Owning a creative business and living a life centered around an artistic trade is a romantic notion, a dream for many who yearn to make one-of-a-kind goods with their hands. But to really make it as a creative entrepreneur is not an easy feat, and as a business with untraditional practices and methods, the path to success inevitably comes with its own unique set of challenges.
Design*Sponge’s own Erin Austen Abbott knows the tales of creative makers through and through — after opening her Oxford, MS shop Amelia in 2009, she became enamored with the stories of the makers whose goods she stocked on her shelves. She continued to admire and document the journeys of these small businesses through an Instagram series over the years, and Erin spent most of 2015 traveling the country to photograph and interview 25 of the creative industry’s successful business owners to write her newly released book, How to Make It: 25 Makers Share The Secrets to Building a Creative Business.
Today Erin is sharing with us about commonalities she’s observed in creative entrepreneurs, what she learned from the trials of these makers, and what touring with bands and selling merchandise has to do with all of it. —Kelli
Photography by Erin Austen Abbott
Image above: A scene from the workspace of Tennessee-based handmade ceramics shop Paper & Clay.