Maker: Cristina of The Heated

Cristina calls the Bay Area home, and its reflected in her product.  She has some super practical business advice, and the way that she has started her creative business can be an inspiration to anyone! Meet Cristina of The Heated, and check out her amazing creations!


Please introduce yourself.

Hello. My name is Cristina Espinosa and I’m an artist living in San Francisco, originally from Los Angeles. The bay area has been my home for the last 22 years and I love it.

What do you make or do?

The Heated is the name of my business. I’m a screen printer who specializes in dish towels. I create the majority of the designs but pull in special guest stars from time to time. There’s another idea I’ve been kicking around for a line of frame-able wire sculptures attached to paper. Stay tuned!

Where can we find your creations?

If you want to find a store near you that carries my dish towels, go here:

If you prefer to shop online:

For more information on The Heated:

Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?

Creativity is a critical necessity. My life without creativity would not be worth living. All of us have a story that we can’t help but express and I use art and music to tell mine. That being said, it’s a luxury too. To be able to sit in my living room and fill up notebooks with my doodles feels completely indulgent. I’m so lucky to do what I do for a living.

What obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?

My biggest obstacle to leading a creative life was my own fear. It never even occurred to me to pursue art as a way of life because I was afraid to go against the idea of what we’re all “supposed” to do (go to college, get a stable job, etc). So I focused on a career path I found dull and ended up bouncing from low-wage job to low-wage job after getting my degree, finally settling into a life of administrative assisting. It wasn’t until I worked for a screen printing company that I was able to see how art could make money.

Since I worked in the sales department, I didn’t even learn to screen print when I worked there. But I would argue that working the sales department gave me a far better education in the skills a person needs to run a business. There is still a part of me that doesn’t feel like an artist, but a sales representative who got lucky. I started The Heated when I was 32 without any sort of official artistic training, so it definitely took me years and years to take a chance on a creative life. I’m glad I hung in there and didn’t let my complete lack of experience stop me.

What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?

Make something you would want to own.

Take time off. You cannot see your business clearly if it’s all you do.

Steer the ship and accept that going off-course is not only a given, but often a blessing.

Eat three meals a day. Drink water. Get enough sleep. Take care of yourself.

Be realistic when creating deadlines. Be willing to adjust what’s important and be honest about how long things take (hint: often much longer than you think).

Do the task that makes you feel the most uncomfortable first.

Run profit/loss and cash flow reports. Be honest with yourself about money.

Keep pushing your artistic boundaries and interests. Make stuff for fun. Go see other art. Read about artists.

Test products out before you release them to stores. If something doesn’t sell, kill it. No mercy.

If you’re just starting out, don’t forget that we were all in your shoes at some point. Don’t apologize for your pricing. Get what you are worth. Pay attention to what people respond to and expand on it.

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  1. I love Cristina! I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with her during the several times we did Patchwork. And I love her advice, “Test products out before you release them to stores. If something doesn’t sell, kill it. No mercy.” So, so true. Sometimes there is little room for sentiment in a business.

  2. @genesis LOVE that business advice from Cristina and YOU…”sometimes there is little room for sentiment in a business”. I couldn’t agree more…we can get in our own way sometimes because we can’t give up/say no. But doing that keeps us from focusing on the things that do work for our business and keeps us in a negative space.
    Thanks for the comment!! -D

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