November 2013 was when I first opened the doors (figuratively speaking, of course) to this small business of mine and invited you all inside. Light Rust Studio was my first venture out into entrepreneurship. I remember being timid and unsure but after months of hard work, it felt like it was the moment to launch. I put out a collection of holiday cards on Etsy and kept an anxious eye waiting for customers to roll in. While that first batch was mostly family and friends supporting this crazy person right here, it felt good to finally have my foot in the door and truly begin my journey. I will always be grateful for those very important people who showed nothing but love during that time.
Owning my own business has been tough. There's a constant pressure to make it work, do the right thing for the business, take the correct forward steps, make enough money, and—at the same time—be sure it's still what I love and am passionate about. Having a support group of family and friends is what makes all that not feel so scary. I also learned over time how important it is to have a community of fellow small business owners to turn to, exchange advise with, brainstorm, support, and who you feel just wholeheartedly understand everything you are going through during this wild adventure. Because of this path I have chosen, I have found some unique, loving, caring, kind souls who have become some of the greatest friends.
Over these past three years, it has become clear to me just what I want my business to stand for. Through that I have be able to better understand who I am as a person as well as an artist. Sea of Atlas has become a place that embodies individuality, contains a need for adventure, supports a safe place to build community, and is the creative outlet I am continuously pleased to have. As each turning point comes and goes, as things evolve and continue to do so, I've come to realize that while you can plan for your future, you can't predict it. When I first started out as Light Rust Studio, I had no idea that I would move to London. I had no intention of becoming a custom design studio. All I knew was that I was trying to make things work in my 300 sq ft Boston apartment. These are all changes, that as life shifted and I grew, came to the forefront. At each and every moment of our lives, we know nothing more than what is in our past and present. As things come our way, we must grow. Our wants, desires, inspirations, and needs change. It's so important to embrace this—to not let outdated dreams hold us back. If I had continued down the path of paper goods, I can say with certainty I would not be as happy as I am now. Allowing myself to move away from that dream and jump into custom work did some serious good for my soul. It was what was right for me.
Building a business takes time. It is hard work but good work and I recommend it to anyone that has the patience for that. Nothing that sticks around and has solid footing was built overnight. It is easy to get discouraged and feel uncertain but if you let that warped reality control your future, you will soon become stagnant. I've found that no matter how hard you work and how successful you become, there will always be lows. Maybe those lows are the business is slow, money isn't as good as you want it to be, or you aren't sure about your next step. In those times, take a step back and evaluate. Those lows are where you grow the most and where you can find yourself again so you can get on the best path possible for you.
Where Sea of Atlas is right now feels pretty darn good. When I look back at these past three years at the lesson I have learned, the loving and supportive people in my life, the new friends I have met along the way, and the growth of the studio, I can't help but smile. In 2013 when I returned from my first European adventure in Italy, my life had changed. I knew I needed to create my own path and begin that journey right then and there. From that point on, I have worked hard and poured so much into this business of mine. As we move forward, I can proudly say I still have the love and passion that I had back then for what I do now. I'm excited to see where this journey continues to take me in the many years ahead.
Thank you to all my family, friends, and supporters during these years. I could not have done any of this without you and for that I am forever grateful!