Today we’d like to introduce you to Patricia Kusumadjaja.
Patricia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My love for art started at a very young age. Both of my parents are design-enthusiasts and made a conscious effort to expose my siblings and me to art and design. While in architecture school, I took a series of watercolor and fine arts courses. I learned from professional watercolor artists and exceptional visual artists, who taught me materiality, color theory and technical skills.
Post college, I started making holiday cards for friends and co-workers. The holiday cards snowballed into requests for commissioned pieces, wedding invitations, logo designs, and more. With encouragement from my partner, Keith, I took on these projects and decided to turn my hobby into a business.
At the time, I would only sell designs, and clients would go to another print shop to have the final piece produced (unless it’s custom, one-piece painting). Then, while flying back to the US from visiting family in Indonesia, I had a 24-hour trip to Seoul where I stumbled into a family-owned paper shop. I didn’t speak Korean, nor they English.
Somehow I managed to buy a few rolls of some of the most beautiful handmade paper. When I got home to the States, I started experimenting with these papers and became obsessed with different paper types. I researched printing techniques and printers and made my first investment – my own printing studio. I wanted to print my own designs, on a variety of different textures of paper, and not be limited to another printer’s capabilities.
After a year and a half of taking on commission work, I decided to launch a line of stationery products. We started with 4 greeting cards about a year ago, and now there are over 60 products under the brand. Currently, we are in 5 retail stores in the Atlanta area: All four Crafted Westside locations) and Citizen Supply at Ponce City Market. Sometimes, we can even be found at art festivals around the city.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s been a relatively smooth road. We’ve grown steadily, in a controlled pace. We have some weeks where we have crazy hours and stacks of projects coming out of the studio.
Then, we have time where we consciously take breaks (usually after weddings or other big projects/events) to evaluate what we’ve done, and refresh.
For me, personally, the greatest struggle has been making sure that I, as the leader and sole artist, have a balanced life. Having a full-time job, running PfK (which is growing out of its part-time status), and having a family and friends, is a balancing act. There’s no right answer as to what’s more important. It changes every day. Some days, I miss out on family and social stuff, because there’s a deadline. Some days, the business takes a backseat to the family and social life.
While it sounds like a mess, it’s a beautiful mess – the pieces that I’m balancing tend to feed off each other. Time, conversations, and activities with friends and family inspire my work. And in return, I try to support friends and family with their respective endeavors through my work.
Please tell us about Patricia FK Design & Illustration.
My company is made up of two parts. In one part, I create custom paper and digital goods for events, weddings, and organizations/businesses. This side of the company focuses solely on commission work. On another side, I have a line of stationery/paper products (greeting cards, gift tags, wrapping paper – the like).
I’m known for my watercolor illustrations and the paper quality that I use in my work. I love paper, and as a result, I offer different types of paper for various projects; from handmade paper that I ethically source from all over the world, to locally-milled paper.
I believe that what sets my brand apart from others is the style of design and the fact that not only do I design, I have a small printing studio where all of our products (except for one) is produced. I’ve overseen the creation-to-production of every single product that leaves my studio.
As a company, I’m most proud of the friendships and connections that generated through the work. I’ve had brides who turned into friends, friends who turned into clients or project partners, shoppers who turned into return clients, and clients who turned into project partners. It’s a wonderful cycle of which I’m proud to be a part.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
This is a tough question because the decisions that I’ve made for the business stems out of timing, personal circumstances, and a myriad of other external factors. If I started over today, I’m sure that the decisions that I’ll make today will differ in many ways because the factors that played into the last set of decisions could be different.
- Website: www.patriciafk.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/_patriciafk
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/patriciafkdi