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A music industry executive leaves LA and builds a natural crayon & candle business in rural Spain



CLARA INFANTE
Owner & Operator of Copito
Garraf, Spain


I’m excited to invite you to my conversation with Clara Infante. She is an artist, maker, marketing professional and mother to three young boys. After the birth of her first son, Clara and her husband left Los Angeles and moved back to her home country of Spain.



Clara was born in Barcelona, to a Spanish father and French mother, but her family moved to Miami when she was 6. She grew up speaking Spanish, Catalan, French, and English. Although she appreciated the beautiful beaches and weather, Clara never felt like she fit in in Miami.


Clara didn't thrive in a school environment and decided to leave high school and not go to college. A lover of music, she opted to take a job working in a night club and managing their social media presence. She began her job at the infancy of social media and learned quickly how powerful Myspace was to build community and expand audience reach for musical artists. She quickly became the liaison for all musicians that played at the venue and pitched her social media management services to bands when she would drive them to the club from the airport. Eventually she was able to move to Los Angeles and became a founding member of an agency representing artists' presence online. While working as a marketing director for a record label, she met her husband, British musician SOHN. It was an instant connection and they very quickly were married and expecting their first baby.


Soon after her son arrived, Clara started thinking about making a major life shift. Her previous lifestyle didn't really fit with being a mom and so she decided to leave her corporate job at Sony. Her and her partner wanted to plant permanent roots somewhere but the cost of real estate in Los Angeles was out of reach and they weren't sure if they wanted to raise kids there.


On somewhat of a whim, she suggested they move to Spain. Clara's father owned a family home that sat empty in the Pyrenees mountains. They decided to stay there for a bit, but it was so far away from everything, and it felt impractical. They packed up and moved to Barcelona but they only stayed in the city for a year. It was hard to make friends in the bustling city and they longed for the slower pace and quiet of the countryside.



While touring rural real estate listings online, Clara stumbled upon her perfect affordable "Los Angeles style" home in the coastal mountains of Spain. The house was an architectural gem - a one-of-a-kind midcentury style eco home - built almost entirely off-grid from local materials. They moved in only 10 days before the delivery date of their second son.


Moving to the countryside awakened Clara's creative side. She realized that being a mom wasn't enough to fill her cup. She knew she didn’t want to work in music anymore - and now she had the financial safety net of her husband's job to be able explore her passions. Clara is candid about the privilege she was afforded that gave her space to explore and experiment. That sense of stability and freedom is what allowed her to open up to her creative side, without initially feeling the pressure to earn an income from it.


She started off reselling her children’s used clothes online, and honed her skills as a photographer. She then became interested natural dyeing, and started doing that as well, posting her process online. She learned that she thrives off of feedback in her work and that, in turn, helped her gain exposure along the way.


One day she experimented making some botanical crayons for her kids and documented the process. Her community loved the crayons and she decided to offer a pre-sale on her website to see if there was any interest. The pandemic had just hit and all of her husband's tour dates and gigs had been canceled so they were worried about how they would continue to pay bills without his income coming in. The pre-sale crayons sold out in less than a minute and they realized these crayons might be able to keep them afloat financially while her husband was furloughed. Clara's business grew quickly, offering beautiful hand-made crayons and sculptural candles. She will often go on little adventures in her landscape to gather plant and earth materials to use as natural pigments and dyes in her products. Each creation is as much a piece of her as it is the landscape she calls home.


Social media has been a great tool for her Clara to build her business while living outside of an urban center. It has allowed her to connect with other creatives and sell her work globally. Clara feels really lucky to have a background in social media. She emphasizes that, as an artist, you have to be as good at marketing as you are at your craft in order to succeed. In our conversation, she stresses the importance of documenting your process and making images and videos a habitual part of your routine.



We speak about creative process, imposter syndrome, marketing advice for artists, how Clara built two successful careers as a high-school dropout, the joys and difficulties of living in an eco-house, moving to the country (in a new country), and how to make a marriage work as a creative couple. In addition, she speaks about what it was like for her to reclaim her individual identity after becoming a mother, and how that experience has shaped her as a person and an artist.


This is a story about transition, the endless creative pursuit, the importance of filling your cup, and a real talk fairytale of leaving LA for rural Spain.

LINKS
COPITO Online Shop
Clara's Spanish Vogue Feature
Instagram
Clara's Husband's Music: SOHN