Sugarbones: Hamilton Artist Making $20,000 Selling Pop Culture Pins
Cheyenne Federicone is the CEO of Sugarbones
The Sugarbones art style is pastel-coloured and sweet, with characters resembling My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake. But, on closer inspection, you’ll find that the characters have intriguing designs and messages. Like a fantasy siren luring sailors to their doom, the stickers and pins are sweet, seemingly innocent concepts with darker themes made apparent once you look past the lovable enchantments. Even the name ‘Sugarbones’ is allusive to her cheeky designs. Take a look for yourself here.
Federicone’s website greets you with a “Cute Things Are Coming” mailing list call to action and then quickly follows through to the items for sale. These items include a Medusa figurine sitting on a man-made stone, a pretty deadly comb that looks like a Swiss Army knife and a “Hell is a Teenage Girl” enamel pin. There are also Midsummer pins and Morticia Addams stickers.
Sugarbones began designing and selling stickers after she graduated from McMaster University’s Fine Arts Program in 2014. Then, before setting up her art business, she worked as a barista and discovered she made more at Sugarbones than in her day job. She’d spend time at her job, doodling ideas for the business, and then when she came home, she’d be so tired she could barely get anything done.
The artist admittedly goes for a cute and edgy style that uses feminine colours with darkly humorous punchlines dripping black comedy and sugar simultaneously. She has been selling her work full-time for six years and when asked how much she makes in a good month, she revealed she can earn between $15,000 to $20,000. And that’s just the profit.
To make such an impressive amount, Federicone offers customers a subscription service, a pin club as well as her online store. She has also attributed much of her success to social media before it was overwhelming and over-populated. Living in Hamilton, an art city, also made it easier for her to break out as an artist. She benefitted from the monthly Art Crawl, where she could set up a booth anywhere and start selling her art. It was great for her when she began building her audience locally. And as a result, Sugarbones is now living her best life as an artistic entrepreneur.