Joy Poe, “Key Lime Pie” Graphite, Encaustic and Acrylic on Panel, 2015
My mom always tells me that every new skill learned is a specialized tool for my toolbox. For a long time I lamented that my art degree didn’t help me do the things I had dreamed. I drew nudes for goodness sake! (My dad still doesn’t quite get it!) How does a visual understanding of the human form translate into a useful tool in the “real world?” Well, for ten years that understanding helped me build a thriving massage therapy practice. My knowledge of the body was informed by years of drawing, long before I ever sat through an anatomy class for my licensure.
Massage therapy helped me develop my natural curiosity as I researched how to help my clients with injuries and discomfort. Perhaps more importantly, massage created a strong sense of empathy for others, which in my humble opinion, is so important to just being a good human. In the dark, over hours, years and two presidential elections, I learned how to talk comfortably with people from all walks of life. I can see, now, how art and massage mixed to grow a strong business. I hardly knew what I was doing, and I succeeded (for the most part)!
Supremely pregnant with my second child at the Transylvania Farmers Market, Brevard
After some bucket-list level things happened in my life, (think marriage and children) I found myself yearning to return to my first love: art-making. I had never really stopped making art, but I had never really pursued it with intention.
I started making felt flowers as a way to cope with post-partum anxiety, and discovered the world of creative entrepreneurship. Esty stores, pop-up shops, farmers markets, and festivals became testing grounds for business skills I never knew I possessed. I recall thinking, “If I can find success making felt flowers, I wonder what could happen if I pursued the art I am passionate about?”
When Heartfelt Flowers began to have scaling issues, I knew I needed some new tools. I began the Masters of Entrepreneurship at Western Carolina University with the dream of finding out what I could do if I followed my passion for making art and supporting others.
Now, the time has come to combine my ideas for Worthwhile Studio into a strong business plan. The excitement of finishing school is outweighed only by my hope to launch Worthwhile Studio. It will be small at first, to allow me to learn how to use these new entrepreneurial tools. What has continually surprised me throughout this program is seeing how much creativity and innovation go in to starting a business. I guess my mom was right. You never know what tools you might need in the future.