by Cindy Wilson, Mommy's Dream Creations
Grab a cup of coffee and take a minute to relax as you meet this week's featured Cross Marketing Guru artist Jennifer from Jennifer Lynn Productions.
How did you get started with your craft/art?
I've been artistic all of my life. From the time I could hold a pencil or crayon, I've been writing and creating. As an adult, I started to get serious about selling my work in the late 90s. For a while, I worked with a friend, but in 2007, I struck out on my own.
What prompted you to set up a home-based business?
I like to make things, paint things, decorate things, etc. I find you can only keep so much of your own art, and you can only give so much of it as gifts to your closest friends and family. LOL! I also want to find away to scale back my involvement in the corporate world. If I can even reduce my work for others to part-time, I'll be a very happy camper. I am my favorite boss. ;) Mind you, I don't only make art for money. I get a deep joy from it, and there are pieces that I have created that are not for sale and may never be.
What part of your craft is your favorite?
First of all, I love custom orders! I love helping someone else tell their story or send a message to someone who is special to them. The other aspect of the process that is my favorite is that transition point where the materials I've gathered start to come together and the piece starts to take shape. There is a lot of magic in those in-between places!
I think that I have become a little more outgoing and a little more confident. I'm not sure that it has directly impacted my craft. Another thing about me that has changed is--I think--that I am able to look at my work more objectively. I'm better able to step back and take a customer's eye view of what I am doing and to analyze whether a concept is really going to work or not.
What is the most challenging aspect of running your business?
The most challenging aspect, for me, is stepping away from the studio to do the work that actually pays my bills. I am much happier when I am in flow, but I have a mortgage to pay, and JLP is not quite profitable enough for that, yet!
How did you come up with your shop name?
Jennifer Lynn are my first and middle names. When I was a little girl and I was in trouble, my mom would say, firmly, "Jennifer Lynn..." and I knew she meant business. I also just like the way the name sounds. The "productions" part comes from the fact that I offer services as well as goods. Ultimately, it is a media company, though for now the art and hand crafts are my focus. I was playing around with names, and "JenniferLynn Productions" just kind of came together and felt right.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you see your business?
Hopefully, I will be working only part time in the corporate world and able to make up the difference via JLP. If I am doing enough business to pay myself a salary, that will be a bonus! Also within five years, I hope that my boyfriend and I will be at least thinking about moving into a larger, more rural home. It's just the two of us and some cats, but we need more space. We currently share a studio, and that studio also serves as our guest room, so 2-3 extra rooms would be sweet!
How do you keep a balance between home and business responsibilities?
Since we are both very focused on our chosen art forms, we set our own hours around it. I work in the evenings and on weekends. He works full-time on his music. If there is something pressing to be done away from the studio, it gets done. When I'm home, a lot of times, I will bounce between projects and housework or errands. He does the same thing. When you are doing what you love and what you feel you were meant to do in life, everything just seems to come together.
If you could give one piece of advice to others who are just getting started with their businesses, what would it be?
Don't cheap out! If you can't afford to go through with some aspect of a project, then put that situation aside until you can. I had a (very minor) incident this spring that drove this home for me. Luckily, it was easily fixed. There is likely nothing worse than selling something to someone and having it fall apart within days! (That is not what happened to me, thank goodness!)
Can you give us some links to be able to follow you?
Links to all of my online shops can be found at http://dragnrags.blogspot.com/ .
My art and photography: http://jenniferlynnproductions.artfire.com/
My vintage shop: http://jenniferlynnsfinds.artfire.com/