Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Brooke!!

Hello! Who are you? Give us the 411 about yourself.

My name is Brooke Behnken, but any day now will be Brooke Behnken Mulholland. I got married last May and love "Mulholland" but just haven't gotten around to making the official change. It's been a busy year! I am a Baltimore native and headed north for a few years to get my BFA in Graphic Design from Drexel University in Philly. I've been working as a graphic designer for 13+ years and went out on my own in August of 2004. I run Brooke Behnken Design, Ltd. and FuzzyMug out of my home studio, surrounded by way too many computers and three silly dogs and three cats. My husband and I joke that the dogs are my Board of Directors.
I love to hike with the dogs, take spinning at the gym, and recently took up running again after an 8 year hiatus. We're doing the Frederick 5k on May 7th and actually looking forward to it. I'm addicted to soup (homemade vegan with lots of kale) and eat it for lunch pretty much every day and I recently gave up coffee for tea. I've been on a big health kick lately.

When/how did you start your business?

I started the concept for FuzzyMug in December 2008 when I was trying to come up with handmade gifts for my friends. I had taken a great picture of my best friend's dog and wanted to make her some note cards but didn't just want too slap a photo on them. I started experimenting with the image in PhotoShop and after a lot of undo's and using tools in ways I never had before, my first pet portrait was done. I did another friend's cat and the note cards were a hit. She showed them to her co-workers and orders started coming in. My regular design business had slowed due to the crappy economy and I was feeling a little burnt out on corporate design, so it all just came together at the right time. FuzzyMug made it's official debut at The March for the Animals in April of 2009 and later that month, the Etsy store opened.

What inspires you?

I adore my animals, and your animals, and animals waiting at the shelter - pretty much anything with fur or feathers and a sweet (or spirited) disposition. It's so exciting to be able to support rescues and shelters across the country with in-kind donations. I also love people who love their pets - they're a quirky bunch and just fun to interact with. Good design, quality craftsmanship and a gorgeous sheet of recycled paper are also high on my list.

What's your favorite thing about your craft?

Wow! There are so many things...definitely when I get a new portrait commission and am wowed by the all-out cuteness of the image I get to work with. I'm also a sucker for positive feedback and making people happy, and people really seem to be thrilled with their completed portraits. Emails with "Awesome!!! I love it!!" definitely make my day. I like exclamation points and smiley faces.

If you could have one wish granted for the craft community, what would it be?

I wish that crafters, especially on Etsy, would realize the value of their product and stop underselling to compete. If you provide a unique, quality product, people will pay for it with no complaints and come back for more!

by LanaBella & Lexi

note: my daughter Lexi is assisting on this series as part of a home-school project.

1 comment:

namoo said...

love your work! it was nice to be next your booth at fenton street last weekend. Good luck to your 5K!