On a fateful day in San Diego, California, two strangers who met via Instagram for their shared passion in hand-lettering, met up in person. After chatting about their passion for hand-lettering over wine and cheese, the artists Roxie Prima and Phoebe Cornog soon became friends and then business partners. Now, after six years of meeting, they run a business in which they paint murals.
The pair of artists own a custom mural business called Pandr Co. It was founded based on Prima and Cornog’s goal to paint a mural together. “It just felt very exciting and a lot larger than life then a computer screen,” says Cornog. After the creation of their first mural and posting it on social media, another business quickly reached out. And as Cornog puts it, “it just spiraled from there.”
With clients such as, SweetGreen, Vans, Red Bull, Target, Bumble, Visa, Kenneth Cole, and many more, it is no surprise these entrepreneurs are a successful power-duo. Their popularity, success, and hard work has even led them to write their book Wonder Walls and be on the Netflix show Pet Stars together.
Aside from their impressive clients and resume, Prima and Cornog knew that the secret of growing their business relied on the use of social media. Prima explains that “[social media] is just so approachable and digestible and people can get to know our personalities. Our personalities are definitely a big part of our brand. We love having fun, we love bright colors, we love talking to everybody. So social media gives us the opportunity to do that.”
With their large social media presence, it is easy for fans and potential clients to see what their business is all about.
The goal of Pandr Co. is to create customized murals for other businesses. The purpose of the custom murals are to bring color and character to clients’ businesses and spaces. Cornog emphasizes, “It’s not about our vision, but what’s best for the client.” Prima and Cornog create murals for offices, outdoor retail spaces, community spaces, and in residential areas.
Though the process for planning and creating the murals are fun and fulfilling, their projects can be challenging. They work in so many different environments with new designs and unique obstacles that no job is the same – nor simple.
One time, they even made a piece that was made almost entirely of pushpins. They used pushpins to create the lettering in the mural for a co-working space. Though the end result was really great, working with that medium was extremely hard. “It was like 10,000 pushpins!” noted Prima. Cornog added, “You don’t think about actually having to put them in with your human hands… Oh my God, our fingers hurt so badly!”
Luckily, the artists are able to find a balance between their artistic and physical limits. Cornog explains that sometimes “[they] definitely do crave the screen time again because it is so much manual labor, so it’s kinda like the grass is always greener.” Prima and Cornog are able to achieve this balance in their business with the other services they offer. They offer branding services and live engagements.
Their idea for live engagements stems from their very first meeting. Over wine and cheese, they discussed organizing a meet-up group for hand-lettering. Prima and Cornog have always valued collaboration and community amongst artists.
In the live engagement portion of their business, Prima and Cornog have been able to host workshop events that stimulate creativity and community. These types of workshops include hand-lettering workshops, business webinars, and mural workshops. Though their events are a staple in their business, these engagements look a little different now due to the pandemic. In addition to their workshops and webinars, Prima and Cornog offer talks as a service in Pandr Co. They have spoken at over 25 events and even have their own TedTalk.
The main topic in their talks revolves around the “starving artist” stigma that Prima and Cornog have both faced. “People love art but they don’t want to pay for it and don’t think it deserves to be paid for so that translates to artists feeling that they don’t deserve to get paid and it’s really deeply ingrained,” explains Prima. However, they had to understand early on that their talents are valuable and worth the cost. “When Phoebe and I started our business, we had to rewire our brains and mindset when it comes to money and actually running a business,” says Prima.
After several years of running their business, Prima and Cornog beat the stereotype and now both make six figures. In fact, Prima noted “And we’re continuing to grow. We just booked our six figure mural job.We thought these things weren’t possible, and during the pandemic!”
Not only are Prima and Cornog overcoming the starving artist stigma, but they are using their voices to educate others to beat it as well. “We’re really passionate about educating other creatives that you shouldn’t settle. You shouldn’t sacrifice your needs or your values to just be like I love what I’m doing, so I’ll just do it for free. That’s not how it works and that’s not okay with us. So we’re just trying to educate all the other artists out there,” Prima elaborates.
For more information on Roxie Prima and Phoebe Cornog, visit their website at https://www.pandrdesignco.com