Van life and hand-drawn stickers create successful business for artist – St George News

IVINS —Living life on the road as a full-time sticker artist wasn’t the original plan for one creator, but she leaned into the opportunity and grew her business to over 130 stores nationwide, with designs that are sure to draw you in.

Artist Kandis Larson poses at Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Kandis Larson, St. George News

Kandis Larson, artist and owner of Kandis Created, said she’s never taken an art class. While she had no previous experience in drawing, she’s done many other forms of art over the years such as leatherwork and basketry and even built her very own cabin. She started drawing a decade ago and hasn’t stopped since.

“At first, I didn’t think I was an artist,” Larson said. “I thought you had to do certain things to be an artist or draw. Like you had to do landscapes or you had to be a painter, and I was none of those things.”

She began attending farmers markets and art shows, selling her hand-drawn designs on cards and other paper items. One day, she decided to turn her drawings into stickers and was shocked at the response. She created more sticker designs, starting with 10 designs and continuously adding from there. As the sticker business grew, she eliminated her paper products and went all-in on stickers.

Larson said she started to pitch and sell her stickers to a few local businesses outside the weekend markets. As she got her stickers in more stores, she said business owners loved the hand-drawn designs, which set them apart from anything else they already had in their stores.

A custom Utah sticker design drawn by Kandis Larson is shown, location and date unspecified |  Photo courtesy of Kandis Larson, St.  George News
A custom Utah sticker design drawn by Kandis Larson is shown, location and date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Kandis Larson, St. George News

When the pandemic hit and her life changed, she decided to take her life on the road, living full-time in her van and selling her stickers to stores across the country.

“This last year, that’s all I’ve done,” Kandis said. “I just live in my van and travel. My stickers are in eight states now and a lot of stores. I’ve been very blessed and it’s been very successful so far.”

Larson said her stickers are currently sold in 130 stores across the country, including Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nebraska and Hawaii. She continues to grow her business as she travels and personally visits every store to speak with business owners.

Stickers by Kandis Created also are currently featured in 18 different Utah stores from Spanish Fork to St. George. Originally from Spokane, Washington, Larson said she lived all over Utah prior to van life and she loves the entire state.

“I think Utah is one of the coolest states there are,” she said. “Being down in the desert – I love the desert – but I also equally love the lakes and the mountains.”

As she enjoys life on the road, Larson is currently in Colorado and continues to travel the Western part of the United States. She plans to go to Grand Teton National Park next and said she goes where the tourists are since they primarily buy her products.

“I’m just going to roll with the sticker thing,” Larson said. “As long as people are buying stickers, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Larson said she often gets messages on social media inquiring about how she got the life she has now. She’s happy to tell her story and give others the tips and tricks that led to her success.

In her experience, Larson said the first two things people need to run a small business are confidence and quality products and that she offers “the best damn sticker you can have” as far as quality and design.

To see available stickers, visit the Kandis Created website. Follow Larson’s Instagram to keep up with her adventures on the road.

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