Decades ago, Wisconsin was home to a vintage shop named Juju and Moxie, which specialized in flapper attire.
“I always thought the name was so cool,” says Rachel Rausch who is from Wisconsin but now lives in Tucson.
The shop eventually went out of business, but its name stuck in Rausch’s mind — eventually leading her to start her own brand under the same name
“When I started looking into it, ‘juju’ means luck,” she says. “It’s usually known as ‘bad juju,’ but ‘juju’ can be bad or it can be good.
“‘Moxie’ is your energy,” she says. “In my feeling with creativity and life in general, luck and energy go hand in hand, almost in an infinity loop.”
Around 2016, Tucson’s own Juju and Moxie was born — but not selling flapper dresses. Instead, Rausch calls it a boutique brand, creating everything from paper goods such as postcards, prints and stickers, to earrings, pins and ornaments.
Most of Rausch’s designs are digital — sometimes starting as sketches in notebooks, but eventually going into programs such as Procreate and Illustrator. But items such as her earrings and ornaments are more hands-on for her — her earrings are made with resin and her ornaments are made out of acrylic.
Some of her products are Tucson-themed, such as earrings with images of prickly pear, or prints that show off iconic Old Pueblo spots such as Hotel Congress or Italian restaurant Caruso’s.
“My creativity is in full mode all the time,” she says.
Rausch started Juju and Moxie after working as a sign artist for Trader Joe’s for five years.
“While I love lettering, there’s a part of me that loves working with materials in my hands and I didn’t get that with the 2D version of laying paints on boards,” she says.
“(Juju and Moxie) went from a hobby to just trying one show to five more shows to getting agreements with shops in town to getting online sales.”
Rausch says she’s always been creative, though she wouldn’t say she was always artistic.
“I had a fourth grade art teacher — from fourth grade until I graduated high school — and she never supported me and never thought what I did was that great,” she says. “I bounced around in college and tried different majors and nothing had anything to do with anything artsy. But I had kids and I was like, ‘Now or never.’ If you think you can do it, just start doing it.
Rausch doesn’t have any formal training when it comes to art, but she says: “I have many, many hours put in of working through the process of trying to get better.”
“Creativity is great, but repetition over and over will get you places.”
As for what inspires her art, Rausch says: “I wouldn’t be a Tucson artist if I didn’t say the desert.”
“The desert’s ever-changing palette throughout seasons and the time of day is just amazing,” she says. “I like really bold, bright, vivid colors and I love living in Tucson because of that.”