We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria M. Ruiz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria M., Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Authenticity. I want my work to be as original as possible. I’m not interested in monetizing existing phrases or ideas that I didn’t create. Whenever I come up with a phrase or poem, I spend a considerable amount of time searching online to ensure a version of it doesn’t exist. The current market is a graveyard of “Live, Laugh, Love” phrases devoid of any originality or creativity.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am incredibly passionate about my brands, CHIBILOULOU and Dark Rabbit Society, and what they stand for. Everything you see on CHIBILOULOU comes from my own imagination. I write, print, and sell inspirational quotes and poems. All writing is original and all designs are hand-drawn by my husband. I print locally (support small business!) and take pride in the details. Fonts, color, design, paper quality, packaging––it’s all meticulously conceptualized. As an added touch, when someone buys a product, they receive a personal hand-written note. I believe in the power of words and I hope that my words are inspirational.
Dark Rabbit Society originated as a natural counterpart to CHIBILOULOU. While CHIBILOULOU is light and optimistic, Dark Rabbit Society embraces our dark side – which I believe is just as important. It became unrealistic for me to only focus on positivity. I wanted/needed to tap into the sarcasm, the dark humor, and the thoughts that we often think but don’t say. Then I thought to myself that if I had this urge, perhaps others do as well.
Dark Rabbit Society greeting cards are original, witty, and dark-humored (but not crass) and can be given on occasions such as: new baby, birthday, wedding and engagement, social anxiety, and “twisted sympathy” (a fan favorite). You have to appreciate a certain type of humor to give – and receive – the cards. The website says it best: “We take care of the outside, but the inside’s up to you.” Meaning the cards are purposely blank inside so you can salvage your friendship. Kidding! Sort of.
You can also wear your darkness on your sleeve… literally. Dark Rabbit Society t-shirts recently launched in three earth tones and have been well received. The tees are soft, unisex, and ideal for every day lounging.
Parts of me are etched into each brand, and I am proud of their uniqueness and authenticity.
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.
My friends and I are pretty relaxed and low-key. We’d kick off the week at Zoo Miami, cause… animals. Continuing our wildlife kick, we’d then head over to Brickell Key, where, if you’re lucky, you can spot wild dolphins and manatees! And did I mention there are dogs everywhere? After working up an appetite, we’d walk over the bridge and grab dinner while overlooking the Brickell skyline. On one night, we would catch a theatrical or musical performance at the Adrienne Arsht Center.
One of our days would be spent taking photos at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, before hopping over to Miracle Mile for dinner. A stop at Books & Books is a must, complete with live music and wine. For an outdoor adventure, we’d go kayaking at Oleta River State Park and end the week with a picnic at South Pointe – followed by a sunset, steak dinner at Smith & Wollensky.
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?
From a professional standpoint, I’ve worked in positions that required a considerable amount of writing and communication. At some of these workplaces, I’ve had incredible mentors who championed me to succeed. While all this has been valuable in sharpening my writing skills, I realized I lacked a creative outlet. A few years back, my husband was transitioning to another position and in a spur of inspiration, I crafted a poem for him. It started as a bit of a joke, but I quickly realized how much I enjoyed the creative process and this led to a series of poems and quirky phrases. CHIBILOULOU was born from these moments, and Dark Rabbit Society followed a year later.