We are so excited to share our next edition of the ongoing series, “Planner-preneur”. Here, we share an inside look at people from our community that have poured all their creativity and inspiration into a “planner-related” entrepreneurial venture. This time we are talking to Ana Mazuera of @xo__fromana.
Ana has been in love with all things art since she was a child. In 2016, she discovered the planner community and has been merging her love of both ever since. She creates all types art inside her planner and has opened a sticker shop so others can decorate their planners with her art as well. Her signature character, ANi, is becoming a well-loved favorite and has been seen around the community in collabs and swag.
Here, Ana shares some of her journey with us and she is only just getting started:
Q: Do you think of yourself as more of an artist, a planner or both?
A: I am an artist first. Absolutely! Everyone says “I was drawing before I could walk”. My happy place was a corner behind my grandparent’s sofa with my papers and my crayons drawing and creating. In high school, I was always rushing to an art class and I spent all my free time working on projects, mixed media, acrylic painting and black and white photography. I have loved stationery all my life! Planning found me the summer of 2016. I was following a digital artist with her #planner and that hashtag lead me down the rabbit hold. It took about a month to gather my materials (a cheap lined journal, a pencil and some color pencils). I didn’t think it would amount to much but I wanted to try. I created @bujo_fromana and fell in love with the community. I decorated the pages of volumes 1 & 2 (I call my journals volumes) mostly with doodles from IG and Pinterest that inspired me.
Q: Can you tell us about the character ANi and why you created her?
A: Among the doodles in my volumes 1 & 2, you can see when and where ANi got her start. You can see how she went a little darker and I started developing her hair. But, it wasn’t until I found myself at a craft store with my girls (now 6 & 8 years old) looking for mermaids that “looked like us” as my little said, that ANi really came to be. We have big curly hair and we are proud of it but it wasn’t available at the store. I looked her in the eye and told her to pick something else or we could draw one at home. She grabbed my hand and said lets go! We drew ANi as she exists now, with freckles, big hair, short legs and the big lashes. The name came much later when I was ready to share her as a “product”. My mom has always called me Annie but I was worried I had see other characters with that name so my sister came up with the phonetic spelling “ANi”
Q: Can you tell us about “Coffee Break” and some of the other content you have been working on or sharing?
A: After studying sociology in college, I was left with a lot of questions about community and people in general. At first, I got the idea to create a “show” where I would interview planner moms with different age children and ask them the same five questions. I started with friends and then branched out to the community. I still have a few unaired episodes so it will be back on YouTube in the future. Then “Coffee Break”, one of a million ideas from my planner bestie Shaniece from @thesleeplessplanner, got started. Although we have never met in real life, we have spoken virtually everyday for the past year and half. One day, we thought maybe the people that follow us would think it was fun to join our conversations. So we filmed an intro and today we filmed episode ten – it’s crazy! People can tune in on Instagram on Thursdays at 12pm EST, watch for an hour, chime in the chat or watch the replay on YouTube. They listen to our chat and watch what ever artsy thing came to mind that week. I am also part of an amazing mixed media journal challenge, called #take5art, (with Shaniece) that includes twelve ladies from all around the world. We all use the same five prompts, create and share our process video at the same time on the last day of each month. It is an amazing creative workout! I love it and I am so proud to be a part of it.
Q: You have a Patreon as well, can you tell us about some of the things you are doing with it?
A: Patreon (oh boy) is only in the crawling stages. So, there is a little bit of everything in there. I have six tiers ranging from $1 – $20. I try to film and share daily little updates for lens (like IG stories minus the handsfree and filter features). I share journal sneak peaks, the current ANi that I am working on and I like to post surprise printables as well. There is a bi-weekly podcast tier, a cute Besties flat mail and I have recently added the monthly sub kit.
Q: What are you excited about creating right now? Are there any new collabs coming soon?
A: I recently decided to join the weekly planner kit craze. It took me a while to offer kits because I love stickers but I also LOVE watercoloring in my hobo weeks. After I had enough people ask how do you do that and would you sell it. I decided to figured it out and now I have a few kits for sale in the shop. From there, the monthly sub kit idea came about and that’s my current priority. I am always open to collaborating and I am always joking with friends about ANi needing friends. I was so honored and encouraged after the success of the Teenie TN that I created for The 1407 Planners. That was so cool! I have a few secret projects for 2020 that I can’t share right now but I’m busting at the seams! And I promise to share as soon as I can.
Q: For 2019, you have shared that “getting out” was a goal. What has it been like interacting with the planner community and would you like to continue doing more in 2020? Perhaps, even teach a workshop?
A: I made “grow” my word of the year for 2019. As in, grow my company, my skill set and my community. I interact with hundreds of people everyday through a screen. Last year, I was so upset with myself because I felt stuck in my own rules so I bought a ticket for the NYCPAS Masquerade event. Even though I felt awkward and scared, I was there and I had a great time and made so many real life friends. I didn’t let my social anxiety keep me home so I rewarded myself with a few more events, like 1407 PlannerJam in Ohio and the SPC Planner Party in Texas. It’s been amazing meeting people that not only recognize me but ANi as well. I have a few planner events already lined up for 2020 including the Chicago Planner Conference in February, which will be amazing! ANi will be at more events than me because I will continue sponsoring swag for the community. I think I would loose my mind if anyone ever asked me to do a workshop. But if it makes sense, I would totally be honored to give it a go!