Q&A: Shop Talk

As promised I am finally getting started on a series of Q&A posts on several specific topics. I decided to start with Shop Talk. Around this time last year I did a huge post with several friends about independent business. It's a subject that is near and dear to my heart, especially considering that my boyfriend I both haven't worked at a traditional job in over 5 years! 

Elsie-studio-profile
Q: I love your blog; it never fails to inspire me. :) I was curious, what would you consider the most important things to have/do when one is beginning something like your endeavor with Red Velvet Art? What have you learned to do or not do? I'd love to hear what you think on the subject!

Elsie-studio-profile

Q: Have u ever had a normal job? 

A: Sure. I worked a a couple retails stores and a flower shop when I was younger. I also owned a local photography business for about three years. I started working independently as a designer when I was 22 and I was writing my first book. It's been an amazing five years since then. 

Q: How do you stay motivated? Like I know this is your career, and I can tell you love your job, but do you ever have days when you are in a slump and if so, how do you recommend getting out of it?

A: This is a great question. One of the major factors that makes working independently so challenging is that you have to keep yourself constantly motivated and inspired. People often say to me "I'd love to stay home and make stuff all day". I know what they mean, but it's a different reality than people imagine. If you work at a retail store and you have a day where you feel uninspired and you mentally and emotionally 'check out' there is a chance that it won't affect your income at all! That simply isn't an option when you work independently. If you want to take an afternoon off, you have to make up for it somehow and this creates a constant tension and balance that must be maintained! 

My personal tips are.... when you feel really inspired, drop everything and work! jeremy and i both do this often because a good idea is often gone the next morning. make inspiration a priority. this means that if you have a favorite band, a favorite magazine or a favorite blog you make time for it, guilt free! small breaks for inspiration are always worth it when followed by a good creative workday! surround yourself with positive people. find the people in your life who love you AND your work and make you feel really good about what you are doing. avoid negative people during busy work times! make friends with other artists you admire. this is a must! friends in your industry will keep your inspired and challenged. find a new obsession as often as you need to. obsessions keep me so inspired. find little things that you can fancy that make your day and cause you to think in a new direction. 

Q: I was wondering what RVA was like in th beginning. Did you start selling things straight away, of just gradually? And, also, what do you think made it the success it is today?

A: It was super gradual. At first it was a hobby for Rachel, Emma and I (for years), then it became a side job (like extra money from summertime music festivals where we sold our handmade goods), then it became a serious dream (although it was 'on hold' for a while) and then we found the perfect time and opportunity to make it a reality! 

I honestly believe that the Red Velvet  is a success because we are honored to have the most amazing customers who totally 'get' the value of independent and handmade goods! Also we work a LOT of crazy hours and we really really love this dream. ;)

Q: Yay!! I always wanted to know how you guys came up with and decided to use the name 'red velvet art'.

A: People ask me this all the time and i wish I had more of a story to tell. Rachel and I chose the name when we were 20 and newly long-distance-best-friends. I always thought it was cute because it's both a fabric and a cake flavor. 

Q: Do you have times when you need to rest, retreat and be still for a while?

A: Definitely. Right now I need a mini vacation badly. When I am really exhausted I usually hang out with Jeremy or do some shopping with my mom. Everyone needs times like that, even if you are a crazy workaholic.

 

Q: Do you find it difficult to obtain health insurance as a single independent artist?

A: Nope. I have an amazingly sweet and affordable personal plan. If you want my insurance agent's number, send me an e-mail. She's great. 

OK. that's all I have time for in this post. My next Q&A post will be Photography questions. I already have a pretty good list saved, but if you have a questions I might still be able to squeeze it in! 

PS. if i had a coffee shop, i would SO want cups like these....

8_mallardcups
[source]

XOXO. elsie

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