We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Pinto and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kate, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started doing digitial pet and people portraits for friends and family to help with a depressive eposide, and they conviced me I needed to start charging for them. I researched setting up an Etsy shop and how to start a business. I sat down and mapped out my “why”, what I really wanted out of a business, and some core values. I love making folks laugh and feel seen. I am a nerdy gal at heart, so I knew I wanted to incorporate animals into my values and designs. At the same time I was decorating a new apartment and wanted to fill my walls with diverse women, but it was harder to find the art I wanted than it should be. That’s when my “why” hit me! I want to make art with all kinds of people and animals which are typically harder to find. I started with art prints, and quickly discovered a real need in the stationery world.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I digitally illustrate all of my pieces on my iPad using Procreate. I picked up my Apple Pencil and started drawing on my iPad about 4 years ago, and absolutely LOVE it! There’s just so much freedom and versatility to it. I grew up drawing and painting with acrylics, but have loved the switch to digital art. I get to mess up as many times as I want, easily change out colors, try countless brushes and textures, and move things around to get the image the way I want. I don’t really feel like I have a “style”, though folks tell me I do, because I really like experimenting with so many different things.
My very intentional use of people and animals you don’t typically find in stationery and some art prints is what sets Bean Horse Car apart, especially in the stationery world currently. That and probably the often colorful humor. Truthfully, there’s a lot of opportunity to bring diversity in the industry. I started this company because I wanted to fill my home with art featuring of ALL kinds of folks, particularly women, and it was just really harder to find than I would’ve liked. As a plus-sized gal, I mostly see fellow plus-sized women illustrated in a minimalist style, often exaggerated, and/or naked as “body positive” art. I am a cis het, able-bodied, White woman, so I have the immense privilege of most illustrated people looking kind of like me, but it’s still too hard to find BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and Disabled folks in everyday illustrations. I make it a point to include as many folks as I can when I use people in an illustration.
I love making folks smile and laugh, and hopefully find something unexpected in my work. When someone tells me they’ve never see someone or something on a card or in a print, it reminds me why I started doing this. I also tend to make the art I want for my own place and struggle finding in hopes others want it as well. For example, my Cheers and Party Animals Collections. As a former zoo volunteer, I love all kinds of atypical critters so that’s what I draw. I also needed bar art for my place, and decided to make it myself.
I would say I am my biggest challenge at this point. I get in my own way and hold myself back. It’s not something I’ve quite overcome, so I don’t have any sage advice to give, but it’s something I work on everyday. Fortunately, I joined Proof to Product early in my career and it’s helped me a ton. Katie Hunt runs an incredible program and built a supportive, engaged, and incredibly talented community. While I still have a lot of work to do, the tools are at my disposal and I have a community of people to help me along the way. When I look back at where I started, not knowing a STITCH about stationery, wholesale, or running a business, I am proud of how far I’ve made it and am excited for the future.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have a fun day trip tour I like to take folks on, and they better wear their eatin’n’drinkin’ pants! First I drive over to Retrograde Coffee Roasters in Sebastopol for a morning beverage and delicious local pastry, and stroll Main St to get the day started. Then we head towards the coast, swinging by Wild Flour Bakery in Freestone to grab some fresh bread to go with our lunch. We head over to Spud Point in Bodega Bay to grab some EPIC clam chowder and drive it up to the Bodega Head for lunch with a view. We then drive over to Doran Beach to take the pups on a beach walk. On the way home we swing by Guerneville and do a little walk through Armstrong Redwoods State Park, then head back head back to Sebastopol to grab beers at Crooked Goat dinner from one of the places in The Barlow. Obviously there are a lot of wine tasting options in Sonoma County, and nearby Napa, but I love smaller places like Two Shepherds, Horse & Plow, and Tilted Shed (cider). Truthfully I am more of a beer gal, so I have a bunch of different breweries for folks to try. I always recommend folks drive through wine country and along the coast. It’s just so beautiful. I love living in Northern CA because there are just so many different things to do.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would dedicate this to Katie Hunt and all of the wonderful folks I have met through the Proof to Product community. I wouldn’t still be doing this without their help, ongoing development opportunities, countless resources, and most importantly friendship, support, and encouragement.
Other: Wholesale: beanhorsecar.faire.com