We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Rubin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I really built up slowly into starting out on my own. For several years, I would spend all my time after work building my own side business. Jumping on any freelance opportunities I could find to build a client base – as well as entering lots of art shows and trying to promote myself as an artist and create a portfolio closer to what I really wanted to be making. And when I was finally comfortable, I made the leap to full-time freelance as well as launching Not Cool Co simultaneously. I wanted to start my own business in addition to my freelance work because it is truly what I enjoy making the most. I wanted to create an outlet where I could make all the kinds of things I would normally buy myself!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve had a pretty unexpected path to get to where I am now. After graduating from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, I had a number of very fun and interesting jobs- designing exhibits for a science museum, working for a sports news tv station as well as working for the Houston Astros for a few years. However, after hours I was always taking more freelance work, entering local art shows and trying to establish a business for myself. After several years, I finally made the jump into full-time freelance, and launched Not Cool Co, my big creative outlet. Not Cool Co is largely a tribute to all the great things I love in pop culture. I’ve always been a big nerd – I love to read, watch movies and tv, play video games etc and it’s been a lot of fun getting to travel around to different conventions and share my artwork with people who love the same things I do. Obviously this year has been very different though; recently I’ve been taking part in more gallery shows, building my online store and working on making more original art. I think what sets myself apart from others is my attention to detail. I love adding lots of tiny details for people to zoom in on. Things you might not notice right away but when you look at it longer you catch the inside joke or the Easter Egg.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m going to answer this pretending there’s no pandemic – Houston has a ton of amazing restaurants and I’ve been missing them lately! Roost is a really amazing hidden gem in Montrose. They change their menu all the time but every single thing I’ve eaten there is amazing so you’ll never be disappointed. Nearby is also La Guadalupana Bakery and Cafe that has *the best* cofee in town. I love taking people to try Dim Sum in Houston, Fung’s Kitchen is a favorite of mine. If you can get in, Crawfish and Noodles never disappoints and I have to shout out Fat Bao, I eat there almost every week.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give a shout out to my family – especially my Brother, my Mom and my Dad who have always been a huge support to me. My partner, who has really helped me learn a lot about business, always encourages me and inspires me to work harder every day. And to my Master of 1 Podcast Family who always keep me motivated and push me to be better.
Other: Portfolio: https://laurenrubin.myportfolio.com/ Podcast: https://www.mof1.network/
ShoutOutHTX-NotCoolCo-3: Photo credit, Dan Smiley. Models: Cecilia Tripp and Hillary Phillips