Introduction to this guide
This guide was originally written to share with an American audience exactly how I became a working artist, beyond the oh, wow, how does one do that! reaction I had when the January “26 Paper Flower Artists to Follow on Instagram” article came out on Design*Sponge in 2016. (Haven’t seen it? Go ahead and look at all the paper flower magic. I’ll wait!)
That oh wow moment ignited my passion. My mind and hands were occupied and my questions started: where do I buy those materials, how do I make that flower; you’d like to buy this bouquet? I can ship that... can I teach you? I can teach you, I can show you, let’s make these!!
In a relatively short amount of time, and before I had my baby that June of 2016, I’d shipped over a half-dozen orders, taught a class, had my picture in the paper and, well, learned a lot!
However, moving from crafting basic bouquets on my kitchen table to teaching hundreds of people around the world how to make realistic paper flowers as an entire process took time, over several years! So before you settle in to read my pointers, know this: you are not failing by moving deliberately and slowly towards your goals.
This guide is my advice gleaned from my experience in the last five years and has many ideas that you can use, modify, or re-invent. This is not a get-rich-quick guide, a solve-your-life pamphlet or even a “step by step to wealth” sort of thing. This is about logic, and using your gifts to advance your work from hobby to "Honey, I outgrew the studio". I haven't outgrown my studio yet, by the way! One of my personal goals is to remain debt-free while scaling my business (more on that in Part 14).
Okay, you may think starting a business means ordering business cards, but in this case, it is not. If you are starting a business as an artist, you first must focus on the endless pursuit of aesthetics—in other words, practice, practice, practice!