Boss Ladies / Inspiration

Boss Ladies | Blair Breitenstein

05.04.17

Photos c/o Vanessa Granda & AJ Ragassa

Blair Breitenstein is an artist who works with fashion brands to create unique social and web content. She primarily uses pastels and a small sketchbook. Her focus is to draw the viewer into the quirky, abstract and chic world of fashion.

Growing up I really wanted to be
A fashion designer with a label called Blair Ashley

My go-to order at a coffee shop is
Large cold brew. (I’m addicted)

I don’t know how I ever lived without
Yoga

One thing people don’t know about me is
I’m a textbook introvert

My real life hero is
Donald Robertson, a fashion illustrator who has mastered the art of being kind, humble and helpful while being iconic. This is so rare. He forged a path for other fashion illustrators, and his collaborations have opened my eyes to what is possible for artists. I admire his ability to excel in many realms — books, clothing, billboards, creative direction… he’s a genius.

What I love about my work is
Not having to work on a computer all day!!

The hardest thing about my work is
Working alone.  It’s easy to second-guess yourself without a team to bounce ideas off of.  I recently hired 2 people, and I appreciate them more than they know!

How I got started with my current career
I opened an Etsy shop in 2012, and when I realized that people were willing to pay me for my drawings got me thinking.  Could I draw for packaging, for magazines, at events? I started to use Instagram to share my work with a bigger audience and potential clients and strategically tagged my posts. That got me in front of important eyes.

During that time I had two jobs: a full time job at an ad agency, then I worked on fashion collaborations, etsy shop and my @blairz instagram at from 7 pm to 2 am.

In the beginning I took on a lot of work for free which was a great decision. Trading work for the right exposure is priceless. Although I didn’t do a lot of outreach, I created unique content. I worked hard to stand out among a very saturated market.

After 2 years of working full time and running my own business, I realized to be truly successful I had to give it my all, so I stopped working at the ad agency.

The dumbest thing I did when I was starting out
Posting content that wasn’t my best work. Everything you post on the Internet lives forever.  Be wise!

My typical day looks like
Get coffee (very important for my productivity level).

Get inspired – blogs, newsletters, Womens Wear Daily, Business of Fashion, Instagram, treat myself to a new magazine.

Get my creative juices following with at least 2 hours of drawing for myself. Post my favorite drawings from what I just created.

Go outside and take a walk (even if it’s raining). I work from home, so I go insane if I don’t leave the house at some point.

Draw for clients.

Answer emails.

Discuss emails with my team.

Go to yoga or pilates.

Get into bed and watch a movie.

I used to think success meant
Fame

My current definition of success is
Having my work exist beyond social media/ the Internet.

An example of when I had to push through my insecurities
Moving to NYC

I know my work/life balance is out of sync when
I don’t have time to go to yoga. Yoga is very important to me, it makes me feel physically better and mentally clear. If I don’t have time to fit a yoga class into my day then I need to get my time management skills in check.

The last time I created something I was proud of was
I recently did a collaboration with Air France. I was proud because “going to Paris for work” has been on my bucket list for a decade. It felt incredible and surreal to check that one off.

I wish I could tell my younger self
Work harder. I feel like I wasted too many years just getting by. Life is short and time is a terrible thing to waste!

 The legacy I hope to leave is
I hope to inspire young artists to follow their dreams! I hope to prove illustration is not a dead art.

XO,
Blair

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