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How We Got Started As Artists Selling Online: Lindsay Emery of Suite One Studio and Cofounder of The Studio Source

Uncategorized Sep 26, 2019

Like any good journey, our paths to selling art online full-time weren’t exactly straight lines. We each have diverse educational backgrounds and earlier moments in our careers that could have taken us to a very different destination. Over the past decade we’ve made intentional choices about the way we want to work and the way we want to sell our work— choices that often went against the norms at the time! Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing our stories about how we each became Full-time Artists Selling Online and sharing some of the highlights of this journey so far.

On my wheel throwing in my garage studio. I worked in this studio from Spring 2016 until Winter 2018. There was no running water, heat or AC but that didn’t matter! It was such an upgrade from the guest room and basement studios I’d previously had in my rental homes!

Lindsay’s story: In 2005 I started my undergraduate Art program. The plan was to major in painting and to minor in Art History. The first semester went exactly as planned. I filled my schedule with Art History and drawing courses to prepare for my painting track. My second semester I was required to take a “Craft” based art class such as Stained Glass, Jewelry, or Ceramics. I picked Ceramics only because it worked best with my life drawing, lithography, and art history courses— three of my ‘no-compromise’ classes on my route to another semester going just as planned (the way I liked things).

I was annoyed at the time that Ceramics was the only Craft course that would work in my schedule. At the time Ceramics seemed to me like something you’d do at Summer Camp, not something you learned in college. Ugh, what a waste of my time. Needless to say sometimes when things don’t go as planned it’s because something even better is right out of view.

I fell in love with the challenge of working with clay! Creating three dimensional objects was so hard for me! I’d always been good at art, and drawn and painted my way through private art lessons, and special instruction from my teachers in high school. All of those things came easily to me. But this. This was different. It was SO hard and my art ego came to an abrasive halt.

There was something about that process for me, the dismantling of all of my plans, the unravelling of who I thought I was.. and who I would be as an artist, and it was fabulously freeing.

After that first course I was hooked, and Ceramics became the ‘no-compromise’ course on my schedule every semester from there on out. I began having an abundance of pottery. I gifted it to everyone I knew and still I had a LOT. At this point it was 2009 and I’d heard some friends on Facebook talk about Etsy as a place where artists could sell online.

It took making a LOT of pots, but I found my voice in clay and people began paying attention! In 2015 I was named Better Homes and Gardens, Rising Stylemaker.

Having a Facebook account was about the extent of my online know-how at that time. I don’t know why I thought I could start an online business. Maybe it all goes back again to that first Ceramics class, the dismantling of my ego and the grueling process of starting at the absolute bottom and learning to do something totally new. Probably.

So I opened up Suite One Studio on Etsy. I sold a few hundred pots, made more, sold more, and repeat. I got better at making pots, better at writing my product descriptions, better at taking photos, and better at selling my work. Within a year it was clear to me, I had an actual business and I could quit my multiple side hustles (BBQ waitress and weekend children’s art teacher.)

Since that time in 2010 I’ve only worked for my business full-time. My work transitioned from a mishmash of pottery to a very clear aesthetic in my true Signature Style.

In 2012 I setup my own website on my own domain: suiteonestudio.com and continued the momentum I’d started on Etsy. I began getting magazine features, and then commercial design licensing opportunities, and hitting six-figure sale years again and again.

This is an outtake from my home studio during my catalog photo shoot with Anthropologie that would appear in their Spring 2017 issue.

Now almost ten years later (!!!!) I’m still running my ceramics business, making work that truly resonates with me and my vision, and sharing what I’ve learned along the way right here with you guys as a cofounder of The Studio Source. Turns out this unexpected career ended up even better than my original plan.

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