Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts and handcrafts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Eric Steeves, Founder of Plum Island Drift, located in Plum Island, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I try to create interesting coastal art created from hand-selected driftwood & materials off the shores of Plum Island, MA. I have lived on the island for over 25 years and truly feel a part of the soil out here. Big fan of any beach, but there is nothing like New England shores, and I consider it home. Each piece is thoughtfully sourced & designed and is a true piece of Plum Island.
Tell us about yourself
I have always looked at the world differently. As a kid, when I was not working with wood in carpentry projects, I was usually hiking through the sand dunes of Cape Cod, and I recall always seeing cool pieces of driftwood. That creativity has found a few different outlets throughout my life but now has become something much more significant with Plum Island Drift.
In grade school, I read a series of woodworking books by Eric Sloane and became more interested in carving, making furniture, and the use of old woodworking hand tools. After college, I made a few small wooden sculptures and kept working on carpentry projects. Over time the sculpture process has escalated.
The concept of found art has always fascinated me. The search for treasure (pirate or otherwise) has taken over a new meaning for me. I am always on the hunt along the river, in the marsh, on the beach, and sometimes even floating in the ocean for pieces of my driftwood treasure. My favorite pieces are the ones that have been transformed from a piece of a deck or dock or tree by the sun, sand, and wind to resemble some living creature. Rarely do I find a piece that jumps out at me and is nearly complete – I just help it along to its final state.
There are many great artists, especially in New England, making museum-quality, anatomically correct wildlife sculptures. I love those too, but I much prefer the knarled, beaten down, barnacle-encrusted leviathans of the deep. My hope is that the life force within these pieces resonates with people, and they also appreciate the utter coolness of a whale made in part over the years by a sand dune.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Having some of my sculptures featured in art galleries, Gallery auctions, and considered "REAL" art!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Brand awareness and reaching new customers.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
DO NOT! build a business to make money. Do what you love. Create your products for you - what you like and enjoy. Stay committed to your vision, and your people will find and support you!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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