I forgot I was an artist for years, and finally reclaimed it after I became a mother. I make work and am a creative instigator at Carve Out Time for Art (with Heather Kirtland) to encourage other people to prioritize their own art-making too.
What inspired you to start your business?
I was unfufilled in my professional career and after trying very hard to make shifts, realized I had to find my fulfillment outside of the interior design industry. Additionally, I needed extra income to pay for medical bills when my son had some health scares, and doing art on the side was leading to opportunities. However, everything became too much, and one day I passed out at work due (quite dramatically - ha!) from it all. Life, work, financials, logistics, my child, etc.
I knew I needed a major change. I needed to let go of things that weren't serving me and be selfish with time and energy. I wanted to focus on my art making (for personal well-being and income), setting better boundaries in my professional career, and moving closer to family.
I decided to take my art business more seriously. In 2015 I learned how to use Instagram (2015) to market myself better and find a creative community. The best thing I ever did was connect with a group of creative women in an informal mastermind group. We encouraged each other to be bolder, take risks, and I would not have had having them in my life during that time.
My art business has been slow and steady, but I'm proud of what accomplishments (personal and professionally) I've had over these past 4 years. Slow and steady, and compounding the interest of small bits of focused time!
What is something you would say to someone who is struggling in their first few years of business? Is there something you struggled with and learned from in those first few years?
It's so important to be clear on your goals, and prioritize the things you most want to do. As creatives and entrepreneurs, it is hard to find time to do all of the work. Knowing your top priorities, you can focus your efforts to accomplish the most important tasks. When you're starting out, it can be easy to jump on whatever opportunities come your way. If they go against what you most want to do, you can easily spend your precious energy on something taking you in the opposite direction. Knowing your personal North Star can help keep you on YOUR right path, and evaluate decisions and opportunities as they arise. Set up time to reassess too, as things can change!
Co-leading COTFA with Heather Kirtland, I realized that spending time on our creative community meant I had less time for my personal artwork. I had to be honest with myself on what I was able to do, and what goals were most important. For me, I wanted to finish our book, and that meant my personal art had to take the back seat for a bit. I knew that after the book was completed, I could funnel the energy back into personal work. Digital artwork (faster for me) become a happy medium and led me to focus on pattern design / licensing which I enjoy.
What hobbies, causes, or activities are you passionate about aside from your work?
In many ways, my art business and my community leadership / writing the book are my hobbies that are my side gigs.
Aside from that, I have so many things I want to do with my time but have tried to focus to make progress in the ones mentioned above. Reading Essentialism made a big impact, but I also value PLAY in my life as an artist. Marie Kondo's Tidying Up also helped me.
Current List of Things I Sometimes Get To:
- swimming & recently surfed during summer vacation! Would love to get in the water more. I was a platform diver, water polo goalie and swimmer growing up, and feel at home in the water.
- meeting up with creative friends in real life. I've had some unofficial meet-ups with people in South Florida to meet new friends.
- practicing the ukelele I recieved (bought myself from them) last Christmas
- Knitting! Knitted for years but not as much living in hot South Florida
- interior design background, so I sometimes help friends / family with their home designs
- I like to write (can you tell?) but am not succinct
- I have dreams of making my own handmade wardrobe and make an occasional quilt.
- Printmaking! I want to do more.
- Silk dyeing - I bought the supplies, need the time...
- baking! I love to bake. Desserts and breads
- snuggling and playing with my 2 kids
- having long philosophical talks with my husband about art, the meaning of life in the limited time we have together right now :)