August 17, 2019


One Saturday evening I found myself aimlessly scrolling through Etsy when Spotify put on Ari's 2019 hit single "7 Rings.' 

I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it (yeah) – I hummed. 

This prompted me to type Ariana Grande into Etsy search bar and my laptop screen got flooded by countless images of the pop queen. One of them stood out right away and lead me into the Gotchilnk art shop. The shop is the brainchild of Ariel Gotchi, a 24 year old artist hailing from sunny LA who makes digital art of iconic characters for stickers and prints. I reached out to Ariel and by Sunday evening we were nailing down the details of our Smartbite Snacks x GotchiInk collaboration. 

We brought everything full circle by doing the interview and chatted about everything from her childhood to finding her calling, what her fave snack is, and what’s to come for her brand, GotchiInk.



Digital art on iPad or pen and marker

Breakfast order: 
Coffee... just coffee! 

Zodiac sign: 

Fave neighborhood:  
Art districts

Most inspirational city: 
Seville, Spain



  • Morning, noon or night?

Night owl

  • What makes your smile?


  • If you could trade lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?

Barack Obama because who knows what he’s up to these days. He’s likely the most mysterious celeb right now so I want to be in on his secrets. 

  • What is your favorite song?

Crazy by Gnarls Barkley

  • What is the last thing you liked on social media?

I’m always liking art on Instagram. I follow mostly artist so my feed is filled with talented artists and inspirational works from around the world.



First, who is Ariel and what is her background?
Ariel is a little artist from California, USA. I grew up loving art and being crafty in the suburbs. For high school I attended an art high school where I realized my true passion was visual arts. I studied psychology in college and even got a professional job in psychology when I graduated. Though things looked great on paper, I somehow wasn’t happy. I realized that I wanted to be an artist, though some see that as an impossible goal.

I left my career job and started working for myself. It’s been a year since I left my job and in that time I grew as an artist and opened my Etsy shop. My art has been shipped all over the world to my customers who make my day everyday. I love what I do and hope to grow and continue to live my passion and make others happy with the works I share with them.

When did you first start drawing? Did you have anyone in your family that was into drawing? What originally drew you to it?
I always loved drawing and art, though no one is my family was an artist. As a child, I really admired coloring books. As strange as this sounds, in the late 90’s many coloring books had 1940’s style illustrations. I wanted to collect them all, hunting down the cutest designs in the stores.

Have you ever experienced “creative block?” If so, what are some strategies you’ve used to overcome it?
I try not to tell myself I have art block, but if I’m feeling stuck I go through Tumblr or Instagram feeds. Also switching mediums helps, so if I feel I can’t draw one day, I’ll make a collage with magazine photos. 

Who are some of the artists who inspire you?
Leigh Ellexson, 0073_uv, Chelsea Gracei and many many more.

What does a typical day looks like for you?
A typical day for me involves waking up at 11, printing and packing orders, some social media marketing, taking product photos, gardening, then drawing all while watching art and business tutorials or spending time with family. I rotate through all my tasks until about 2 am, night owl.

We really enjoyed watching The Drawing Challenge: Cartoons from Memory you did with Audrey. What was filming that challenge like and do you plan on returning to YouTube again?
That video was a lot of fun because my friend Audrey was apart of it. We laughed through the entire thing, which is what life is all about to me. I have plans to return to YouTube to share tips and tricks about opening a shop and being an artist. Once I’m satisfied with my shop, I’ll be back to a monitor near you. 

What is your favorite snack to get over a 3:00 PM slum?
I love flavored popcorn, always my go to.

You started your very first Instagram post by mentioning the 365 Day Art Challenge. Why did you decide to pursue it and how did it impact your life?
I had put art on hold while going to college and working full time. Once I decided I wanted to focus on art again, I took on the challenge to motivate myself to not give up. I’m so glad I started that way because if I ever had a “bad” art day, I knew I would likely create something I liked more tomorrow. Flash forward to a year later I can look back at all my art and see the growth to remind myself that I’m going to improve and improve if I continue to practice everyday.

What do you have in store for 2019?
For the rest of the year I plan to create more products, finishing up my online shop, and just continue to learn and grow. 

Finally, because Smartbite Collective is all about inspiring creators that are not afraid to put themselves out there, do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
My advice to artist and everyone is to treat what you love as a passion and a science. We all remember to create subjects that make us happy, but what we sometimes forget is to never stop learning. Watch tutorials, listen to other inspiring people, apply yourself and challenge yourself. Never doubt yourself, you are no different than the person you admire.

You can follow Ariel's inspiring and bright artsy life on Instagram and support her passion through her Etsy art shop GotchiInk


WHAT IS SMARTBITE COLLECTIVE? Smartbite Collective shines a spotlight on changemakers in our community that live according to Smartbite principles. We started Smartbite Snacks because we want to live our lives on our own terms while creating a positive change around us. We don't wait for things to happen, we get up and happen to things. Roadblocks don't discourage us, they fuel us. We believe that life is what you make it, how you impact it and also how you look at it – rice cakes are just rice but wine is just grapes. To us simplicity, boldness, kindness and giving a shit (yes, we said it) are everything and when we meet someone who embodies all of the above, you bet we'll ask tons of questions. 

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February 28, 2020

Little story time: When we were looking for a graphic designer to join our tiny but mighty team last year, Kayla’s application was the very last one that made it into our inbox. After going through all 319 resumes and after picking a couple of hot candidates, we decided to click on Kayla’s email at last and we are so glad we did. 

Who is Kayla? The short answer: a Vancouver based graphic designer who is behind the majority of Smartbite Snacks promo designs and who is about to start working on our US product packaging. 

To give you the long answer, we caught up with Kayla one rainy Saturday morning at our favourite local cafe DALINA to talk about her creative process, drawing inspiration from her life, and her advice to aspiring creatives in an ever-changing digital world.

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Empowered Women Empower (And Inspire) Women: Meet Mandy Tan
Empowered Women Empower (And Inspire) Women: Meet Mandy Tan

January 28, 2020

When you add more women to any equation, there is always a return on equality.
At Smartbite Snacks we believe that a woman alone has power while collectively women have impact. Raising each other up and channeling the power of collaboration is truly how we’ll change the equation. 

That’s why when Mandy from Women in Leadership reached out to us with the sponsorship opportunity, we quickly jumped on board. Women in Leadership (WIL) is a student organization where women are the majority, but men feel welcome and comfortable. WIL serves undergraduate and graduate students at the Schulich School of Business and focuses on enhancing the understanding and appreciation of women's role in business, while assisting members in reaching success in their chosen field.

We talked to Mandy about everything from the first woman she looked up to, her number one favourite place on Earth to how she practice being brave and manages doubt. 

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V in Travelling is for Vegan: Meet the Inspiring Couple Behind The Veganary
V in Travelling is for Vegan: Meet the Inspiring Couple Behind The Veganary

December 01, 2019

Travelling the world has never been easier. Cheaper flights, wallet friendly accommodations and more countries that opened up their borders for curious wanderlusts. Yet, for some who want to see the world there's still one stumbling block that leaves them hesitant about seeing the world – their diet. If you ever fretted about travelling the world as a plant based eater, then rejoice dear plant/animal/planet loving friend because we have a perfect solution for you. If your passport and _____ (insert your fave vegan snack, dish or a restaurant) had a baby, it would be The Veganary, your next vegan BFF. The Veganary’s mission is to empower both vegans and aspiring vegans to live their travel dreams to the fullest while meeting like-minded people along the way. We were curious about how this amazing project started and we desperately wanted to meet the humans behind it. So we invited them for a brunch at our fave vegan café (shout out to Olive + Ruby) and it instantly felt like meeting old friends. 

Get to know Natan and Shani and learn more about The Veganary, below!

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