We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather McAndress and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Early on I knew that trying to blend in to a corporate environment would be challenging. It takes a certain type of personality and despite several attempts I was just simply not cut out for it.
After all, I came from a family of musicians and writers, and as a young girl only ever had one interest — Art. So, when it came time for college, I did what many nervous young people do; I tucked that dream safely away, untouched and ‘protected’ from the world.
So why try to blend in at all? Maybe it makes it easier to identify with others or feels expected, or maybe we’re just afraid to take a chance and follow our heart. In any case, it’s not uncommon to build a different life than once anticipated and, well, that’s exactly what I did.
In 2014, my husband and I decided to leave our 9-5 jobs at the same design firm in Los Angeles. We set out to finally carve our own path, and grew a small media production company over the next 6 years. Unfortunately, like so many others, our business ceased operations when the pandemic hit, with much time left to uncertainty. This presented an unusual opportunity.
As an Artist, I think it’s safe to say that creativity is part of everything you do in some way or another; even if the work requires little imagination. I’d had various side projects over the years, but this time was different; an opportunity I had to seize. If I wanted Art at the forefront of my life, it was now or never.
Steve Jobs once said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – a realization I didn’t reach until my thirties, marking the beginning of a pursuit long overdue to reconnect with Art. So in early 2020, amidst an impending global pandemic, a little Etsy shop was born named Cubelem.
Can you tell us more about Cubelem and what you value most about your creative journey so far?
Cubelem (pronounced “cube-el-em”) had been an idea for some time, its’ symbol a reimagining of the elemental pentagram. I decided to focus first on signage, which was soon followed by wood wick soy candles and fabric banners. As luck would have it, I managed to tap into the most welcoming and supportive network of kind, driven, like-minded fellow Artists, Designers, Thrifters and quirky Creatives online.
Having studied Graphic Design in college, signs seemed like an excellent starting point. I design mostly phrases and lettering on wooden plaques that are then sold as decorative wall hangings. The most popular option has quickly become custom signage, receiving commissions for a wide variety of styles from funny phrases to retro designs, tattoo parlor rules to shop signs.
After all this time, to be able to send my work out into the world feels incredibly fulfilling, and doing so with such an encouraging community of supportive gals has been one of the greatest gifts of all.
What are your plans for the future? Do you have any advice for other Artists just starting out?
As Cubelem has just celebrated one year, there are several new projects on the horizon, including prints, trinket shelves, and celestial installation Art. I figure there’s no limit to possibility, so I intend to keep learning and growing as an Artist.
When you look back on your life, hopefully what you come to appreciate is that your abilities are unique, and that even though the way you approach the world may differ from those around you, it’s your passions and perspective that hold true value. It would be a shame not to share them with the world.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate this interview to my husband, Yoyo Bianchi, for always supporting my quirky creative endeavors and doing so with great enthusiasm. Also, to my parents who have always encouraged me to try new things and not be afraid to stand out.