We had the good fortune of connecting with Elizabeth Kwan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Elizabeth, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Drawing was something I always loved to do, but it was one of those things that got pushed to the side as I got older and busier. Right before I started my senior year of college, I got a corgi puppy and started an Instagram (@beebothecorgi) to document his life. He’s my first dog and I knew that I would want a place to look back at our memories together. One thing that I found out by joining the online dog community is that sticker trades are a huge thing. I love cute art and stickers so I decided to hop on the bandwagon and found a bunch of artists to commission. Over time I followed more and more artists who had their own stationery shops and it was so inspiring to me.

When the pandemic hit, I suddenly had extra time that I used to get back into my creative hobbies like music, baking, and drawing. My favorite project was drawing Beebo and learning how to make stickers out of it. It made a huge difference on my mental health and helped keep my mind off of the worry I had about Covid.

During the summer of 2020 my father passed away suddenly. Losing him made me realize that tomorrow isn’t promised and that I need to do things that make me happy. That was when I decided to start KiweeCreates. I made an Instagram to document the progress of my drawing skills and over time I started getting commission inquiries. Seeing my art get turned into stickers and sent to others for sticker trades was so exciting. One commissioner pointed out to me that art is a unique way to capture their dog’s life. There’s no limit to what an artist can do. They can draw their pet in a costume, interacting with a TV character, or travelling the world. It hit me in that moment that this is something I wanted to do seriously. Being able to bring that joy into people’s lives is so special and turning KiweeCreates into a business allows me to do that at a larger capacity.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Sticker trades are a big part of the Instagram dog community, so people commission me to draw their pets and make stickers of them. I would say my art style is cute and bubbly. I also have an Etsy shop where I sell die cut stickers, sticker sheets, and prints. I’m hoping to expand and add more stationery in the future.

I recently started doing live commissions on Twitch and that has been a lot of fun. I’m able to show people my drawing process from start to finish and it’s a lot of fun to interact live with my audience. I do two types of commissions that are unique to my Twitch channel. One of them is mystery commissions where one person each month has an opportunity to purchase a discounted commission. The catch is that they don’t know the concept of the artwork. I reveal it during the stream and draw it live.

The other one is called Beebo and Frens. I draw my corgi Beebo and a few other pets. The day before that stream, I announce the concept and the number of slots. People sign up during the stream and I draw everything live. November’s theme was camping, so I drew the pets around a campfire in the forest. I then turn the artwork into a coloring page and a print. It’s been a lot of fun to do art on Twitch!

Getting to where I am today professionally felt simultaneously like a super fast and very slow process. I started KiweeCreates officially a little over a year ago and now I get a consistent stream of commissions through Instagram and Twitch. There was a lot of trial and error with the business and I am still learning something new every day.

One of the biggest challenges I faced was imposter syndrome. I never went to art or business school. I graduated with a music degree. There’s always that little fearful voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough. Reminding myself that this isn’t a race and to prioritize self-care is vital to running my business.

The biggest lesson I learned is the importance of balancing my life. KiweeCreates is something I’m super passionate about and it can turn into pulling all-nighters if I’m not careful because I get so into what I do. Another lesson is the importance of community. I make sure to create a welcoming environment in all my pages, but especially on Twitch. You never know what people are going through and creating a safe place for them to connect with others is so important.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely take them to eat at Gen Korean BBQ, OHSO with my dog, and Perfect Pear. We would get boba from Dayung’s Tea and coffee from Echo Coffee. I’d also take them to Snakes and Lattes, Tempe Town Lake, and the Odysea Aquarium.

We would go to Sedona for a couple days, too. I really like the food at Creekside and the view there is great. I haven’t done any of the hikes, but I want to try one. Stargazing is also a must once it’s nighttime.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My late father always encouraged me to tap into my creative side and was my biggest cheerleader. He worked so hard to make sure my brother and I lived a good life and he also made a huge impact in his community. I learned so much from him and he continues to be my biggest inspiration.

Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/kiweecreates

Instagram: @kiweecreates

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqWM3yCjst95uEiNjIVq1MQ

Other: Twitch: @beebothecorgi

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.