Delighting In A Playful Frog Brand With Entrepreneur Rainylune

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Rachel Reichenbach is an artist and entrepreneur, who launched a business based on her drawings of cute and chaotic frogs who like to commit crimes. She started her business Rainylune as a college student, and now sells her froggy merchandise both online and in stores and all over the world. She grew her business entirely through social media without the use of paid advertising, and strives to help other creatives do the same. Reichenbach has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, and Vox for her insight on using Instagram’s tools to grow her business. By posting her humorous frog drawings on social media, she has become one of Patreon’s featured creators, a member of Meta’s Small Business Leader’s Network, and has amassed a large online following of frog lovers. Her designs and products can be found in her online store (rainylune.com), Hot Topic, Attic Salt, and mom & pop shops across the globe.

Goldie Chan: Hello Rachel, thanks for being here with us. What has your career journey been?

Rachel Reichenbach: My career path has been a little unusual – I’ve never had a “real” corporate job! I started Rainylune while I was still in college as a small side hustle. I never knew it would end up becoming my whole career. My entire business actually began because of a school project in late 2018. I needed to program and create art for a little game, so I decided to make a frog catching falling raindrops. Except, I didn’t actually know how to draw a frog, so I just quickly drew what I thought a frog might look like. The resulting frog was so terrible looking that it was hilarious, and quickly became an inside joke with my friends. He was named “Son the Frog”, and later ended up becoming the main character of my business. But at the time, he was just a silly looking frog I drew occasionally.

In 2019, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition that causes chronic pain throughout the body. There’s no cure for it, only ways to mitigate the symptoms. The fibromyalgia caused pain throughout my body. My legs and feet would ache after standing in the kitchen for 15 minutes. My shoulders and neck would constantly hurt. And worst of all, my arms were in so much pain that I couldn’t even hold a pen to draw. It felt like my body was falling apart on me, at the ripe old age of 21. I was majoring in digital art, and I was devastated – how could I be an artist when I couldn’t even hold a pen? My career was over before it had even begun. Despite the pain I was in, I was still desperate to create art. I figured out that I could use my mouse to draw simple things, such as frogs, without pain. I began posting my frog doodles online, and started to grow a following on social media. With encouragement from my friends, I began designing frog themed products such as stickers and keychains to sell on Etsy. As my followers and sales continued to grow, I eventually began making more types of products, such as enamel pins, and was eventually able to launch my own online store.

My little side hustle truly took off in 2020, when I created a Kickstarter for a frog bag that went viral. In total, I raised over half a million dollars for these bags, and that was when I realized that I could potentially make Rainylune my full time job. Keeping up with my college coursework and my business was difficult, and I definitely couldn’t have done it without the help of my family. We ended up having 6,000 frog bags arrive at our home, and had boxes stacked from floor to ceiling in every corner of the house. My mom sat on the couch every night packing envelopes when she got home from work, my brother was always lifting heavy boxes for me, and my dad was making daily trips to the post office to drop off packages. None of us expected my silly little frog drawings to become such a big ordeal, and it was incredibly overwhelming for all of us. Thankfully, I managed to find a warehouse to pack and ship my orders for me, so now I can just focus on the art and business side of things.

I graduated from Arizona State University in 2021 while somehow miraculously maintaining straight A’s, and now work on Rainylune full time! It’s crazy how one poorly drawn frog managed to grow to this level. Chronic pain continues to be a part of my daily life, but I’m so lucky to have found a way to manage my pain while still doing what I love.

Chan: What has been your favorite project that you’ve created?

Reichenbach: My favorite project tends to change to whatever I am most currently excited to be working on, so it’s hard to say! But I think the project that holds the most importance to me will always be my frog bags. The bags are what caused my business to take off, and truly changed my life.

I was tired of so many bags not fitting my exact needs, so I designed three froggy bags to fit everything I needed. The first was a medium sized purse/backpack hybrid. I’m always carrying my water bottle around, so I designed it to have water bottle pockets, room for my tablet and sketchbook, and plenty of pockets. The second was a small bag perfect for grocery store runs, with a nice open back pocket that I can easily stuff my phone (or crumpled receipts) into. And lastly, a waterproof backpack with padded straps, so I could comfortably carry around my laptop. All three bags have a clear window in the front, so people can display pins or other items, without the fear of them falling off and getting lost! Not to mention a tiny knife keychain that comes with every bag, for your frog to commit crimes with. 🐸🔪

Chan: How would you describe your personal brand?

Reichenbach: Quirky, chaotic, authentic, and funny. I don’t really try to present myself in a certain way – my personality tends to seep through in everything I do, and I don’t think I could stop it if I tried! It’s super normalized nowadays to present only the best parts of your life online, but for me, pretending to be a perfect version of myself sounds like way too much work. I’m very honest and open with my followers about what’s happening in my life, good and bad. Whether it’s about my health, supply chain issues, or my boba tea addiction, I talk about it all with my followers! I think this authenticity has actually worked out really well for my business – the fact that people view me as a person instead of a brand has allowed me to create not just a following, but a community.

Chan: What’s your personal motto or tagline?

Reichenbach: “I want to make things that are bright, fun, and just a little bit weird.”

Whenever I’m facing a mental or artistic roadblock, it helps to remind myself of this goal. I want my creations to make people smile or laugh. And maybe even leave them a little bit confused. It can be hard to avoid getting caught up in the pressure to continually churn out content. Sometimes I just have to take a step back and remind myself why I’m doing this, and what I want people to feel when they see my work.

Chan: How have you grown your frog-focused Rainylune brand?

Reichenbach: My business definitely wouldn’t be where it is today without my amazing community supporting me! All of my business growth wouldn’t have been possible without them. My business started off really small – I used to print and cut out all my stickers myself, and sent all packages from my house. I would frequently post photos from my daily life, which showcased things like me with the buckets and buckets of pins that needed inspecting, or photos of my dog laying on a huge pile of packages.

My followers could see that I was a real person, not just a faceless company here to make money. People began to support me not just because they liked my art, but because they liked me as a person. It can be easy to forget that there is a human being behind every account, so I strived to be my most human self. I wasn’t just Rainylune the company, I wanted to be seen as Rachel – the ADHD college student who likes frogs, hates the smell of tuna, and has a silly sense of humor. Letting my followers see me as a person instead of a brand is what has allowed my business to grow into what it is today.

Chan: What are you currently working on?

Reichenbach: I’m always working on creating new designs and products! Seriously. There’s never a break. However, I’ve had to put a lot of bigger projects on hold recently because I’ve been working with stores like Hot Topic and Attic Salt to get my designs and products into their stores, which has required a lot of admin work. As much as I’d love to just draw frogs all day, answering emails and making spreadsheets is unfortunately a rather large part of my job. But working with these stores is a huge step for Rainylune, and I’m really excited to see my creations out in the wild!

Chan: What is your favorite part of your community?

Reichenbach: The best part of my community, called the Frog Cult, is how supportive and helpful everyone is! My little community has helped me through so much and I am so grateful to them. When I first moved to Arizona almost a year ago, I was super scared. I had never lived outside of the Bay Area before, but suddenly I was surrounded by cacti, snakes and scorpions, all kinds of scary stuff. My followers were so amazingly helpful, from everything to recommending good lotions to deal with the dry desert air, suggesting local food places to check out, to even warning me not to touch a specific plant because it is actually incredibly poisonous. Like, chemical burn level poisonous!

My community has also been there for my family and I when it comes to health issues. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer right when we moved to Arizona, and so many of my followers sent me advice from when they or a family member underwent chemo. A few people even sent her a care package! My followers have also helped me out a lot with my own health. Earlier this year I was feeling incredibly ill, and doctors couldn’t figure out what was causing it. I was super dizzy and could hardly walk. I’d visited multiple doctors and had blood tests done, but the results showed nothing abnormal. I had been talking about my symptoms online, and one of my followers reached out to me saying that she’d had the same experience a few months ago, and it turned out it was caused by a medication she was on. I was on that same medication. Once I stopped taking it, all my issues went away. None of the doctors I saw could figure out what was wrong with me, but this one girl who followed me and had the same experience was able to help me. My business wouldn’t be where it is today without the support of my wonderful fanbase!

Chan: What’s your last bit of branding advice for this year?

Reichenbach: Saying “just be yourself” sounds cheesy and cliché, but I can’t recommend it enough! So many people are out there trying to present a perfect version of themselves online. It’s nice and all, but it isn’t real. Being honest about your life and your personal struggles, making silly tweets, posting pictures of your dog – all of it adds up to make you who you are! It’s hard to connect with someone who appears so perfect that they don’t even seem human. Being an actual human being allows others to not only connect with you better, but is also what makes you stand out amongst so many others.



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