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TOTAL Art Licensing
A day in the life of...
Laura Kelly
Laura Kelly Designs & Licensing encompasses retail and wholesale products,
personalized stationery services, and licensing agreements.
Here is an insight into the life of the artist behind the company, Laura Kelly.
by Elizabeth Shugg
L
aura Kelly wakes up with purpose at 5:30 famous. Her business, Laura Kelly Designs & Li-
a.m. everyday - no alarm necessary. She stretch- censing in downtown Apex, N.C., encompasses
es, works out, empties the dishwasher, starts retail and wholesale products, personalized
a load of laundry, makes coffee, showers and stationery services, and licensing agreements.
wakes up sons Dylan, 13, and Dawson, 10. Her She has already signed licensing contracts with
morning continues like most other moms — in Andrews and Blaine, Learning Express, Books
most ways. are Fun, Checks in the Mail, Clearly Fun Soaps,
“I open the shades, water the plants, make Converting Inc., Custom Candy Concepts, DRG,
breakfast, feed the pets (whatever we happen Lady Fortunes, Leap Year, Lovett, Royal and Lang-
to have at the moment ranges from mammals nickel, PLAID, Leanin’ Tree and Thirstystone. She
to amphibians to insects and reptiles, and we’re plans to sign a few more later in the year.
currently in the market for a new “The first time I visited
turtle), then I get Dylan to middle
“...When I looked at the shelf of
Checks in the Mail, they took
school and walk Dawson to school,
licensor binders and saw mine
me on a tour of the facility.
make up the beds, plan dinner and
between Mary Englebright and
When I looked at the shelf
head out the door.”
Southpark, I found myself fight-
of licensor binders and saw
Around 9 a.m. Laura transitions
ing back tears of pride...”
mine between Mary Engle-
from mom and caretaker to art- bright and Southpark, I found
ist and entrepreneur. Playful illustrations swirl myself fighting back tears of pride,” she says. “I
through her mind as she turns her focus to the took a picture of it for my scrapbook.”
whimsical drawings of children, animals, flowers Right now, Laura is exploring all of the doors
and other everyday items that have made her that have opened to her, which she says requires Halker, Amy Whirlow and Marisa Shapiro assist
“new organization and Laura in designing and coordinating her product
structure.” She main- line. There’s never a dull moment.
tains a long-term goal “While at work, we socialize in an environment
of creating a nationally that is bright, cheery and jamming with tunes,”
known brand with a Laura says. “You can walk in the office at any
solid base of products point and hear the girls laughing. Part of balanc-
and media that “gener- ing the work is creating a great experience for
ate joy, happiness and everyone while we do it.”
empowerment.” These When it comes to creating art, however, Laura
are also key ingredients prefers peaceful, organized space. “I usually listen
for creating an inspir- to music. I work best sitting on the floor pretzel
ing work environment style with my light table in my lap,” she says.
in her studio on Salem This balanced, upbeat work environment is not
Street, where vibrant impenetrable to those “real life” moments she
storefront window il- and “her girls” occasionally experience at work.
lustrations allude to They are best of friends and, like women will
the colorful person- do, air out their frustrations and concerns in a
alities collaborating warm, accepting environment. Hope and opti-
inside on Laura’s lat- mism are never far away. How could they be in
est collection. Mandy a studio filled with fanciful imagery and vibrant
28
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