We had the good fortune of connecting with Raelina Krikston and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Raelina, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Starting a business is a lot easier the second time around. My first business, Haiikuu Design, was focused exclusively in the cannabis and CBD industries. We did a lot of packaging design and branding work along with social media and website design. While it was fun and I’m very proud of the projects we did, I felt a bit stagnant by our fifth year in business and felt that it was time for a change.
I had been thinking about starting a little sister business to the design agency which would allow us to diversify our clientele and create more opportunity for community involvement. I didn’t expect it to become my main business, but I’m happy it evolved that way. One arm of the business is more or less the same as Haiikuu Design, a creative agency focused on sustainable packaging, minimal design and educational marketing but this time we didn’t make a distinction as to what industry we worked with which really expanded the range of projects we’ve been able to work on.
The second arm of the business opens up our space to the community for photoshoots, props, creative services and even staffing models. Being in a rural area, there aren’t that many resources for artists, like you might find in a big city. So The Stuudiio provides space and resources for brands and creatives to make work or hire us “a la carte” in different projects.
You can rent the studio out for an hour and a half for whatever you need and we can match you with the creatives you need to, “Make it Happen.”
Ironically enough we put the finishing touches of the business just a few weeks before going into shelter in place so the studio rental part of the vision is just now starting to materialize, but on the flip side, opening ourselves up to work with other industries led to a very busy and fulfilling year.
All in all, the thought process behind The Stuudiio is a natural evolution of what we had been working on before, it was less strategic thought and more feeling and growing into new areas that have always been available to us, we just weren’t looking at them until now.
What should our readers know about your business?
The Stuudiio is a unique business not necessarily because of the services we provide but because of the community we reside in. Humboldt County is a small and tight knit community which in many ways rejects the things that have become so commonplace in developed areas of the country. For example, you’d be hard pressed to walk down the street and see the same businesses you pass listed on Google. People don’t necessarily value online connection, technological tools for running a business, or things like social media but they do value real personal connection, community and relationships. While The Stuudiio offers very “modern” services like product photography, social media marketing, packaging design and the like, we would not be successful without the real life community we are a part of both in Humboldt and abroad.
While there are some challenges to living and owning a business in a rural area, I find it’s a unique opportunity to make a mark in a community. It’s easy to see your own ripples in the community from the communication and direct feedback that exists in a small area.
I’m thankful for our ability to work remotely as well. Currently, we are working with clients in Humboldt but also have projects going on across the country in Portland, Maine and even across the globe in Brisbane, Australia. The pandemic really made it clear to anyone who might have doubted it that you really can work from anywhere, but personal connection is what enables that system to work.
I’m proud of all of the projects we work on, it’s hard to even choose but one of the most standout clients I can give a shoutout to is Witch in the Woods Botanicals. This is one of the most visible projects we’ve done in our local community, and there’s a special kind of pride I feel going to the local co-op and seeing our work on the shelf.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the amazing community we’re a part of. If that’s one takeaway that owning a business has given me about life, it’s that personal connections are what drives us and is secret to any kind of business success providing that you deliver a good product. Be good to people, be a good neighbor, be a good friend and of course do good work.
This idea is summed up in the name of my company and illustrated in the spelling. Our motto: “I’s and U’s are better as twos, so let’s get together and make it happen.”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well all of my favorite spots are outside of the city but if we’re going to hangout in town, the first stop will be Chuchis sandwich shop, after spending a fun afternoon shooting in the studio. Later we’ll grab a drink at newly restored North of Fourth.
I would tell you about my favorite outdoor spots but that is classified information 😉
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are several people that have had a key role in how I have developed as a person and in my business. Amy Yamamura, is an amazing art director and now good friend. The projects we worked on together pushed me to another level creatively and provided some great challenges that enabled me to grow. Charlie McElroy is another creative I really love working with for how much thought and positive encouragement he lends to projects. His company Goldleaf is setting the bar for infographics and very well curated cannabis education. Kate Manson is also a huge business crush, she’s another person that inspires great things working together. We have a new project we’ve started together (and just launched!) called Kôta and it has been nothing but fun so far. Of course Lulu Tsui is another amazing support, she makes big things happen and she’s the person who introduced Kate and I.
I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without the people I’ve worked with, and the same goes for my team too! I have an amazing group of talented women I work with at The Stuudiio. I’m glad to be able to hold space for people to grow in their respective creative fields. I feel like we’re really hitting our stride after just a short (and long) one year in business.
Finally, I’m incredibly grateful for the support of my partner during the creation of my business, he always give me sage advice and positive encouragement which is especially helpful when self-doubt (or low blood sugar) might creep in. He is also someone who pushes my creative limits and encourages me to do better and better work.
Photos by James Adam Taylor