As a part of CRAFTED, artists are given the opportunity to grow their personal business, and expand that business through collaboration. This week we are featuring three fantastic artists: Lindsay of Wood Brain, Dawn of Seadrift Soul and Meredith of meriebabie. Dawn has joined forces with Lindsay and Meredith to expand their market stall at CRAFTED. Their newly remodeled booth made its debut last weekend. This energetic trio sat down with us for an interview about their goals, aspirations, and collaboration. Read all about it below.
Can you introduce yourselves?
Dawn: I am Dawn of Seadrift Soul.
Lindsay: I am Lindsay Zuelich of Wood Brain.
Merideth: I’m Meredith Harbuck of meriebabie.
Have you always been a crafter, how did this come about and what do you do?
D: I don’t know if “crafter” is the right word for me, but I am into doing crafts. I am an artist, and I don’t think that’s something you have a choice to do. I got my first camera when I was nine, and, I starting doing jewelry around the same age…I’ve dabbled in other arts and crafts but those are the two that have always stuck, for me.
L: I was raised by a single father so my dad was always really adamant that I had to know how to use tools and how to put them all back in the right order. And later on he ended up being my tool helper. I have just always been into woodworking, building things, and designing things – constructing and using my hands.
M: My mom was a seamstress. I mean she worked full time but, she, at home, made all my prom dresses. I was in the furniture industry and we had leather scraps. I was a faux finisher and a painter, and I ended up making a mistake one day, I spilled some paint on leather, and it never came off. I’m like, wow, let’s take some leather from work, and maybe mom can sew a bag, and I’ll start painting them, for my friends, and for myself. It sort of escalated more and more people remarked on them, and I just got all this reinforcement…I always worked with my hands and it was just like, sort of, all these different forces came together and I ended up in the handbag industry.
How did you decide you wanted to do a business with your art?
M: Who has time to work on your art if it’s not your business? That’s the thing. That’s where time is really the most precious, for everyone, always.
D: I definitely have a lot of support from my family – I think that helps. [It’s the] same as Meredith and Lindsay. It’s interesting how well the three of us click together, has a lot to do with the dynamic and aspect of it. My mom is an artist, she was my art teacher in school growing up, and super supportive of anything in that vicinity.
L: They help you with that push. For me the biggest thing was I wanted to be my own boss. I worked as an artist for other people, for multiple years, and it got to the point where I wanted to run my own business and be my own boss. I want to schedule my own hours, my own product and how I’m gonna brand it, how I’m gonna go about selling it, the integrity that goes behind it…I want that to all fall back on me and not working for somebody else.
How did you hear about CRAFTED? How did that come about?
M: I used to live on 7th Street, in a loft, that showed for first Thursday, here in San Pedro. And I was like “Gosh we’re not getting enough foot traffic”. And Lindsay was showing her work in my space and her finance’s work in my space. These people came up to me and said, “Your stuff needs to be at CRAFTED. You need to look this up.” And I looked it up and signed up as fast as I could.
L: She was actually the fourth person to sign a lease, this was before any paint had been put on the walls, before any of the booths had been built. She had already signed a lease saying, “This is something I want to do.” We realized it was probably a smart idea for us to run partnership for us splitting time, money, and space-wise, so she was how I found out about CRAFTED, how I got in with the partnership as well.
M: Yeah we investigated it separately. I begged her to be my partner. Because I was [smiles] pregnant.
L: It wasn’t much of twisting my arm though.
M: Then we were lucky enough to meet Dawn!
D: I saw the first Sunset Magazine article; it was a three page spread, about CRAFTED being open… My intention, with my business, was to have a freestanding, brink and mortar, and is still my intention. I’d like to stay at CRAFTED and continue to grow my business to that point, which is why I have a curated booth. It has always been my intention to have a little shop. So with that said I thought that this was a great way to get my feet wet again. … I was fortunate enough to have Lindsay and Meredith as neighbors on a personal level and a professional level which is huge! You can have one without the other and it doesn’t work, and that has allowed us to start brainstorming about what we wanted collectively, for our businesses, for CRAFTED, none of us want to go anywhere, because we are here for the long haul.
You met Dawn through CRAFTED, how has your relationship helped develop your business, individually?
L: I can say for myself, just enjoying this endeavor, I’ve learned a lot about product supply, where to outsource different things. I didn’t know about certain places in downtown LA to go to. And just by working with other people who are using similar products…or know of that product because they’ve seen it through looking for their supplies making their own product. So that’s just helped me a lot. Even just learning business skills, even before starting CRAFTED…I didn’t have a seller’s permit a business license, I didn’t have any of that – they require that here. I’m learning from other people, “Oh go here to get that business license,” or “I went here to do that.” That has helped me take myself from hobby to business, I’ve learned that from working with two other professional artists.
D: Thank you.
Are you guys gonna try and make different things now, or incorporate each other’s work and expand your own art?
M: [Yes], it’s gonna allow us to expand on a lot of fronts. I think that’s really important, you can get worn down if you’re just by yourself, at home sometimes. It’s always great to have other people that are doing similar things, to encourage you. I think that’s a really big part of being at CRAFTED. You have all these people that do very different items than you do, but are very similar in nature. I think it’s really important to support each other. It’s been a great experience in that sense. It’s always the same. You are involved in some consistency, which is nice. It allows you to be more free with your creative energy…you can depend on that.
L: I think I’ve been able to grow with my product at CRAFTED is just seeing the clientele that comes through and gauging what things actually work well, and people have even asked, “Do you make this product?”… I’ll make sure that I write that idea down and I’ll start adding those ideas to my line and I notice those things start to sell. It’s the response I get from seeing the everyday foot traffic, and you don’t necessarily get that with a festival, because you’re not guaranteed you’ll get the same spot again, or get that same round of people that come through. Here we get a lot of the same clientele that will come through, repeat customers; I’ve even got a lot of special orders, which is huge for my growth, in that sense.
D: The more we’re all working together. The more crazy ideas we’re gonna have. I think that’s gonna be a good thing. I know we all inspire each other. Since I do my own photoshoots and have for my products. What I would like to do this month, cause I have a photoshoot I’m doing for a couple of wholesale people. [They] came in because of CRAFTED, so thank you CRAFTED, again, a positive of CRAFTED, is to be able to incorporate their products in the shoot. That way, we’re kind of branding our business, the three of us together. We can use that for our marketing, here at CRAFTED, because we kind of are three halves of a whole.
Good luck! So, finally, what’s your funnest, best, or weirdest CRAFTED memory?
D: [Smiles] Can we divulge our funnest CRAFTED memory?
M: What was that thing you had to make for that one…
D & L: Oh! Rhino Stories!
D: That is my favorite!
L: I get a lot of, basically, specialty orders, what we now classify as “rhino projects”. People come in with some odd wood thing and ask if I can either fix it, embellish it, change it, alter it of some sort, and being me, I pretty much say yes to everything! Because I love being challenged and things like that, so this lady came in with this rhino. It was made out of like, ebony, one solid heavy wood piece, but it had a broken ear. The ear was missing! She wanted me to make a second ear. How could I say no? So I was like….I can’t make you the identical but why don’t I make two new ears, we’ll pop this one out, make two new ones, so I made her two new ears. I wasn’t here the day she came to pick it up.
M: I was here!
L: Meredith! I said I needed a picture of this lady! So I get a lot of that! So now we call [special orders] the “rhino projects”!
I want a rhino ear headband!
M: That might be our collaboration! [laughs]
There ya go!