Karmabee was founded in 2007 by Karen Berelowitz. Born in South Africa, Karen traveled extensively and lived in California, Costa Rica, and Washington DC before settling in the Hudson Valley, NY.
I’ve always doodled. In school my notes were buried between expanding margins of faces & shapes, and throughout 12 years of International Development work in Washington DC, my notepads were covered with spirals & eyeballs.
In 2007 I went to work at The Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY, and found that when my brain was distracted by wacky esoteric discussions, my drawings got more inspired. A friend gave me a set of make-your-own postcards, and when many people commented on them, I ventured into a local arts fair, and began printing my designs on notecards and baby clothes.
I developed my small art business over the next few years, selling at crafts fairs, on Etsy.com, and at regional stores. In 2011, I opened my own studio and store in the historic waterfront Rondout district of Kingston, NY, where I also sold handmade items by three dozen local artists and crafters. In 2016 I closed the store but continue to operate Karmabee from my home studio, selling the weekly farmers market, online, and at stores. I also teach Business 101 for Artists & Makers classes, license my drawings, and create custom logos and designs.
Bio: Karen Berelowitz doodled through three decades of school and an international development career before launching her own business, Karmabee, in 2007. Since 2016, she has also been Producer & Studio Manager for Blauweiss Media, a small independent film company focusing on artist profiles, documentaries, photographic exhibitions, and books about community history and the arts. She and her partner Stephen Blauweiss published a book in 2018 and are currently working on a second one.
Karen has a masters degree in International Development, and was previously a manager at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, co-director of the DC-based Riecken Foundation building libraries in Central America, a consultant at the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, and a volunteer English teacher in a small village in Costa Rica.
She is currently on the board of the Business Alliance of Kingston and heads the Made in Kingston committee.
Mission: The mission of Karmabee is to bring joy to children and adults through unique drawings, and to build a sustainable small business that promotes localism, creativity and quality, provides friendly and thoughtful service, and cares for the community and planet.
What does Karmabee mean? The name Karmabee is a combination of my name and my sister’s, and our last name (Kar+Ma+Bee). Conveniently, I believe in karma, and bees are industrious and community-oriented producers of something sweet!