Rachael Robichaux has been painting since she can remember.
The 39-year-old from New Iberia has art and creativity in her blood, with a photographer for a father and other family crafters.
She continued her art into adulthood but did not consider her work to be good enough to sell. Despite this, she thought she would give it a try and open an online shop through the Etsy website. She named it Cajun Trinkets in honor of her Acadiana upbringing and the diversity of her work.
“It was pretty much everything from jewelry to paintings to keychains,” Robichaux said. “That’s why I call it ‘jewelry’.”
The jewelry umbrella allows her to try new techniques and art forms. She has recently started making things with resin and epoxy and is excited to see where this takes her.
From artist to entrepreneur
Robichaux set up her Etsy shop before the pandemic, and when COVID-19 sent everyone home for extended periods, she put that time and effort into her art and shop. Items started selling.
“I have painted all my life; I’ve always loved it, but I never thought I’d be good enough to sell it,” she said. “Then I sold and I was like, ‘Wow, maybe I can do it.'”
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So she keeps at it, making glittery Mardi Gras earrings and painting the facades of customers’ houses. These are among her top sellers and favorite projects, along with LSU and New Orleans Saints themed items.
Custom House Paintings combine their love of painting old buildings (like Saint Peter’s Catholic Church in downtown New Iberia) with the ability to capture something special for their clients.
They take a picture of the front of their house, and Robichaux captures the memory in color. One of her recent clients commissioned a painting of her parents’ home for them to remember when they move.
“It’s something special for the people,” she said. “You can give it away.”
life outside of art
When she is not making art, she is a mother to her three children aged 18, 14 and 11 and paints less creatively. They are currently remodeling their house.
She also cares for her mother and participates in local arts and crafts shows.
“My schedule is definitely full all the time,” she said.
Robichaux involves her children. Her eldest son gains hands-on experience in bookkeeping by helping her balance her company’s books, and Robichaux hopes her daughter will one day take over art production.
“She’s 11 and is doing better than me at her age,” Robichaux said. “I tell her, ‘This will be yours someday.’
In the meantime, Robichaux will continue to create. This time she’s working on an entry for the World Cup Gumbo CookOff poster contest.
“This is my special project at the moment,” she said.
Robichaux’s Cajun trinkets are available to buy on Etsy and Facebook, as well as in person at Bird on the Bayou, a store on New Iberia’s Main Street.
Contact Leigh Guidry, Children’s Issues Reporter, at Lguidry@theadvertiser.com or on Twitter @LeighGGuidry.