If you’re a jewelry designer, you are going to LOVE this interview. I’ve had such a crush on Moorea Seal and her unique jewelry for months now. Her sense of style goes hand in hand with her business skills, which explains her rocketing success. Moorea reflects the Renaissance man with her artistic endeavors and she has some great advice for artists who want to diversity their businesses to encompass all of their passions. Happy reading! Be sure to check out Moorea’s blog as well!
You have such a myriad of jobs, including illustrator, jewelry designer, blog designer, musician, and more. How did you figure out a way to merge all of your skills into these creative professions?
I have always been excited about learning as many art forms as I possibly can ever since I was a little girl. My family didn’t have very much money growing up so I was always trying to come up with ways to entertain myself that were free Art making is also in my genes. My mom’s father was a working artist. My mom was an art minor in college, is a singer, and a fabulous writer. My dad’s side of the family is very driven, creative, and passionate about education and learning in general. I also am a little bit ADD, so it helps me to have a few jobs to juggle because if I am getting too antsy working on one project, I can just switch over to the next! I can take breaks from projects by just switching to a different project. And I work very hard so everything is still completed in a timely manner.
Professionally, it did take me quite a while to figure out what careers I wanted to pursue. I grew up with the thought that you were supposed to have one focused career for your entire life. But as I hit college, I realized that if I just work really hard, I can juggle whatever artistic jobs I decided to create. I am passionate about drawing, designing, fashion, writing, learning, changing, marketing, business, and more. So learning when to be focused and when to let myself explore and expand is what led me to juggling the specific jobs I now hold. I can’t take on anything more than I am currently doing. But I’m doing enough of a variety of things that I am extremely happy in my work.
I know that you have a degree in art from Seattle Pacific University and took a ton of different courses. Despite that amazing degree, what have you had to teach yourself to become a full-time artist?
When I went to college, I took tons of classes that taught me great technical skills in drawing, design, and crafting a multitude of art forms. But when I graduated from college, I had absolutely no idea how I was supposed to manage the business side of being a working artist. When it comes to business, I started at the very bottom, opening up my Etsy shop selling pieces I had made just from scraps of jewelry that were given to me to play around with. I invested $0 in my business when I started. And now as I look back I think, good God how did I get to where I am at now?
I guess learning the basics of the world of business all started with experimenting with an Etsy shop. Business is very logical but very, very time-consuming. Here are some key things I have to do for my artistic business: manage my etsy shop, do taxes, price items to make a profit but still at an affordable level, do wholesale and retail orders, communicate with clients, shipping and packaging, design my jewelry, create my jewelry by hand, manage a work space, market myself on the web, manage and update my blog, maintain my social media and advertising, create my own advertisements, network with people I dig and a few that I don’t dig but you’ve just got to for the job, illustrate portraits, do freelance graphic design for artist/musicians/bloggers and more, do blog design through Freckled Nest Design, research and purchase supplies, do all my own photography…the list goes on and on and on. And I can’t be mediocre/bad at any of it or I’ll fail! Yikes, right?
If you have an art-driven business and you haven’t been to school for art or business, oh well. You can learn in school and you can learn outside of school. Your development as an artist and a business person is completely dependent on the effort YOU put into it. Just work hard, research, plug away the hours, teach yourself, research, ask advice, and be confident!
What have you gained as an entrepreneur from the diversification of your jobs?
Variety is obviously how I benefit most I need lots of variety in my work so the inspiration can cross pollinate. When I see a new trend in color or shape in the jewelry world I can translate that new inspiration into my graphic design or illustration work, not just my jewelry work. With each project I work on, I learn something new. And that new thing I learn, be it a new color story, a new design technique, a new balance of shapes, whatever it is I can apply it to a wide range of projects in the future. It’s all about recognizing how all forms of art are intertwined and inspired by one another.
And finally, what advice would you give to other jewelry artists who want to get their work onto fashion models, into stores, and out on their customers?
Woo, that is a broad question! So… how to be successful? As a jewelry designer, you have a LOT of competition. It’s really hard, I know! How to be successful is a combination of all of those trillions of job requirements that I listed that I do in #2. You have to do everything with fervor and non-stop dedication. You have to be friendly and kind above all things. You can be so talented and hard working but if you are rude to your clients, rude to people you could potentially work collaborate with, you will have all the odds stacked against you. A successful business person has to be graceful with their words, honest and never fake, but never a push over. You have to get your name out there, and in the world of networking, people can tell when you are only about getting ahead. You’ve got to get your name out there but you can’t step on people to get where you are going. You absolutely need the support and kindness of those around you in the art world and business world. So always be kind, always be willing to support those around you who you believe in and they will do the same for you. I would be nowhere if it were not for the support of wonderful friends like Leigh-Ann, Kyla, and other ladies in my blogging community. And I genuinely want to help them reach and sustain their business goals too.
Know someone you want to see interviewed here? Or do you want to share some great advice yourself? Leave a comment and a link below!