulltime and freelancing on the side, that I could really make this happen! It didn’t bother me taking client meetings during my lunch breaks (and not actually eating until later at my desk), or waking up at 5:00 AM to meet deadlines before starting with work. I would meditate A LOT because it was heavy on me to juggle and at times felt overwhelming, but truly I knew that a paycheck wasn’t all that I sought. This brought me more joy than stepping into an office with no ability to grow.
Client referrals were coming in, repeat clients were staying, and it was then that I accepted what my soul was being called to do.
Where do you often find inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere! From simply looking up from this computer and outside at my window – the colors of nature, the sound leaves make as the wind moves them, rain tapping on my window, and butterflies swirling above the cars driving by. Nature is a big part of my inspiration, as is architecture. I easily get lost with the intricacies of structure, design, decór, and open space.
How have you been able to balance creating and running a business?
I’m giggling as I answer this question because, to be honest, the “balance” is a daily work in progress. Sometimes I spend days being more analytical — handling administrative tasks, planning out my next marketing strategy, meeting deadlines, having client meetings, and so on. My body instantly reminds me when I haven’t been creative – as in, styling or photographing something, so I am very conscious of listening to my body.
My goal is to be creative every day – nothing too extravagant or out of my reach, even if it means styling earrings on my dresser and grabbing my iPhone to photograph it during golden hour (that’s the best natural light in my opinion). I do reserve Fridays as my “production day” – I allow myself to run wild with ideas because all of my business-related work has been completed. It’s still a balancing act, but we’re getting there!
How do you find your voice among all of the design trends?
Trends are great to study, to see and understand what’s relevant to the public eye but I don’t necessarily always follow them. I closely observe the trends that will serve my creativity—whether for personal or client projects. After intuitively deciding which trends could be the most beneficial, I take my own spin on them. So in reality, the trends serve as inspiration but you, as a creative, make them your own.
What has been your biggest challenge as a creative?
Ha! Moving past the imposter child syndrome phase has been the utmost challenge for me! I am a self-taught photographer and it took my mind some time to accept (let alone call myself) a photographer. Although I also focus my creative energies in marketing, because I had experience on paper – titling myself a Digital Marketing Specialist was never a problem. But it’s all mental – we, as artists, often think we need some sort of degree or paper to validate our talents.
What advice would you give other creatives who are thinking about opening their own business?
Even though you are a creative, always treat your work as a business! Taking a couple of online webinars and joining entrepreneurial groups on Facebook, could really help. I would also suggest registering your business as an LLC sooner than later, opening a business checking account, create a website (even if you just have a home and contact page), and if it’s in your reach – hire an accountant. Having a plan is important because you could always refer back to it for guidance and clarity.
Be mentally prepared for the level of commitment business requires. It takes time to build it, but a business must be nurtured daily! Be ready to show up, even when you feel like this has been the worst idea you’ve embraced — it isn’t. Believe in your craft, believe in yourself, and give it your all.