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  • Writer's pictureSteph Holmes

Coming Soon: My Own Online Art Shop

I’m opening my very own online art shop on Saturday, September 25 at 12 PM EST! Please mark your calendars! To get announcements and goodies sent straight to your inbox, make sure to subscribe to my newsletter.

I’ve always had dreams of running a shop full of things I’ve made myself ever since I was a little girl. My first ventures into entrepreneurship resulted in my badass lemonade / pokemon card stand getting ruthlessly shut down by the police because we (my siblings, cousins, and I) didn’t have a permit. Sorry, Officer. I was 8-years-old and hadn’t learned about permits yet.

Photo credit: Erik Mclean

At 16-years-old, I started selling prints of my fairytale-inspired artwork at an art shop in downtown York, and two years later I opened my first Etsy shop. Though it was fun and I did sell artwork, that little Etsy shop only received what was left of my energy between busy semesters as I went to art school. I never quite gave it the attention it needed to grow into something bigger.

Some of my first art prints:

"The Goose Girl" painting by Steph Holmes
"The Goose Girl", acrylic and pen on paper, 2006

"She Collected Pearls" painting by Steph Holmes
"She Collected Pearls", acrylic paint and pen on paper, 2006

Growing up on a budget means that my need to be financially stable and debt-free feels mandatory. I don’t take risks when it comes to my bank account, and without realizing it, I spent 10 years devoting myself to jobs that paid my student loans and bills but sucked the life, energy, and creativity right out of me. You’ll find the celebratory post when I quit my last job and made a transition to something way more peaceful here. I’m blessed to work somewhere that cares about me, supports me, and allows me the freedom to work less in the office and spend more time in my studio.

So about my new shop… the Cultural Alliance of York County offers this grant called the Artist Professional Development Grant. These grants are awarded to local York County artists quarterly. I guess I hadn’t realized how beat down I’ve felt over the last 10 years until my cursor was hovering over the “submit” button and I was about to send in this grant application that I had worked over and over for several hours. I was surprised to feel a sense of fear at being rejected, fear at failing my project, and a discomfort at asking anyone else for money. Overall, I feel like a fairly confident person, but I think this was a pocket of hidden fear that had been slowly growing inside me for a long time. Well, I hit that “submit” button anyways and was ecstatic to receive an email back a few weeks later with news that I was being awarded the grant! The little girl inside me danced. The adult girl that I am also danced. I could not be happier!

My application proposed using the funding to support me opening that online art shop that I’ve been dreaming about for years. This isn’t like having an Etsy shop where I’m sitting in a marketplace filled with a gajillion other makers, this is my own space that I have complete creative control over.

My frugality is the reason why I’ve been able to keep my creative practice alive all these years, but I am at a point now that not having basic office equipment is doing more harm than good. I have built a website, a social media presence, and continue to run an Etsy store all without having my own computer, camera, scanner, or fully-functioning printer. This grant allows me to go from spending hours painstakingly Macgyvering everything together with my phone to running my business in an efficient way so I can spend more time actually creating in my studio. Thanks to the Cultural Alliance of York County and their funders, I can purchase the equipment I need to launch my online product business as well as hire a Creative Business Consultant to help me build this beautiful new online shop.

I am launching my new online shop on Saturday, September 25 at 12 PM EST with a new line of original artwork, affordable prints, postcards, and more. My hands and mind have been busy getting ready for this launch and I couldn’t be more excited to share the details with you soon. Again, if you want to get an announcement sent straight to your inbox with details, please consider subscribing to my newsletter.

My first postcard design:

"Still Life with Bowl of Citrons after Garzoni", marker drawing with digital coloring, 2021

If any of this resonates with you, please just submit that application, use the PTO that you’ve rightfully earned at work, allow yourself to dream up a new career if you want one, cull down some unnecessary expenses and use that money to buy yourself guitar lessons, just do the thing despite your fear.

Lastly, thank you again to the Cultural Alliance for this opportunity!

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