WOODSTOCK,Va - A Woodstock woman, with the help and support of her small town, is becoming a household name across the country.
In 2007, Rachel Canada started drawing oil paintings of dogs. She grew up loving art and animals, and could think of no other way she'd want to spend her free time.
"It made sense to draw dogs because I live with them. I love them. They're a core part of my daily life. I like looking at how they are put together. I love that there are so many different breeds, there are tiny little Chihuahuas all the way up to Great Danes," Canada says.
Years later Rachel drew a holiday card design for herself to use, but would soon find out that her designs would be seen by far more than just her close family and friends. The response to her first card design was explosive.
"Everybody can identify wth a dog, weather they have a dog or not it doesn't always matter, they can look at a card and say, well Susie has a pug," she says.
Rachel took a gamble, left behind a steady paycheck and decided to dedicate herself to her artwork. In May of 2017, she gathered her samples and attended the national stationary show in Manhattan. Rachel's risk ended with reward. She attracted multiple buyers, who were ready to get her designs in stores.
"I realized what exactly it was we were talking about and the scale of it, it was really thrilling," she says.
Rachel was soon fulfilling a first order of three thousand cards , and the second of 36 thousand.
Rachel's card collection features over 100 breeds of dogs, and what she's most excited about is that these cards are being seen at various stores across the country.
"Friends have been sending pictures and posting pictures on Facebook that have my cards like in New Hampshire, out west , in Texas. It was fun to see.Its fun to see them in the shops and in the displays," she says.
Rachel's cards and stationary featuring her dog designs are stocked in local stores as well as Home Goods and Marshalls. She says she's glad she followed her dreams.
"That cliche of do what you love is true, whatever you find yourself waking about and going to bed thinking about, that is your thing," she says.
And Canada also signed a deal with a large national company for her dog images to appear on home furnishing products.