Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in a nutshell (well, a blog)

As we reach the last day of 2013, I finally have a minute to breathe and catch up on my blog. It has been an amazing 4th quarter to the year, but that comes with a lack of time and a lack of blog updates. I have had an amazing year, and that is due to the spectacular amount of support that I have received from each and every person that follows my business. 

To everyone, from my closest family and friends to the person who 'liked' my facebook page on a whim - I cannot Thank You enough for the beautiful support you have offered to me and my little growing business. 

As I look back on this year, I can't help but smile thinking that the start of my year was something special in itself. I had my first 3 public celebrity shout-outs - which is always amazingly fun and flattering! Kaley Cuoco was the first, followed by Crystal Hefner and a 3rd beautiful note from Beth and Howard Stern after I painted their sweet little Bulldog, Bianca, who they lost in 2012.

The year went on to some amazing fundraisers, which included a massive online fundraiser for Villalobos Pit Bull Rescue - which is featured on Animal Planet's Pit Bulls and Parolees. During our 30 day fundraiser, we were able to raise $2100 for the pups at Villalobos, not a small feat and certainly the largest donation check I have ever written to one rescue at one time. Running this fundraiser in April was the start of our featured rescue program, where we work together with one special rescue each month to promote their pets. (We do have to space them out a bit to get design-work done, but we run at least 6 of these fundraisers a year now!).

In October, I featured a huge blog project, which had tens of thousands of web hits and shares, where I met and fell in love with 100 random pit bull type dogs. This blog was special because it showcased the amazing spirit of dogs in general, while sharing how loving and special pit bull type dogs are. I have received dozens of responses to this blog, sharing fears of those 'bully breeds' and how my blog touched people and helped them open their eyes. 

We fostered 20 cats and kittens throughout the year, sadly we lost 4 kittens due to illness, but we saved the lives of 16 tiny little animals, something that is so completely priceless. 

The Pet Studio doubled our sales from 2012 - a feat that required work, but one that proved this was the right choice. Each time we double our sales, we nearly double the amount of donations we can send out, so seeing this business grow is amazing in so many ways!

I got in a public dispute with PETA, the world's largest animal related organization that has a negative record of helping animals. As I called them out on their lack of life-saving solutions for companion animals, they argued that these animals needed to die, which only resulted in more positive energy for No Kill, which I fully support. You can check out my twitter feed to read more about this non-debate and also Google true PETA stats - you will be shocked and saddened, yet motivated to help local rescues that truly care.

I photographed (literally) hundreds of cats and kittens at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter, which resulted in increased adoptions for our shelter and emails from shelters across the country asking how they can improve their adoption photos! 

I joined the Texas Farmer's Market association in July, which resulted in space to share my work on a weekly basis right here in my own city (Austin, TX). The new clients, the new friends and all of the adorable pups I met at these markets are just amazing people and I appreciate each and every one of them!

Paintings by Pet Studio Art have traveled the country - this year, I had pieces hanging in 7 different states at shows and high-end fundraisers. Each of these pieces was specially designed and sent as a tribute to shelter dogs to help raise awareness about their beauty.

Most of all, this year has been a roller coaster that seems to get better and faster! I am having a blast, I am enjoying the travel, the new shows and of course all of the amazing people I am meeting along the way! I can't wait to see what 2014 brings and where we will be at this time next year!

Thank you again for all of the support!!

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

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