Sharing [Encouragement] Can Be Fun

By Jessica Sauer

IMG-1242One of my favorite books of all time is actually a picture book titled, “I Like Your Buttons.”

In this book, a simple compliment from a student to a teacher – “I like your buttons” – travels far and wide, causing a ripple effect of positivity in the main character’s school and around her neighborhood, brightening the day of more than just the original person. Eventually, the compliment train makes its way back to the original compliment-giver in a sweet ending to the book.

Now, I know that not all compliments have the lifespan of an entire day like in this picture book. But I dare to dream about what if compliments did. What if one, single act of kindness, could change the course of someone’s life? What if one, encouraging complement influenced someone in such a way that they adjusted the trajectory of their future? I understand these are big things to hope for. I also know that from deep within my heart, I believe in the power of encouragement.

“How do you know if someone needs encouragement?
If they are breathing.”
// S. Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A Founder

Everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – needs encouragement. Encouragement is something that every single person who is alive and breathing is in need of. From hospital staff to bloggers, from stay-at-home mommas to those in ministry, from personal trainers to horseback riders — if they are breathing, they are in need of encouragement.

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So what exactly is encouragement? What is this thing we’re all craving, the thing that is in such high demand? Encouragement, simply put, is believing truth. This is easier said than done, and usually requires step number one: acknowledging lies. This is a hard step that many skip over, but it is imperative before moving onto step number two: replacing lies with truth. It looks something like this…

LIE: I’m a failure.
TRUTH: I am brave for trying; one mess-up, one mistake, does not define me or my future; I am not a failure.
LIE: I’m unworthy of love.
TRUTH: I am valuable, I am deserving; I am so worth loving.
LIE: I’m not enough.
TRUTH: I am able, I am capable, I am chosen. Because Jesus resides in my heart, and He is Enough, I am therefore enough.

Awareness of the lies that we are believing is a good first step. Lies are sneaky, they slither into your mind and heart in half-truth ways. But half-truths, fears, and lies are not what we are called to live in. No, we are called to live and walk in the freedom that Christ has called us into!

Fear is such a loud liar, but he doesn’t have the final say.

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Philippians 4:8 (NIV) states: “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

These excellent and praiseworthy things are what we as Christians are to focus our minds and hearts on. I’ll be the first to admit, thinking about excellent and praiseworthy things can be challenging. Gossip, sin, and bad influences are just a handful of the many things that tear me away from constantly thinking of excellent and praiseworthy things. I even made it one of my monthly goals, this past spring, to focus on “EAP” things – that is, Excellent And Praiseworthy things! It was an intentional goal that I had to set in order to train my mind and my heart to focus on what Philippians 4:8 discusses. (By no means have I mastered this goal, but I am, with grace, learning to adjust my focus.)

Encouragement that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy is certainly of the Lord. It is my hope that when I encourage others, they don’t see me but, instead, they see the Lord. My prayer is that others will get a glimpse of God through my encouragement. I am simply a vessel of Christ, utilized by Him to share His light and love through my words of encouragement.

Encouragement is important for artists because of how easy it is to believe lies. Earlier, we talked about lies and the importance of acknowledging a lie and replacing it with truth. I want to take a moment and call out a lie most artists (including myself!) believe: the lie of “enough.”

Sometimes I fear that I am not enough (Not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, etc.). Other times, I fear that I am too much (Am I too passionate? Too crazy to believe this idea will actually work? Too forward while marketing my services?). The lie of enough. The truth of the matter, however, is this: I am not too little, and I am not too much. I am enough, because Jesus is Enough, and He abides within me. Hallelujah for His standards, and not my own!

Encouragement is also important for artists to share with others. As creators, it gets us beyond ourselves and out of a self-focused, inward posture. Instead, it fixes our gaze on the good in others in a God-honoring way. This brings about opportunity for collaboration and community, both of which can be done in a Christ-centered way.

Encouragement is not only biblical and important for creatives, but encouragement is valuable for everyone (for the artist and non-artist, for the believer and non-believer).

Encouragement is important because it empowers and inspires in a motivational way, which can, in turn, cause a ripple effect of love, kindness, and joy – just like in the book “I Like Your Buttons.”

Encouragement, when genuine, can change the world. Maybe not the entire world, but someone’s world. And isn’t that worth it?


So who am I, and what is it that I am doing? I’m so glad you asked!

mailbox 1My name is Jess, and, as someone who loves (1) writing, (2) encouraging others, and (3) the lost art of a good, ol’ fashion letter, I wanted to do something that could combine all three of these elements.

I have seen the need for encouragement, especially that of personalized, handwritten notes. A handwritten letter of love and encouragement shows the recipient that time was taken, thought was given, and authentic intentionality was shown. I saw a need, and I had the capacity to fill the need, so I thought to myself, “What am I waiting for?!”

“Say ‘yes’ to what matters.”
– Lara Casey –

I began brainstorming what it would look like to send encouraging snail mail to others – family and friends, yes, but mostly acquaintances and strangers from all over the world. And this is what I came up with:

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Sharing Can Be Fun is a movement started and run by me, Jess! I write and send handwritten letters of encouragement to others, once a month, for the course of 12 months. That’s one year of snail mail encouragement, sent with kindness and love, from me to you!

Individuals can sign up to receive letters for themselves, letters for a friend, or letters for both themself and a friend. Once I have received the mailing address(es), you can let me know if you have any prayer requests you’d like for me to discuss in the letters. It’s no-strings-attached and no cost. Simply snail mail encouragement, from me to you, because Sharing Can Be Fun! And because encouragement is so sparse these days – so needed – and if I can do something about filling that need, then I’m all for it.

So, send in a letter request now for both you and your friends. Even if you’re a tiny bit interested, reach out! Direct message me at @SharingCanBeFun on Instagram, or email me at SharingCanBeFun@gmail.com.

Don’t want to necessarily request a letter, but want to get involved? I’d love for you to reach out and inquire about ways you can support the Sharing Can Be Fun movement. Because your small support can actually become a great act of love when we trust God to multiply our efforts – like bread and fish.

It’s about meeting each unique individual where they’re at.
It’s about loving them well.
It’s about no-strings-attached inspiration and motivation.
It’s about discussing the excellent and praiseworthy parts of life.
It’s about complimenting the lovely things about them.
It’s about encouraging them, because they are breathing.

Encouragement is a game-changer. It is something I am so passionate about, because I believe encouragement has so much potential, so much power.

Join the Sharing Can Be Fun movement today!

Jessica Weaves

Jessica Wilson started weaving in 2014 with a cardboard loom and a pile of yarn. What began as a creative outlet has now become both a passion and a business.

Rediscovering an ancient art for the modern home.

Every fringe and loop she makes tells a story, creating a connection through thousands of years of craft and creativity. Her weavings are a reflection of this rich history, which she hopes, will happily find a place in your home.

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QUESTION & ANSWER WITH JESSICA

Why are you passionate about weaving?
I’ve always really loved history and even have my degree in anthropology. One of the things I love about weaving is that it’s a craft that has existed for thousands of years, that really hasn’t changed that much during all that time. The basic over and under of the weft over the warp is the same, we just add our own personalities and style to it and maybe use different types of looms.

It’s sort of a strange beautiful connection with our ancestors.

When were you introduced to weaving?
My very first attempt at weaving was an art project in a middle school art class. We used cardboard looms and I remember thinking, even then, how much I loved weaving. I was maybe 11 or 12 at the time so while I enjoyed that project I didn’t think it was something I would ever get to do again. I always found myself drawn though to woven goods as I got older. Then a few years ago, I started seeing woven wall hangings by Maryanne Moodie popping up on Pinterest. As soon as I saw them something clicked in my mind and I realized weaving was actually something I could do again. I stubbornly put off learning how to weave for a while because I was afraid I wouldn’t be very good at it. I didn’t like starting projects I might not be good at right away (which is kind of a silly way to live). Thanks to weaving, I’ve gotten over a lot of that fear and I am so much more willing to just try something and then discipline myself to keep trying and learn over time. Weaving has been a really wonderful way for me to express myself and find a creativity in myself that I didn’t know I had.

What inspired you to open shop?
I opened my shop the way I think a lot of creatives do; I realized I was making a ton of woven wall hangings and I needed more room on my walls!

How do you generate new ideas?
One of my biggest inspirations is nature, specifically sunsets and nature photography. I save a lot of photos that inspire me in a collection on Instagram and a board on Pinterest. I regularly go back and look at both of them for inspiration. By doing that I’ve realized which colors I’m drawn to and what kind of shapes I’m inspired by. I also keep a sketchbook with me all the time. I don’t always follow my sketches exactly but it helps me to have my ideas in one place so I can use that as a springboard once I start creating a piece. And that way I don’t forget the idea I had while walking around Target or waiting to get my oil changed.

How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Sometimes I can tell an idea is worth pushing through even if I get stuck on it. I’ve been really inspired by weavers like Sarah Neubert and Ellen Bruxvoort who talk about “showing up at the loom.” They’ve inspired me to just keep showing up, keep creating, and keep weaving even if I’m not in love with it anymore. After pushing through that process I usually love the wall hanging all over again or at least feel grateful and pleased that it is completed.

I’ve never regretted showing up
and disciplining myself to finish a piece.

There have been a few times where I can just tell that I’m done with an idea and it’s time is up. I’ve only cut a few weavings off my loom, but I think each one was a good choice. Sometimes an idea is just not worth pursuing and it’s better to start fresh. Other times if you sit with it for a while, you can start to feel new inspiration and drive. I think you really just have to feel it out and see what works best in each situation.

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What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
I had to completely restart a piece once because I was struggling so much with creating a circle. I had planned on the weaving being large (at least 2 feet wide) but I was having so much trouble – even after taking out large sections of yarn and reweaving them – that I decided to take everything off that loom and start over on a much smaller scale. It was humbling, but I think a good reminder of how important it is to develop your skills, learn, and know your craft. My smaller attempt turned out really well. It ended up being one of my favorite woven walling hangings that I’ve made so far.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
My most satisfying business moment so far was probably my very first piece that I sold. It was a commission from an Instagram follower of an earlier space inspired weaving that I made for my sister for Christmas. I felt so excited to know that my work was striking a chord with people and was something they would love to have in their homes. That’s my hope for all my woven wall hangings. I want them to be something that people feel good about having in their home and something that adds beauty to where they live.

What are your non-work habits that help you with your work-life balance?
One thing that really helps me is learning to rest. I take breaks from social media and try to practice self-care. I’m learning to listen to my body and rest when I need to. I work full time plus I have my weaving and everything that goes with that, like my shop and social media on the side. It gets to be a lot! I remember one blogger’s post that really resonated with me. She was talking about learning to rest and deciding that if she was tired, rather than making herself more tired by pushing herself to complete a task, she took a nap. What a crazy revelation, just take a break, take a nap, get some rest and then try again.

Taking social media breaks is probably the single biggest thing I’ve done that helps me. I find that it alleviates a lot of the self imposed pressure of always wanting to seem like you’re creating and coming up with new and amazing ideas. It also helps me to not compare myself to others online or get into a super competitive mindset. As a creative you want to constantly be creating and showing those creations because that’s part of having an online presence and finding customers. It’s also really exhausting.

I believe in the value of community and community over competition.

There’s enough out there for everyone; we don’t need to knock each other down in order to succeed. It’s lonely enough as a creative and small business owner without pushing away the other people who “get it.”

Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
I haven’t thought five or ten years ahead yet, but I do know that this year I want to start challenging myself with my weaving style and see where it takes me. I have some really interesting ideas running around my head (and my sketchbook) that I can’t wait to get out of my head and into the real world.


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Connect with Jessica:
instagram.com/jessica_weaves

Shop her work:
etsy.com/shop/jessicaweaves

See her inspiration:
pinterest.com/jessicaweaves

Desert Sage

IMG_0983Meet Ginny Melby, the owner and artist behind Desert Sage. Desert Sage is a watercolor and calligraphy company that makes elegant, one-of-a-kind pieces for every occasion. Whether you’re in need of envelope addressing, place cards, or handwritten notes, Desert Sage can create it for you. They even offer stunning geodes with individual words written on them, to inspire you or encourage a friend. What started as a way for Ginny to bring color and life out of her darkest days, has turned into a flourishing brand that aims to transform others’ lives through beauty and joy.

Read on as Ginny shares some of her business insights and inspiration.

Q: Why you do what you do?
A:
If God can use my artwork to encourage just one person’s heart, than it has served its purpose. I want to be a good steward of the gifts and passions God has given me. To me, Desert Sage means beauty out of brokenness. A desert sage flower grows in the harshest, driest conditions. Somehow this beautiful purple flower sprouts up from the dry, cracked desert ground. Similarly, the joy and beauty of my artwork surprised me by springing up during the most desolate time of my life, when my father passed away and I started writing and painting as a way to calm my soul. My vision for this business is to plant little seeds of hope and joy in other people’s deserts making their dream art pieces a reality and bringing beauty into their lives and homes.

IMG_0992Q: What’s the biggest mistake you made your first year of business?
A:
I compared my work to others’ constantly. I think this flowed from a feeling that I had no idea what I was doing, an insecurity in my own artwork and a harmless desire for inspiration. But the best advice I ever received was, “Unfollow me and all your favorite artists.” As humans, we tend to compare our creations to the creations of others. It’s good to be inspired by someone else’s work, but don’t fall into the trap of studying it, thus stifling your own creativity and never truly finding your own voice in art. That feels like robbing the world of some unique beauty that can only be found in you.

Q: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
A:
Every time a customer tells me how much my artwork has encouraged them or how much peace/joy/hope it brings them to see my piece in their home everyday. That’s why I do what I do! Also, the moment I finally finish an elaborate piece is SO satisfying. They take so much of my time and concentration, it’s very exciting to see the finished product.

Q: What do you do to recharge when you’re feeling drained?
A:
I get out into nature! Walking and admiring creation is one of the most refreshing things for me. It always seems to give me perspective again, that the success of all my tasks really isn’t on my shoulders…I just get the privilege of playing a part in it all. That frees me to do my best (and have fun!) and leave the rest up to God.

“We may know what we want, but God knows what we need.”

Q: What business owner or entrepreneur do you admire most? Who is your role model?
A:
I really admire Ruth Simons of Gracelaced artwork. Apart from her talent as an artist, I love how real she is about life. She doesn’t sugarcoat things or put on a false front for social media. You can tell she doesn’t spend hours trying to formulate a trendy post or make her life seem perfect. She often posts about the hard, sanctifying parts of life, motherhood, marriage…She’s approachable and relatable, and I admire that.

Connect with Ginny and keep up-to-date with her latest creations here or visit her website: desertsagescripts.com

Blog photos by Mary Irene, Taylor Graham, and Graham Johnson.

Yonder Studios

Yonder is a line of canvas goods, tea towels and t-shirts printed, designed and created by Julie and Justin Nardy. Yonder started in 2013 when Julie created the first ever Yonder tote. She has been a seamstress for over 20 years and holds a BFA in fine art with emphasis in photography, painting and installation art.

The backbone of Yonder is individuality and craftsmanship. Their bags are made of heavy duty canvas and use up-cycled materials in their construction. Each bag is unique on purpose. T-shirts, tea towels and fabric are all printed by hand with great attention to detail. They use eco-friendly water-based ink to help ease the impact on the environment.

At the end of 2015, Julie found herself yearning to take Yonder in a new direction and use patterns in her work. By early 2016, she had started talking with her husband, Justin, about ways she could integrate silk screened patterns into the line.

Justin joined the Yonder team and started working with Julie on patterns and printing in mid 2016. Justin not only prints Julie’s designs, but has added his own touch to the Yonder line with his t-shirt designs. Justin brings over ten years of screen printing experience with him. All of the patterns are designed and printed in their home studio.

Along with being a screen printer, Justin is also a successful musician and designer. His band, New Tongues, can be heard here. Julie is a co-founder of the Berlin Bazaar, a yearly art experience in Columbia, Missouri.

Question & Answer with Julie

Why did you start your business?
I have been trying to “start” my own business for a long time now. In my 20’s I had different versions of businesses that I thought would last: I made pouches and hip bags for sale when I lived in Winter Park, Florida. I had a business with my best friend making pouches and totes when I lived in Austin, Texas. I’ve been sewing since I was a kid. I went to school for fine art for 8 years and when I emerged in 2006 I fell right back into sewing and I haven’t looked back since.

In 2015, I created a tote which would lead to the current line I make for Yonder. I wanted a new tote bag and I unknowingly made a pattern that I’m still using for almost all of the bags I sew. In 2016, I decided I wanted to add patterns to my work. My husband has over ten years of experience as a screen printer so I started talking to him about working with me. Today we make bags, pillows, pouches, and tea towels that have patterns that are all original designs. The Yonder line wouldn’t be what it is without him and I’m so over the moon that I get to work with him in an artistic capacity.

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How did you learn to run your business?
I never took a formal class perse, but I’ve been on the buying and inventory control end of retail for almost my whole adult life and I feel like that has helped immensely. I have a knack for business and for some reason things like inventory and cost and stuff comes easy to me. I’m also really enthusiastic about marketing, so I jumped on that immediately.

What’s the most difficult thing about running your own business?
The most difficult thing for me has been learning to say no when I need to. It’s so hard to realize that in order to have longevity in a business you also need to have a life outside of your business. In the first year I probably sewed 6 days a week on top of a full time job for the better part of the year. I have now learned to slow down, to give more realistic deadlines and to spend more time with my husband doing non business related things. The crazy thing is that this year has been one of our busiest, but I’m working smarter, not harder.

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What’s the most rewarding thing about running your own business?
I think for any creative, knowing that you can make money off of your art work is a huge. I went to school for fine art for eight years and I always told myself that I’d have to have a “normal” job. I definitely still work another job, but I can also see where the more time and energy I put into Yonder, the more I will get out of it. So if I ever did want to take this to another level, I could feasibly do that.

What advice do you have for others who are starting their own businesses?
The best advice I could give would be to have a pretty clear and concise concept before you dive in. The thing that really helped me was to limit my ideas–I’m usually all over the place. It has helped our line to be more cohesive and that has been huge. I wish someone had told me how to say no more often (just in general!), because I think it would have saved me a lot of stress in the past few years.

To stay up-to-date with Yonder’s events and new work, please visit their Instagram account. If you would like to shop their products, click here!

Master Piece in Progress

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Back in 2014 while I was working in Southeast Asia, I became very fascinated by the idea of having a tent at home, which would signify the Holy presence of God. I wanted a refuge, a resting place, a space where I can always go to encounter the One I love. Yes the Spirit of God is everywhere and is not restricted by manmade things, but there is something very special about having a designated place for the person that you most honor and treasure.

I was engaged then and due to fly back to London to be married in a few months’ time. I called my fiancé then, hubby now, and asked whether we could have a tee pee tent at home. He said yes! So this tent has been my place of intimacy, rest and soul-searching. It is where I bring my utmost brokenness, joys and mysteries to the One my soul delights in.

When it came to the time of forming some kind of a brand for this artwork-making business, I had this logo in mind. It came to me one time while I was worshipping the Lord.

I had no pen and paper with me so I quickly sketched it with my finger on iPhone using the doodle app, not wanting any detail to slip away. I saw something like the shape of a tee pee tent, and wings on both sides, overlooking the thing in the middle. That reminded me of the cherubims that guarded the ark of the covenant. At the same time, I had this thought that the name should start with an A, which is kind of like the shape of the tent in the logo. Then suddenly, it all made sense! “The Ark of Presence, where Love and Glory dwells” became the identity of the brand.

Moses said to God, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”
(Exodus 33:15-16)

My hope is that everything about The Ark would breathe the glory of God. If the Presence of God is not in this, it would be completely in vain.

So, the hands and the heart behind The Ark is this girl (or rather married woman) who adores wild daisies, succulents, cacti, leaves, branches, trees, sunshine, extremely warm weather, the sea, pebbles, seashells, sand, being in water, adventur-ing with flip flops and backpack, scented candles, open space, quietness, joyfulness, childlikeness, reading while sipping tea, genuine love songs, dance performances that make you cry, vulnerable story-telling, and different cultures in the world.

I am a lover of love and beauty – a lover of the Person of love and beauty and glory and grace and truth – the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my beginning, my process, and my destination – in all of my existence and everything I do. He brought me from death to life; an amazing, hope-filled, darkness crushing and light-shining life.

I am an art psychotherapist by training and have had the privilege of using the profession to reach the lost, bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free. Before that I was a graphic designer / art director. I had left the design career to carry out the current ‘mission’ God laid on my heart.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetHowever, I have never actually stopped creating. A couple of years ago I found myself feeling rather discontent about the gifts I was buying for friends’ birthdays, weddings, Christmas, special occasions or simply to show encouragement. I started to hand-make different types of art pieces to give to family and friends and strangers (this is a ‘custom’ that I developed as a child, I’m grateful to my parents who loved and kept the endless Disney cards I painted for them).

In October 2016, after a series of amazing events and encouraging words from friends, I decided to step out and start a tiny, tiny little online business, selling ‘stuff’ that I make. Jesus called me to start The Ark, to create and sell artworks for His glory; to bring hope, light and love to this weary and broken world. I had very little idea how it might work. And I am still learning a lot each day.

I had a lot of struggles to start with. I was afraid my work was not good enough, that it’s not worth looking at, that people wouldn’t be interested, that it’s going to be a failure, that it was just a projection of ugly self-ambition. However, the Lord Jesus and my wonderful hubby keep encouraging me and spurring me on the right track. It is so easy to get back to that dark loophole and compare with others and lose the vision and the joy of creating, but I thank God that ultimately He defines ‘success’, not me, not anyone else. If I seek to please people, I lose everything. But if I seek to do everything for the glory and pleasure of Jesus, I would be the richest I can be. I have learnt and am learning that I always just need an attitude of a daughter making something for her Father – all love and no fear.

Everything in The Ark is hand-crafted by love, inspired by nature, and filled with life-giving thoughts. It is my passion to impart encouragement, childlike hope, joy, love, and dreams to the world.

One piece that I’ve been working on behind the scenes for a while, and I’m thrilled to release, is my new “Master Piece in Progress” tote bag*. The inspiration for this bag came from the book of Ephesians: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph2:10) and a quote by Sophia Bush: “’You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.”

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I am astounded that God would call us His masterpiece. We are created in His image – the image of pure love, light and holiness. His wonder is placed inside of each of us, no matter where and when and how we are born. We are created in Him, through Him, for Him – our life purpose is to worship and enjoy Him. I find it extremely easy to appreciate the beauty of God, but the beauty of myself? I’m not so sure. However, God calls us His masterpiece. He creates as He speaks. Even when we’re not quite there yet, that’s how He sees us.

I’ve been learning to give grace to myself and the rest of broken humanity – which includes anyone from a family member who gets on my nerves to traffickers who sell and abuse people for money; from the most well-off and arrogant person in the world, to street children who don’t know their worth and cannot imagine anything beyond picking food from garbage dumps.

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I pray that this bag will serve as a reminder, wherever you bring it, that we are all hand-crafted by the Artist of the universe – unique and holy and made for love. We all deserve respect and honor; and at the same time, we all require patience and grace from others, because we are all “not quite there yet”. But the process is beautiful. Because the Artist is beautiful. I am so thankful that I get to share a piece of my heart with you in this simple tote bag.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
-Pablo Picasso

I give all the glory to my amazing God – the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit – the Creator of creators, who loves and inspires me daily; who has given me courage to be me, and a fearless heart to dream again.

-Bonny

*Artfully Seeking subscribers receive 10% off their tote purchase until April 18, 2018.

Genuine & Ginger

img_9276Meet Kyla Donner, the founder and maker behind jewelry and home goods brand Genuine & Ginger. I first began following Kyla and her gorgeous creations on Instagram a few months back and was instantly struck by her keen eye for design, unique aesthetic and her honest and poignant perspective on her business. After learning more about Genuine & Ginger’s story, I’m even more enamored with the brand.

Read on to learn more about the beginnings of the brand, what Kyla’s day-to-day looks like as a creative business owner and more!

Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LAUNCH GENUINE & GINGER, AND WHEN DID JEWELRY AND UNIQUE GOODS-MAKING INITIALLY SPARK YOUR INTEREST? 

img_9295A: I have always had busy hands, as a kid I was always DIY-ing, making things out of my old clothes, or figuring out how I could make the better version of something that I saw in the store. So I think to build a business based on hand-making things is not surprising to anyone who knows me. This brand was actually created out of a failure. I had taken a couple years off from making and creating things because the business I had prior to Genuine & Ginger had taken over my life, and not in a good way. I lost my voice, my passion and my integrity as a creator. I instantly became someone consumed by a need to make money and push product.

Q: GIVE US INSIGHT INTO WHAT YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOKS LIKE WHILE RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS – IF THERE EVEN IS A ‘TYPICAL’ DAY. 

img_9307A: Well it often starts with me convincing our dog Jeffery that we need to get up and get to work. He is not ever convinced that it is a good idea, haha! But then I make some coffee, head into the studio, light up some candles and begin mapping out the day. I have to make a full-on list of things that need to happen all week and then I list all the tasks under each day of the week that they need to happen on. Otherwise, I will sit scrolling through Instagram thinking I have nothing to do. But everyday is so different, it can be delivering wholesale orders to our in-town stockist, working on woven commissions, fulfilling orders, trip to the post office, designing new items, attempting to get through emails, taking product and lifestyle photos for social media, meeting with potential clients or collaborating with other designers, etc. I am usually the most productive at night, so the bulk of my work happens between 7 p.m. and 1:00 p.m…I don’t sleep much.

Q: WHAT ROLES DO SOCIAL MEDIA AND PRODUCT STYLING PLAY IN YOUR BUSINESS? I’M KIND OF OBSESSED WITH YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED! 

img_9298A: Personally I have tried to be very authentic and real when it comes to social media. I am very open and my social media is very clearly just an extension of me as a designer and creative. I don’t post anything that I don’t feel represents my brand or the vision I am creating. I live and work in the Southwest so I use a ton of earth tones and neutrals in my feed, and try to stay consistent with my editing and caption content because I want people to have an honest and consistent connection with the work we do. I have a love-hate relationship with social media because it does take so much of my time, when if I am honest I would rather be designing and creating new work, but I know that there is a special bond that is created when I share my process, my inspiration and work with people. It allows me to have direct community with the people I create jewelry and woven goods for. So in that way I do love it.

Q: WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF RUNNING YOUR OWN CREATIVE BUSINESS; WHAT’S THE MOST FULFILLING? 

A: There are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I want to get done. I have to know my limits and know what my downfalls are so I can reach out and connect with people who are good at those things. But the hardest thing by far is disconnecting my identity from my work. As a artist that sells my creative work it is hard not to put your worth in whether a design sells well or if it doesn’t. Being able to separate yourself from your work and to know that regardless if an item sells out or never sells at all, it doesn’t say anything about who I am as a creative, as a human, as a woman.

Q: HOW DOES YOUR FAITH AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS AND CREATIVE DECISIONS?

A: I think that knowing that I am not in this alone has been massive for me. Every time things get really hard and I don’t know if I can keep doing this, the Lord has been so faithful to remind me that I don’t have to fear, because I am taken care of. I don’t need to freak out over finances because his promises aren’t broken and they belong to me. It has helped me be brave in pursuing things, it has kept me going on the hard days and it has brought me peace that I don’t have to have all the answers. I have so much freedom to be who he has made me to be without fear of what people will think.

Q: FOR OTHER MEN/WOMEN WHO WANT TO LAUNCH THEIR CREATIVE BUSINESS (ON OR OUTSIDE OF ETSY), WHAT WOULD YOUR BEST WORDS OF ADVICE BE? 

img_9283A: KNOW YOUR WHY!! Know exactly why you are pursuing your business. On the crappy and stressful days you will need to know why you started to begin with to keep you pushing forward despite all opposition, fatigue or criticism. Have people around you who know your ‘why’ also, so they can remind you when you haven’t showered in days, are deep in piles of work and have tears streaming down your face.

“To any entrepreneur: if you want to do it, do it now. If you don’t, you’re going to regret it.” -Catherine Cook (Co-Founder of myYearbook)

KEEP UP WITH KYLA AND GENUINE & GINGER ON THEIR WEBSITE, INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK – DROP HER A NOTE AND SAY HI!

Written by the incredibly talented Lindsay Shoemake via her awesome blog www.thatworkinggirl.com.

Drift & Loom

My name is Angela Norton and I’m a 19 year old who decided to create an online business. You may think I’m crazy to start a small business while trying to manage studying, a job, and a social life, but my answer is “why not?” We have our whole life ahead of us and there’s no need to waste our time waiting for the “right timing”. Drift & Loom is a tapestry business I created to help make your space a little bit more like you.

Drift & Loom started as an idea in May. I’ve always wanted to create a small business, but told myself I need to wait till I’m 30. One day, I decided to do something about my dreams and put them into action. So, here I am starting a business at the age of 19 and in the middle of college.

Some battles I’ve faced while pursuing this business was trying to tell myself that I can do this. I don’t need a degree to create something I love doing. I just need to keep remembering that wherever this may lead me, there is a plan in that route.

In the next few years, I hope to see myself expanding my products and being creative with the talents I’ve been given. I hope to also inspire others to go after their dreams. Just know, it’s never too early or too late to do something you love.

For more about Drift & Loom, please visit: www.driftandloom.com

Words & Photos by Angela Norton // Additional photos courtesy of Drift & Loom