It’s a little bit of a dreary morning at my house, so this interview totally hits the spot. Sadie’s bright perspective and encouragement to those who are wanting to take the leap into the handmade business world is very welcomed. Meet Sadie, and enjoy her wonderful works of art!
Please introduce yourself.
Hi! I’m Sadie Solomon and I run the shop EmmieBean Custom Portraits. I’m an Illustrator and Graphic Designer living in Santa Barbara, CA.
What do you make or do?
I draw custom portraits based on people’s favorite photographs. Basically, a customer emails me a photo, I illustrate it, and mail them the print!
Where can we find your creations?
I have an online shop front at www.emmiebean.com. Feel free to look through the site to see how the process works, check out other customers’ illustrations, and purchase your very own. I also sell at various handmade marketplaces around the country – and give special fair discounts to my customers who purchase in person! Upcoming events are posted on my website at www.emmiebean.com/events
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business? How did the name come about?
The name EmmieBean was inspired by the nickname for my kitty, Emma. She loves greenies, sunshine, pats on the head, and pad Thai noodles. 🙂
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
I started out part-time in 2009, working on my Etsy orders at night and on weekends after my day job as a Graphic Designer. After a few years of doing this, I had enough orders flowing in that I was able to quit my day job and move to full-time. I always knew that I wanted to make a living doing something that was creative, but I don’t know that I specifically planned to run my own business. I had been developing my style in illustration while in college, and opened an Etsy shop on a whim, and it sort of took off. I got really lucky with a few unexpected features on sites like Apartment Therapy and MSNBC’s TODAY. It’s amazing how a few blog features can really help get the word out!
When you’re not making things, what do you do?
Outside of the EmmieBean workshop, I like living a quiet life, working with my hands, going on road trips, indie craft fairs, exploring, camping, dinners with friends, urban farming, laughing with my husband, and loving on my cat, Emma, and house-bunny, Mini. 🙂
Where do you find inspiration?
All of the makers I work with at the indie craft fairs and the entire handmade movement inspire me. Right now there is a new generation of creative people making things with their hands, selling their own wares, and blazing their own trails. Everyone is so excited to be doing what we’re doing. It’s a contagious, fun atmosphere and I’ve met so many great people doing this.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
Be optimistic and hopeful about the future, plan as much as you can, test out the waters at nights and on weekends with your idea while you have the income of a day job and if you’re successful, take the leap! Right now is a great, exciting time for DIY-ers and handmade makers because people want to buy local and support smaller, American-made businesses. It’s a TON of work, and you’ll end up having to work a lot of weekends. But it’s worth it for the satisfaction of building something with your own two hands.