Names / Artist Names / DBA:
Chia Lor, She/her
Hleeda Lor, She/her
What do you guys consider yourself? Artists, illustrators, designers, other?
Graphic designers and illustrators
Could you guys share what inspired you guys to start Unicorn Eclipse? What kinds of products do you guys produce? What was the inspiration for the name? Were there any fear or challenges you had along the way in starting a small business? If so, how did you manage to work it out?
Unicorn Eclipse started because of our love for stationery! The name comes from Chia’s never dying obsession of unicorns and Hleeda’s name which in Hmong translates to “moon”. We have always loved aesthetic art. At the time, Hleeda fell in love with planning and bullet journaling and started building her own sticker collection. Both of us were still in school at the time, but we had always talked about wanting to start our own sticker shop and started learning how to make stickers for fun in 2016. However, we didn’t start pursuing it seriously until 2021. After 2020, we were in need of more peace and joy in our lives so we started drawing again. Chia had just lost her job and decided that this was what she wanted to do instead. So we rebranded and started making stickers again. We design a variety of stationery items like stickers, sticky notes, note pads, keychains, washi tape and magnets.
There were many challenges we had and honestly, there are always going to be new challenges. There was insecurity of our work, fear of the future/unknown, increased anxiety, and working long hours. We are grateful that we have each other to lean on and also make sure to take breaks when we need it. Ultimately, we just decided to keep going and not give up.
Did you guys attended art school or majored/minored in Art or Design in college? If so, what were your experiences with it and did you think it helped you become a better artist? If you did not attended college or attended but did not majored in anything art-related, what helped pushed you to pursue art or improve your craft?
We both majored in Graphic Design at the same university. Art and design are very different. We were never really fans of illustrating and it was only after graduating that we got to experiment with our drawing styles. Having a graphic design background really helps in making our products. However, our drawing skills are still improving as time progresses as we find out what kind of art we enjoy doing.
Making art/products can become very time consuming. How do you guys balance art-making with work and life? How do you make time for art?
The two of us have weekly meetings to set goals and intentions. We both illustrate art for the shop but also have different roles. Hleeda focuses on drawing and producing the sticker sheets. Chia is full time with Unicorn Eclipse and is able to take care of all the administrative tasks, packaging, social media, drawing, inventory, and basically anything else. Hleeda has a full time job, so it definitely is challenging balancing the two. She has a set work schedule and schedules out what she needs to get done for the week. She does her best to time manage and not take on more than what she is able to do at the time.
A lot of people don’t pursue creative passions because they don’t think they can make money doing it. From your experiences, what are ways you guys find work or generate income as artists?
Social media is basically free marketing and we have found success with using Tiktok and Instagram to grow our business. It is our first year with growing our business and the reality is that it definitely is a TON of work. Utilizing an intentional social media strategy is essential. But we do research on different avenues of income we can earn such as having both an Etsy and website and doing occasional vendor markets or pop ups. But the majority of our sales come from online sales and our traffic comes from social media. It also takes time and patience. It can be very discouraging at first, but everything grows with time.
Where do you guys get your ideas from?
We make ideas for things we genuinely want to see. We also will ask our audience directly sometimes. Personally we’re big fans of drawing objects and combining different patterns in ordinary objects. Most of the time, we just draw whatever we want.
What kinds of tools do you guys use to make your work or what is your typical artistic process like?
We both like to use our Ipad to draw. We use Procreate and Photoshop. For our sticker sheets, we print them out and use a Silhouette Portrait cutting machine to cut them.
Are there any artists you guys look up to or find inspiring?
Honestly, anyone who makes art for a living. It is very comforting finding support in other stationery artists and small business friends.
Do you guys have any favorite books, apps, movies, resources, or art tools that you recommend?
Definitely Procreate, the Ipad and a thermal label printer!
Are there any advice you guys would like to give to young artists or people wanting to start their own small business?
Our advice for other creatives would be that the risk part of it is always scary, but it’s so worth it. No one knows what they’re doing at times, it’s all a part of the learning process. And if you’re trying to grow your brand/monetize your art, consistency is always key. It’s better to be consistent while taking breaks than to overwork yourself and burn out. Don’t be afraid to put your art in the world because art is what makes this world beautiful. Don’t be afraid to charge for your work. Art is viewed as “not necessary” by a lot of people, but it is a real job and your prices should reflect how much time you spend on your work. Do not believe the whole “starving artist” trope that disempowers creatives. Everything takes time/work, but it’s so worth it to invest in your passion.
What are your ultimate dream projects or something each of you would like to accomplish in your lifetime (could be art or non-art related)?
We would ultimately love for Hleeda to also go full time eventually. In addition, we just want to expand on our ideas, products and be able to share our art with more people.
What is the best way to get a hold of you guys and view or purchase your work?
You can purchase our work at unicorneclipse.com and we are on Instagram and Tik Tok!