Robin Bartell has found niche with graphic design and specialty shop
By Charlie Warner
“The retail shop is fun. I enjoy creating the designs. But my main focus is the graphic design and marketing end of my business,” said Spring Grove entrepreneur Robin Bartell.
Bartell, who has been a self-employed graphic artist and marketing specialist moved her business, Robin Bartell Designs, to South Division Avenue and added a retail clothing shop.
The new shop, “Ya Sure You Betcha! Shoppe’ offers all sorts of Spring Grove and Norwegian themed items. The T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, mugs, stoneware, pilsner glasses, bumper stickers, magnets, tote bags and more all include designs created by Bartell.
“This shop is full of gifts for Norskies and people who love them,” she explained.
Bartell is a seasoned graphic artist. She worked for The Caledonia Argus for 13 years before her first son Eliot came along. After the birth of her son, she worked in West Salem for about a year. When the second son of Shawn and Robin Bartell came along, she decided to find employment a little closer to home.
“When Emery arrived, I knew I couldn’t keep driving that far,” noted Bartell, who resides with her two sons and husband nine miles southwest of Spring Grove, just across the border in Iowa.
So she went to work for The Spring Grove Herald as a graphic artist.
In 2009, right at the depths of the Great Recession, Bartell decided to strike it out on her own. She left the weekly newspaper in Spring Grove and started up her own graphic design and marketing business.
A month after taking the “big plunge” and becoming self employed, Shawn was laid off from his job due to the drastic economic downturn.
Saying the timing wasn’t real good would be a major understatement, Bartell admitted. But Shawn was able to enroll in a federally-funded education program, became a stay-at-home “Mr. Mom” and Robin focused all her energies on making Robin Bartell Designs a success.
During the past three years Bartell Designs has added drastically to its client base. Bartell figures the majority of her business is right in the Spring Grove area. Although she has been picking up clients all over Houston County.
“It’s mainly in Southeast Minnesota,” Bartell said. “I’m filling a need for businesses that needed to improve their marketing. I take them through all the steps. I create new business logos, signs, business cards, stationery, staff T-shirts, caps. Whatever it takes to help them promote their business.”
Bartell also designs brochures and print and online advertising campaigns, does product photography and even web page design.
“On paper, I really didn’t think it would fly, especially when you consider WHEN I decided to do this. But the community has supported me and I’m very happy to be working for myself.”
The idea for the specialty clothing shop came last year when she was working with the Spring Grove Boosters Club and helping them offer Spring Grove High School apparel to athletes and supporters.
She got acquainted with the vendors, decided to start putting her own designs on clothing items and began selling them.
She opened “Ya Sure You Betcha! Shoppe” right before Spring Grove’s annual Norwegian Syttende Mai celebration this spring. The timing was perfect. She basically had a captive audience. And once they got in her store, many learned about all of the services Bartell offered.
For more information about Robin Bartell Designs, visit www.robinbartelldesigns.com
For questions about having her design a logo or custom apparel, contact her at 507-498-3796.