Browsing articles in "Inspiration"

Meet Marina Kessler

This week we have Marina Kessler silver- and gold-smith extraordinaire — with us to share her thoughts on creativity and self-employment.

Marina’s path has wound back and forth across the country. This movement in her life and her zest for adventure is, I think, a big part of where the energy and whimsy that you see in her jewelry comes from.

Photo from Marina Kessler Jewelry

 

* It can be a big (scary) step to go into business for yourself — What made you take the leap and begin your business?

An interesting mix of ingredients threw me into what is the career path that I am now on:

Working muliple part time jobs and not having any time to do the things I love became a turn off.

I was receiving overwhelming positive responses from the jewelry that I was producing.

I worked  hard to obtain my degree in metalsmithing, why not put that trade into good use?

Photo from Marina Kessler Jewelry

* Being self employed requires enormous dedication and self-motivation — Where does the inspiration for your work come from and what do you do to keep the fires going when motivation is low?

As one can imagine, turning a passion into your only source of income changes your motives. Inspirational sources have morphed into unexpected surprises. Custom work has become a large part of the business :: Working with people on creating their dream piece has been rewarding. From wedding bands to mother’s rings, turning people’s ideas into tangible objects that they will have forever makes the frustrating times dissolve. I have started a file with customer’s thank you notes to help remind me.

Photo from Marina Kessler Jewelry

* What has been the most valuable tool leading to your success — object/person/piece of knowledge/etc.?

Kathy Straus, a jeweler back East took me under her wing when I was 17. Her positive and encouraging influence has brought me to where I am now. In addition to the opportunity of apprenticeship, I went to a small art school in Nelson, B.C.
The surrounding landscape and artistic town is a strong influence on the work I produce now.


* I have found in my own entrepreneurial adventures that there are certain daily rituals that get me going in the morning or help to signify the end of the work day — What daily ritual(s) can you not live without?

Whipped cream, it’s my favorite treat, and I always treat myself while working in the shop….morning, noon or night!

Photo from Marina Kessler Jewelry

* What piece of wisdom do you know now that you wish you had known when you first began your business?

At first I was scared of rejection from all aspects of the industry: from gallery owners, to the jurors that select artists for art shows, to customers. Now, it is simply motivating.

 

Thanks, Marina!

Be sure to check out more amazing designs on Marina’s website.

Meet Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants

Originally from Connecticut, Sarah followed a trail of outdoor jobs to finally wind up in central Montana. Sarah’s company, Red Ants Pants, was built to fill a need :

Before mainstream companies realized women need long-lasting work pants too, Sarah filled the void :: with a gusseted crotch, reinforced knees, made from durable cotton canvas duck in a lovely chocolate brown, AND made especially for the female shape, these pants are built for hard work.

If any of you ladies are looking for the Cinderalla’s slipper of work pants, look no further.

Sarah was nice enough to share her thoughts on inspiration, motivation and the secrets of her success:

*It can be a big (scary) step to go into business for yourself — What made you take the leap and begin your business?

For me the leap to start my own business came out of necessity.  I needed functional work pants that fit, and I knew that there were lots of other women who had similar needs.  The other factor that helped tremendously was being 24 and very naïve as to the difficulty of starting a business.  The idealism of youth was very powerful at the time.

* Being self employed requires enormous dedication and self-motivation — Where does the inspiration for your work come from and what do you do to keep the fires going when motivation is low?

The appreciation and personal stories from my customers keep me going when my self-motivation is low.  There are plenty of times when I’m alone in the office and it’s 20 below out and the windows are iced over and I don’t have the grit to be productive.  When I meet customers face to face, either in the shop or on tour, they fill me right back up with inspiration and goodness.

Red Ants Pants in action

* What has been the most valuable tool leading to your success — object/person/piece of knowledge/etc.?

I think having faith; in myself, my judgment, and my support system has been the single most important tool in this process.  If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, like, really to-the-core faith in yourself, then it becomes really hard to move towards success.  With business I’ve found you need to go big with all the confidence you can muster.  If you believe in your product/service/company, the customers will recognize that.

photo via Red Ants Pants

* I have found in my own entrepreneurial adventures that there are certain daily rituals that get me going in the morning or help to signify the end of the work day — What daily ritual(s) can you not live without?

Having my cup of coffee and some solo time to get my day started is really important.  It allows me to get myself centered, and have some good thinking time.  In the winter it’s by my wood stove, in the summer it’s in my garden as the sun starts warming up.  When I have this time it allows me to focus on how I’m doing, how I’m feeling and what needs to get done.  To close out my day it’s the same routine but most often with whiskey.  A daily run/bike/ski is an important piece too.

* What piece of wisdom do you know now that you wish you had known when you first began your business?

How do you eat an elephant?   One bite at a time.

Thanks, Sarah!

Be sure to check out the Red Ants Pants website for stories, pictures, and best of all… to get yourself a pair!

Women in Business


March is Women’s History Month and in honor of the women who got us where we are today, I am spending the month celebrating some incredible, creative, entrepreneurial women from Montana that I am lucky  to consider my friends.

Each Thursday this month (because it’s my favorite day!) I will be interviewing women who contribute to the creative community in this area.

This project has been such a blast for me and SO inspiring. I can’t wait to introduce you to these women.

Come back tomorrow to meet the first!

Etsy Success

Briefly, between getting my undergraduate degree and starting my graduate work, I had a “real” job. A job with benefits, an ample paycheck and little flexibility. Each month I gave myself an art budget and chose a small piece of artwork from an Etsy artist, limiting myself to spending $30 or less. The job itself wasn’t a great fit and I’m much happier in the work I’m doing now, but I miss having my little art fund and getting to support fellow independent artists.

Now that I am selling on Etsy, I’ve had a few friends ask how I get seen when there are so many artists to search through. In the past, when I’ve purchased work on Etsy, I’ve gotten there directly from artist’s websites or references from other blogs, but there are so many great tools on Etsy now to help find new, great art.

Have you ever used the Taste Test tool? It’s a fun way to spend a half an hour and a fantastic way to find new artists. I also like to look at the “favorites” of artists that I like to see who they have their eye on.

I spent a little time this weekend looking at art and thought I’d share the work of a few new-to-me finds. Enjoy!

Lucia Johnson

Danna Ray

Cathy McMurray

dkim

Funny, I just noticed that all of these pieces feel like spring to me…

I also noticed yesterday morning as I was getting up that it is not dark at 6:30 anymore (I wouldn’t really say it was LIGHT, but it definitely wasn’t dark!)  – we are pushing 12 hours of  non-darkness now!!!!!

Hurrah for spring.

Monday Morning Joy : Anna-Wili Highfield

PHENOMENAL paper animal sculptures.

Full of movement and personality.

Amazing.

See more here.

Have an incredible week!

Monday Morning Joy : Christina Song

Tiny little magic worlds to run away into if you need a break this week.

More of Christina Song here.

Happy Monday!

Monday Morning Joy : Patrick Hruby

Graphics full of color, energy and stories.

Imaginary Castle

Parade

Lets Go Camping

You can find more here.

Monday Morning Joy : Rainbow Warrior

Unexpected color in Albuquerque to brighten your day:

You can read more here.

Via Aesthetics of Joy

Monday Morning Joy : Richard Pearse

I love seeing how some people, like Richard Pearse, are able to find beauty and inspiration in materials that others would just consider junk.

I hope you had a lovely holiday season and are refreshed and ready to take on the year.

Happy first Monday of 2011!

via paige and modern

HELLO!


Welcome to Paper Route Designs and a glimpse into my life, my inspiration and my creative process.
I hope you enjoy.

Contact me :
karin {AT} paperroutedesigns {DOT} com

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All images and content © KSN Designs, unless otherwise noted. Images cannot be reproduced or used for commercial purposes without written permission from the artist. Thank you.