One whole year. Wow.
A whole year just like that.
When I graduated from college in 2015 and started working within the corporate world, I didn’t anticipate this. My colleagues discovered quickly that I enjoyed art, and I booked three commissions during that first holiday season. I made a few hundred bucks, and was just thrilled that people enjoyed what I created. I was working 60+ hour work weeks, but it inspired me to pull out my sketchbook more often and take advantage of the time I had to create.
In the years that followed, I was commissioned to do a painting every few months or so, and am so grateful to those of you who were my first customers! In 2016 I created a meager website that showcased my work (even if it didn’t actually have a shop yet!), and by 2018 I was running a consistent commission business while having already achieved 5 promotions in my full time gig.
I upgraded my website to take online payments (seems small, but that’s actually a huge step for small businesses!), and that year I created thirteen Badass Ladies portrait over a two month span, releasing my very first calendar as we crossed into 2019. That’s where things really took off. I began offering prints and every hour home from my corporate job was spent managing B Phelps Art from our small, beachside apartment.
I created goals, a very basic marketing strategy, dedicated more time towards upkeep of my website, and planned my releases and commission calendar better. I teamed up with She's So Cool Pod for an epic RBG giveaway. We got engaged! I created, and created, and created. Year two of my Badass Ladies calendar was even stronger than the first.
In 2020, well, we already know what happened. I prepared for rebranding under my new name, created a wedding segment of my website, looked forward to another successful year as a part-time artist while I prepared for next steps in the field of Talent Acquisition.. and Covid hit. I was furloughed for a month. We were all scared, angry, hopeless, and unsure.
With all of my “extra time” I created my first ever collection release: The QuaranTIDE Collection. Just like that, I had some hope again. My art grounded me, and I booked even more commissions and was able to bring in a livable income while waiting to see what my future held.
I eventually got the call that I was needed back in the field as a manager, and as an essential worker experienced some of the hardest work (and conditions) I could imagine. The world was terrifying for a billion different reasons, and we were charged as though with electricity. The community thanklessness to those working at the expense of their health was sometimes overwhelming. I had a difficult choice ahead.
I was unhappy, and, as many of us experienced, the decline in my mental health became too difficult. I loved my job, but the world was still not anywhere near a place where I would be able to get back to it. Companies quite simply were not hiring - talent acquisition was not in the foreseeable future. I decided to take the leap to go full-time with my artwork.
August 1st officially marked one year of running this business full-time, and I am so proud. I joined Emily Jeffords' Collective, and with guidance of other creatives I elevated my business goals and business itself. I’ve created hundreds of pieces over the last year: another calendar, SO many amazing commissions, ARTcuteries, donation prints, the Cover of Land Collection, Box Sets, the Repotted Collection (coming soon!), and so much more. I got married to my favorite person.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for any and every part you’ve had in this journey. Big or small, a social media share or a purchase, a quick proof-read or a tag - I’m so grateful to you. Cheers to another year! 🥂