We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelsey Reust and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelsey, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
Professionally? When my customers tell me the stories behind why they chose their piece. It may be a favorite vacation, where they were engaged, cities they lived, their first dog, and so many more. The entire point of my pieces is for you to be able to see your own memories between the lines, not for me to paint the picture completely for you.
Personally? My dogs. After we got our first golden retriever, Gary, I found there was no way to be grumpy around him. If you’re having a bad day, just one look from his sweet smile makes me forget about all of it. Then we got Dave, our second goofy golden, and the silly happiness doubled.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Scenic Route Shop began as a creative outlet while I was employed as an architect. You’d think architecture would be a creative field, but I found myself mostly burried in paperwork and problems. So Scenic Route Shop began when I listed 12 drawings on Etsy one night after work. I had kicked around the idea of starting a shop and had put together some drawings inspired from artwork I had made in the past. They were far from polished. Looking back, my product photography was embarrassing and the listings lacked lots of information. My packaging was still in development and my customer service was more of a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of approach. I’d guess it’s how most small businesses begin though. And anyone that says it’s easy is probably lying.
Over time, my style has evolved and my pieces have been refined. I think the thing that sets my pieces apart the most is their simplicity. I love that different people can look at the same piece and see their own dog or hometown. My artwork isn’t trying to tell my own story or ideas to the world. Rather, it’s a way for everyone to have art that represents their own lives. I sat through a brutally boring history of art class in college trying to delve into the overly complicated meanings of historic paintings, and I hope that never applies to my pieces. If you get the Golden Retriever piece, it’s because you see YOUR golden, not mine.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When friends visit, we always suggest the spring in Phoenix because it’s the best weather and has the most things to do. Spring training baseball or the Waste Management Golf Tournament are always a must because sitting outside on a beautiful February or March day while so much of the country still has miserable weather is really satisfying. I love to visit some of the unique Phoenician places like the Wrigley Mansion or the Biltmore for a cocktail. A bike ride along the canal takes us through lots of different neighborhoods. And I love to spend a night in Old Town listening to country music at the Rusty Spur. Breakfast at El Encanto in Cave Creek is also a must. Usually friends that haven’t been here before are surprised Phoenix doesn’t look like an old wild west movie, so it’s fun to show them around this little slice of paradise.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shoutout to the Embrace Market. It was my first true event and the point where Scenic Route Shop turned from an evening hobby to a true professional endeavor. Angie & Sheila put on a wonderful market and were so helpful in answering all of my rookie questions. They supported every vendor and found innovative ways to promote local vendors during the pandemic when the market couldn’t be held in person. Those ladies are a true inspiration of what supporting local really means.