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Daily Inspiration: Meet Renee Pulve

Today we’d like to introduce you to Renee Pulve.

Hi Renee, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Art has always been a life-long interest and passion of mine. While taking a drafting class in high school, my Industrial Arts teacher Mr. Wunderley suggested I consider pursuing a path in the design industry. I loved the attention to detail drafting had taught me along with the block style lettering techniques. These words of encouragement led me to follow my passion and further my artistic kills by attending college.

After obtaining a BA in Fine Art from California Lutheran University, I started my graphic design career. First working for a comic book company, then for a design agency in Santa Monica, California where I designed toy packaging and style guides.

Ultimately, I founded Smudge Design Co. in 2003, naming the company after my beloved pug Smudge. My business thrived for over 17 years as I established relationships with several online retailers including Artisaire, Basic Invite, Love vs Design, Minted, Mpix, and The Knot.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
While there have been many obstacles, the biggest one by far was navigating the onset of Covid in March 2020.

As a stationery designer through most of my freelance career, the pandemic plummeted my business by 78% in sales. Weddings and parties were almost nonexistent during this time which forced me to discover some new creative skills.

I enrolled in Bonnie Christine’s Surface Design Immersion and Elizabeth Silver’s Start Your Surface Pattern Business using funds I received from local grants. With the knowledge gained from both courses, I was able to pivot my business into a successful surface design career.

As of 2021, I now work under my legal name of Rochelle Renee as an artist and licensed surface designer.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I create wallpaper and fabric designs for use in the home décor industry incorporating unique mediums such as watercolors, sketching, and block printing. My goal is to infuse my love for travel into the making of each pattern.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I was born in Detroit, Michigan, spent my teenage years in Arizona, and eventually made my way to Westlake Village, California where I currently live.

Aside from Canada and Mexico, I never really had the opportunity to travel outside of North America. It wasn’t until my early 30s that I made my first visit to Europe and that’s when my love for travel began. I’ve since been to over 22 countries and counting while discovering most of my creative inspirations are fueled by these unique experiences.

I have two pugs (Suki and Biscuit) who were both adopted via Pug Rescue of Korea. When I’m not designing or traveling, I also enjoy finding homes for rescued pugs.

Contact Info:


Image Credits
-Photos of me on couch and working photographed by Alex Beattie. -All wallpaper photos (indigo dye and batik weave) courtesy of Love vs Design -Batik Matelasse napkins courtesy of Minted -All other photos were taken by me

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