[00:00:00] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Well, hello. Hello everyone. How are you doing this week? It's me, Kellee Wynne. I'm coming to you from the Made Remarkable Podcast, and today we have a really amazing conversation. Probably my favorite that I've had so far on this podcast, even though I've loved. Talking to every guest so far. This was special for me because I've known Emily Mann.
I've known of her for almost the decade that I've been on Instagram, and though our paths cross over and over and over again, this is the first time we've had a chance to chat face to face. And I think we could have talked all day long. We have so much in common, so much relatable, good, juicy stuff to talk about.
What I love about having her on the podcast right now is that she's bringing us a different point of view. She's built a business different from the way most of us as artists have built businesses. And instead of going to the gallery route or selling online, or even making an art course, Emily Mann is deeply entrenched in the hospitality industry, selling her work to big hotels, cruise lines, even hospitals and office buildings and restaurants and designer homes.
And she gets to make these beautiful, huge installations. She has her own workshop where she's hired people to help her make the work that she makes, kinda like. As I say in the podcast, Andy Warhol, you know, he had the ideas, he worked on it, and then he let his studio artists help him execute an idea. And so we've got our own little mini version of that with Emily Mann coming up with and creating some of the most fantastical works of art, some that I've even recognized when I've been in hotels.
And what a fun. Way, interesting way and creative way as an outlet to be an artist and make an income. Plus, she's just so likable. She has so much knowledge about the world, so much passion, and she's just really fun to talk to. So I have no doubt you're gonna love this conversation. But before we get into that, I just wanna let you know a few things coming up.
It's right around the corner is a virtual art summit. It's my annual event. I've been working really hard behind the scenes and. I'm really excited for this year. We're leaning really heavy on the idea of play and returning to play and pulling together talented artists to let their voices shine as really a highlight of what I get to do in the business that I've created for myself.
And my whole goal in my business is to help other artists thrive. So I've always loved the collaboration, and this form of collaboration really lights me up because I get to put the spotlight on what other artists are doing and make sure that they have a voice, that they find new audience, that you get to connect with them.
And every year when I do this, I just realize it's, it's an opportunity for all of us to really make. The industry as a whole, a better place. So the Virtual Art Summit has so many layers of goodness from. The customer, the community that gets to participate in it, and then the artists that are contributing to it.
I admire each and every one of 'em. I've gotten to interview each and every one of 'em, so you're gonna hear some of those interviews coming up. But more importantly, their voice, their talent, their ideas, how they teach, how they connect with people. That gets to be part of our life for almost the entire month of June, but starting May, we're gonna be releasing all the information, who's in the Virtual Arts summit, and how you'll be able to participate this year. So super fun things coming up, but more importantly, super amazing. Artists coming your way, so look for that.
You can also go to virtualartsummit.com and make sure that your name is on the list if you wanna learn more information. And one last thing. I'd really love for you to share this podcast, I've been working really hard to grow its customer base, and I think today's episode's gonna be one of those that you're just going to want to share with others.
So share it in your Instagram. Tag me @kelleewynnestudios or @maderemarkable. That's our podcast Instagram account. And I'll re-share your post. Drop in the dms. Make sure you follow Emily, man. She's at Ink and Indigo. You're gonna wanna see what she's doing and connect with her and tell her how much you loved this podcast.
Okay? So much love to all of you out there. Thank you so much for coming in every week and listening and being part of this little teeny corner of the world that we have carved out for ourselves. All right, now on to the podcast.
How are you doing?
[00:05:18] Emily Mann: I'm good. I'm really good. It's gorgeous here in Atlanta and I'm working on all kinds of stuff and, been gardening,
[00:05:25] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I wanna say known you because we've had an online, I feel like I know you. Yes. Since probably at least 2014 is when I got on Instagram and that's when we came. Yeah. And let's just be honest here. Emily Jeffords had a free Yeah. Facebook group and then there's a lot of us that have been, oh yes. Since then.
[00:05:44] Emily Mann: I think I had forgotten the genesis cause I was like, how did we all know each other back then?
And Instagram was so much smaller. I feel very lucky to have had such a cool creative community in that way. Like that my kids were still really little, I was just starting to do studio on my own, and it was such a positive, like sweet.
It still is in a lot of ways. Like a lot of us who started out then I feel like are still cheering each other on and we just have done such different stuff since then.
[00:06:11] Kellee Wynne Conrad: We all have gone in a lot of different ways and many who have grown to have really great businesses. Yeah. So I think that's exciting, but it's it's funny how we still reminisce.
Yeah. The good old day. The good old day. But honestly, it doesn't even matter if it changed or not. We've changed so much. Yeah. I mean like, totally like almost 10 years now.
[00:06:36] Emily Mann: I know. Which is so wild. And I didn't even realize I had like, been officially Inked and Indigo for 10 years until going through some paperwork for something else and I saw that like had incorporated or whatever as LLC'd 10 years ago I guess we need to have a party. Like, that was just me, in my basement by myself you know, trying to get kids to nap and like, after they'd go to sleep and,
[00:06:58] Kellee Wynne Conrad: yeah. Right. Yeah. And now they're, teenagers, right?
[00:07:01] Emily Mann: Yep. My oldest is a teenager. I have a 10 year old and I have a seven, almost eight year old.
[00:07:07] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Did I miss that there was another baby or maybe
[00:07:09] Emily Mann: Probably I stopped posting almost anything about kids. Right. My husband he did like information security stuff. So from the earliest days. Hey, same. Yes. Really? Yeah. So he was like, don't be posting about kids. He was never a jerk about it or anything. But like, no, I would post some, but once I started to have like actual other, random people following me, he was like, you know, that's really weird. I'm like, it's not weird to everybody else, but I get why it's dangerous and seeming and weird to you for sure.
[00:07:35] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Right. And, I always wonder if people think like that I have a family and that I'm married. But yeah, I know, really share it ever because like maybe I'll show the back of my husband's. Yeah. As we're hiking or something, like, I talk about it occasionally, but I don't share family photos much.
Probably because, when I'm online on Instagram, I'm thinking about art, I'm thinking about business. I'm not really thinking about sharing my, family.
[00:08:00] Emily Mann: Yeah, same. And I like having a little bit of a boundary around it, but I also can appreciate others who have like managed to work it into their, yeah.
I don't think there's anything weird about that. It's just, for me it's always been much cleaner and easier I mean, not always, but for a long time now. And also , I'm sure other, parents can relate to you get so sick of being identified as a parent, especially through the young years where you're just like, yes, yes, I am that, and I'm excited about all that.
But, it's like I have this whole other side and I don't necessarily always have to like marry the two.
[00:08:31] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Thank you for saying that because I love as, I mean you, maybe you feel the same way, but having started a business, a successful business and thriving, I love having a different identity other than mom, wife.
Yeah. Because I was a stay-at-home mom. Technically, I'm still a stay at home mom because you're like, watch me staying at home and doing all of this from right here. So I do love having that identity. That's my own really. Yeah. I love having that and that's how I identify online really as a artist and an entrepreneur.
And I'm fine. Other people have beautifully integrated their family life into their online persona. It just was never something that worked for me. Yeah. And so I get that. Except for that, I wanna say one thing that I have loved is occasionally you're really good about speaking out about what you believe in.
[00:09:25] Emily Mann: Oh, thank you.
[00:09:26] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I know that you don't make it your whole platform, but when I hear from you, I wanna tell you what actually the impact that made for me. Oh, I hate to go back to a time where, like right now, things I'm like, I've just turned off the news. I'm done with it. But. After the 2016 election, we had our marches on Washington.
Yes. And across the world. And believe me, I was devastated by that election. Like really? Like you
Yeah. Still gives me the uh, yeah. Like it still makes me, yeah. So if anyone who's listening wants to know where I stand on that, it still makes sense. Yeah. I absolutely, I don't keep that a secret, but yeah. The fact that you got on a bus and went to DC to March.
Oh yeah. I was like, you know what? I can't just sit in my seat. So I didn't go to DC because that amount of crowds like freaked me out. Yeah. So I marched in Annapolis and I felt, oh, that was so that I could go out and, you know, feel that energy of everybody coming together.
[00:10:33] Emily Mann: Yeah. I mean truly here in Atlanta, there are so many, just even on my neighborhood level, There are so many women in particular, but also like, you know, people who identify all different ways, who Right.
Are such on the ground activists who Yeah. Are just so inspiring and who are doing this all the time and are calling other people in all the time. And it's endlessly inspiring. It's, it's frustrating to be, pulled in so many directions where I don't feel like my day-to-day impact is what I want it to be.
And one of the things I've loved catching up on your podcast is hearing you talk about, you know, being an aligned business with your ethics and everything. Like how you can have a bigger impact and how that's all sort of big picture better for the world.
And I do think we have to literally stand up for what we believe in and, be activists for all these things we care about, but also just as a business person, the positive impact you can have, the more successful you are. All of those things like that really speaks to me and is so important to what we're doing,
[00:11:36] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Even if we don't have all the time and energy to be full-time activists just speaking, right.
For the injustices, make a difference. And just think about that, Emily, the fact that I saw you get on a bus, it, it propelled me to have a bigger voice.
[00:11:50] Emily Mann: Yes. I love that. I'm so motivated by these people like I, a lot of times will go really dark on social media for months at a time, and that's when I feel, especially in the last several years where there's so much bad shit happening in the world that it feels so like crazy to try to post anything but.
That's a really hard cycle. And I actually would love to hear about other creatives, how they've sort of moved through that, because to me it has been very hard to just keep posting about like, I made this beautiful thing for a hotel. Well, there's like, you know, all this another school shooting.
Yeah. Right. Exactly. Exactly. And, I don't think there's a perfect answer, but I, I do think I'm always more inspired to action by other people who are sharing. And that's such a good, like, obviously like hearing that from you, that just shows you, like, that's the thing to do.
Like, we don't have to question that, that's the right thing to do.
[00:12:42] Kellee Wynne Conrad: And thank you, by the way. Thank you Atlanta. I've never been so proud of women and especially black women for showing Absolutely. For our country. Yep. And. Yeah. Anyhow, we don't have to go into a deep political discussion. Yes. But you and I could do a whole episode just on this. For sure. They could.
And I have taken time to speak up and lately I've had a hard time speaking up because like, pretty much my platform would have to turn into just, a social justice platform. That's it.
[00:13:12] Emily Mann: Same. You just wanna be, you know, the guy holding the sign, but you holding the sign with. Also today this happened. Right. You know? Yeah. And today again, yeah.
[00:13:20] Kellee Wynne Conrad: And today again, but then you come to a point, and I think this is where I've finally had to just come to accept that by continuing to put art into the world and to speak beauty into the world, there's still joy that's being spread. And when I get messages back from my customers, from my students saying how much it's made a difference in their lives, I'm like, okay, this is what I'm capable of doing.
This is where my emotional level is. I am not, uh, go down down to DC even though I live close to here and march kind of a person on a regular basis. But I am one that can help transform lives in a small Yep. And big way now that I'm coaching people in their business and have a bigger microphone with a podcast to remind people that their morals and their ethics and their beliefs are needed in this world and they can speak about it.
And so I'm like, if I can just do a little bit. Then I'm okay.
[00:14:10] Emily Mann: You're doing it. It's coming through. It really is. It really is coming through.
[00:14:13] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Thank you. I wanna speak on the fact that you, cuz we're gonna interweave this into how you got into your business, which to me is fascinating because I do talk to a lot of people who either sell art or their teaching classes, but you have a completely different model, which was only part of the reason why I wanted to bring you on, because that's fascinating. Because, selfishly, I just wanted to meet you.
[00:14:38] Emily Mann: Yes. Oh, I'm so thrilled. I mean, I do feel like I already know you, so I'm just like, okay, girl.
[00:14:42] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I realize like there were times where I'm like, why does she just disappear off of Instagram? Doesn't she care about building her business? And I think I've been reflecting on it maybe for the last year, but especially as knowing you were coming up here, I'm like, she has built a business that doesn't require social media on a constant basis. Yeah. How brilliant. And how freeing and tell me more.
Yeah. Look, I don't think my business will ever be without social media because of the nature of what I built. Definitely. But there are ways to network and build an entire business without having to constantly be a slave to Zuckerberg. Yeah.
[00:15:19] Emily Mann: So in the earlier days I did do, More offering my art directly to the public via my website, through, you know, a small launch.
And I did that for a couple years, or maybe not maybe even a year, but in the background, I had always been building this business where almost everything I make, almost all of my clients are interior designers and art consultants. Mm-hmm. So those are people working mostly in the hospitality, some corporate, some healthcare, kind of fields.
So I'd always been building that. That was always my main, in, you know, to the art business. But, I did dabble with trying to sell to the public, but what I realized so quickly, which I really love, like, I love being able. Offer something up to the people who have been following along or people who are excited about my work.
But what I realized is it's so hard like the amount of sales I would have to do of you knowing a, a bunch of 24 by 20 fours or 10 by 10, like, it, it just doesn't make sense. I would have to sell an unreal amount of art to make an actual income. And, I really kind of realized, and this is something I think you've talked about a lot, is like, wait, if an niche can be a good thing and it's not a bad thing that I have this client base who already knows my work, loves my work.
I have an inside because I was an art consultant for many years, so I know what my client needs. I sort of know the pain points, and I'm professional. You're, you're professional. Yeah. I have something to offer because they work with all different artists like art consultants.
And people who work in that way, that you don't have to have the sort of insider view to it that I have had to work with consultants, they wanna work with a range of artists, they wanna work with new artists, established artists. I've sort of carved out this niche for myself, making this body of work that, I'm sort of known for.
And being able to, to create new things that oftentimes can work in these, spaces, but not exclusively. I mean, I think my art, you know, should live everywhere, but this is definitely,
[00:17:17] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I think it definitely transcends just the hospitality market. Yes. However, what you offer that many artists don't is a large scale.
Yes. And, you know, that large scale, many of us, because we are thinking of selling online to our customer base that we met on Instagram at Right. You know, two or $300 a piece. Right. And thinking someday we're gonna make six figures off of that. And finally having the hard realization that it's really hard to build that.
[00:17:47] Emily Mann: It's like, wait, the math is just not, it's not gonna math.
[00:17:51] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I be so good at selling to customers online and produce so much that it's possible. Now, I do know artists who sell well. To their customer base course. But it is honestly, I can even talk to people who sell in galleries and you know, a gallery's gonna take 50%, but it's totally worth it when they're doing their job in marketing.
You still aren't making a huge amount of money, even if you're selling weekly. Yeah. But I love the fact that when you switch gears and you looked at it and said, okay, large scale work, right? Yes. That, that we couldn't really sell online to our right customer base. Yeah. This is what hotels and hospitals and offices and big designer homes, that's what they need and they're looking for and it's harder home.
And you have this unique point of view. I love because it's dimensional and textual a lot of your work. Yes. And it's like, That's what I'm all about For sure. It's hitting the market right there in this perfect sweet spot. And you're right, you picked a niche and it's really working for you. Yes.
Which also means that you're always in connection and networking with the designers and these other companies and not needing to be seen on social media as much.
[00:19:04] Emily Mann: For sure. I mean, I will say that no matter sort of what your approach is to your social media, it's worth having. Right? Right. Because no matter what I do on my website, which I have spent so much time and money on, and I am so proud of where it is right now, it still has so far to go.
But, people are still going to screenshot stuff they saw on my Instagram and send it to me and ask me about it. Designers, right. Consultants. Yeah. So it's still worth doing and it's still, you know, going to play into your SEO and all these other things. And I'm inspired by it, I'm inspired by the other people I'm seeing on there I was a early, early Pinterest girl. I actually invented Pinterest before it was a thing, and I'm forever bitter about this because I had the idea for Pinterest before it ever became a thing. Oh my goodness. It would be amazing if, if you could just save all the images and it would be like a pin board, but it would be online.
And my husband, who's a programmer, totally was like hearing me out. And then probably within a few months is when Pinterest came out and I was like, oh man, my million dollar idea.
[00:20:06] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Well when those ideas, when the muses come and you ignore 'em, they go on someone else's. That's right.
Elizabeth Gilbert in, in the Big Magic. Yes. So
[00:20:15] Emily Mann: yes. Ben or whoever from Pinterest got that one. But point being like, I've always been like a collector of images from when I was a little kid, I was like cutting out of Vogue magazines, cutting out interior magazines, you know, so that's, I still get that from Instagram.
I'm still a hard copy. I still love a hard copy magazine stuff too, So I'm still getting a lot from it, and I do think it's worth put putting energy into for sure. And obviously some people it is gonna be their main, whether it's Instagram or TikTok or whatever, avenue for selling and connecting with people.
But it does make me feel bad when I see, more emerging artists get really frustrated when they've put all this energy into this one thing. And you know what you've said, own your platform, like, own your platform. You just cannot simply count on any of these social media giants to be our, home base and the main place.
Like, make a great website. It can be so simple. I think a lot of us creative entrepreneurs tend to overthink it and are our own worst enemy. Yeah. But I think something is better than nothing as far as website goes and, definitely. Put something up there. So you have a place you are directing people back to, whether it's, just a website or hopefully a newsletter I still think all those things are important and I'm definitely trying to get my shit together around that because, from what I share on Instagram or even what makes it to the website is a fraction of what we're making.
[00:21:33] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I know. Like there's so much more, like I'd love to see the documentation of just Yes. Projects. You're working on the videos, I get it what you're saying, it's not that you can go completely without Instagram, it's just that you don't have to be a slave to it. Yes. Presence that you need to have, it's still, you need to be putting some of what you do on Instagram, even if Absolutely.
You are not driving. The majority of your clientele from Instagram, it's like own your space on all the domains. In fact, one of of the things you're coaching people to do is like, you have an idea for a business, go buy the url. Yes. And oh, that was not the net or the.net is, if it's not a.com, it's not your business.
[00:22:13] Emily Mann: Yeah. I would love to see how many I still own from all my, I probably have
[00:22:19] Kellee Wynne Conrad: several hundred URLs almost. Do you really? Yes,
[00:22:23] Emily Mann: because I believe that actually
[00:22:25] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I wanna own it and I want the.com because I never want a trademark infringement, copyright infr, business confusion. If I can only totally like, and then of course I have to let things go.
But a lot of, I'm using a lot
[00:22:38] Emily Mann: of. Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, so that's exciting. I
[00:22:41] Kellee Wynne Conrad: get what you're saying though, like just even as, but your website is gorgeous. I just spent Oh, thank you. This morning. I'm just coming to Atlanta to come see your studio one day.
[00:22:51] Emily Mann: Please do. Please come. This is something that was one of the things about getting a, , outside my house studio is I want people to be able to come to this space.
I didn't really wanna be like, come to my basement, although there's no shame in that. but this was definitely an unfinished, rough basement that I was working out of prior to having a studio. and we've actually grown, I'm in, this room is adjacent to the more functional studio part.
And so now we have a room I can think in and have a computer in where there's not just constant noise and where we can put finished works and not worry about, damaging them. So that's been very exciting to sort of grow into more space.
[00:23:26] Kellee Wynne Conrad: So I'm gonna tell a little story and then we're gonna go into your history.
Sure. I wanted to do what you were doing. I didn't have any experience and I didn't know what I was doing. But prior to coming online as a teacher, I spent probably 10 or so months trying to build up a reputation with interior designers to sell art. Mm-hmm. And the, there were so many mistakes that I made.
Like my idea was in designer homes. I'd love to be in hotels, I would love to be in boutique hotels in France or whatever, like, but I brought on a whole group of artists that I was representing. Oh, yeah. Right. I didn't do any research beforehand. I didn't see how the market worked. I didn't understand how designers worked.
I was great at connecting with them, but then the only sales I was making, Was my own art and not all the people I was representing, which should have been a big clue right there, is that they really don't need to see your whole portfolio. They can say, yeah, that's great. And then I would meet with them and show 'em everything and then nothing would work out.
And I'm like, oh wait, it's already hard enough to sell my art. Why am I trying to sell everybody else's?
[00:24:38] Emily Mann: Oh my gosh. No kidding. Right,
[00:24:40] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Right. And I even had a gallery space to be able to showcase the artist, but it was like after 10 months I'm like, okay, I quit this.
[00:24:49] Emily Mann: Yeah. Shouldn't feel this hard, right? Yeah.
[00:24:52] Kellee Wynne Conrad: It was too hard for me. However, had I gotten more education and understood the industry better and really just focused on selling my own work, I think that I could have made it work. But oh, for sure. You could have so soon. Maybe I was smart enough to know that wasn't gonna be a direction that could sustain me mentally and emotionally.
And I'm so glad I am where I am now, but I just wanted to let you know, knowing more about what you're doing and understanding your customer's needs before you even start probably will be like the key to success. And you understood your customer's needs because you worked in the industry.
So now I'm gonna turn it over to you and see your history, having worked as an art consultant. Mm-hmm. I seriously, like I'm gonna be an art consultant, like, did not work at all.
[00:25:38] Emily Mann: Yeah, no. Well it's funny cuz it's kind of this, what you'd think would be a small niche within the art world, but when you really think about it, you're like, wait, so every hotel needs art, every hospital needs art, every corporate headquarters and you're thinking, wait, who's putting all this art in these places?
So, right. You know, so these firms, and actually I, I kind of lucked out cause Atlanta is kind of a hub for some of the earlier consulting firms. There were several here. Um, so these people, you know, are most of them art lovers just like us? Consultants are studio artists themselves formerly, or art history majors or other design interior design adjacent folks.
And so what they're usually doing is working with an interior design firm that will be kind of handling the whole hotel project, but the art consultant is just handling the art. So they have to specify art for every space within a hotel or where I would say most of my work is still in hotels.
Mm-hmm. So that's everything you'd see from monumental skill pieces that you'll see in a lobby down to well every corridor needs art, every guest room needs art, you know, all of those. So, I had never heard of consulting as a, studio artist in college, like when we talked about careers or something.
Like I got taken for a field trip to the nightmare, carpet design cubicle, up here in North Georgia is a huge, carpet design places. And so they're like, this is one job you could do. And it was just like a mile of people on a desk designing, you know, carpet.
And I was like, oh, no, no, that's not gonna work for me. There was so many things that weren't on my radar as what you could do as an artist, but I always knew I wanted to be like an artist, right. I moved to Atlanta knowing that, I would find something in the creative field.
But, I was ready to hustle and I just happened to meet somebody who worked at a consulting firm and I, heard what they did and was like, that is what a cool job. Like, that's all the things I love. I've always been super passionate about business and, you know, obviously loved art. So I gotten in there as an intern by just being super persistent and annoying and showing up and being like, I'll work for free.
So I did that for a little bit, became a project manager, and then became a consultant. And did that for years. And then when I had my first daughter, consulting is amazing, but it is very, very, like a lot of hours, a lot of travel and I'm still working as many hours for sure, but it was a very demanding job.
Like it's, and I knew I wanted to be able to be more flexible when my kids were little. Mm-hmm. So I slowly transitioned and did consulting on the side and, and more and more art. And then, I had this built in clientele of people who knew me, who always knew I was a maker, and who I could sort of bounce ideas off of or could just tell me I was , way off base with something, I had, friends in, the business and that was for sure such a good in.
Mm-hmm. But then there's so many people outside of, I mean, there are consulting firms all over the country, all over the world. And, I have gotten better and better I think over the years at. Being able to reach out to new people. And I have, my right hand here is named Laura, she's our studio manager.
She's amazing for all of this. We really are able to approach new consultants or interior designers or sometimes architecture firms and show them our range of work and sort of layout out our capabilities, I think in a really clear way. Which has helped grow. And then obviously, it has helped to keep posting my work online in all different ways, I would say I still get several new clients a year from, just consultants and stuff who find me online.
Yeah. So it's still important to do. And one thing I was gonna say about your experience is, for folks who are maybe thinking about reaching out to consulting firms and, are, approaching interior designers and consulting consultants about, Projects is the lead times are long for these things.
So it is not until probably a few years of doing it that you will have enough consistent work in the queue coming through to be that soul. Income or like a, a hugely supplemental income way to sell your work. So it's definitely, it takes a while. Cause a lot of these projects, they might approach you or you might approach them when they're just starting it.
It's blueprints, the ground hasn't been broken. Right.
[00:29:41] Kellee Wynne Conrad: So sometimes, so it's the consistency if that's the field you wanna go in, I didn't give it much time at 10 months. Right,
[00:29:49] Emily Mann: right. Yeah.
[00:29:50] Kellee Wynne Conrad: That's ok. I don't regret that, but I do look back and like my husband had told me many times, he goes, you quit, you've changed directions again.
But I think that would've been a successful path for you. Had you stuck to it. Maybe I just needed to reach out to Emily Mann and say, like, actually be doing,
[00:30:08] Emily Mann: I am so, open book. Anytime anyone wants to ask me questions, I'm so happy to help because it is like a weird little mysterious niche that I feel like not a ton of info still about.
You know how people can work with consultants
[00:30:20] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Right, like I knew the end goal is all these places need art. Yeah. And it depends on the situation, but how much they're willing to pay for it, whether it's prints or it's original or commissioned or whatever. And I think my favorite job I did was my arches were sold and I sold eight of them and had them all framed beautifully.
And that was a nice big chunk. But then after that I was like, I'm out. Yeah. I dunno what it was and I have a list of a hundred ways that people can make art or make money as an artist. Yes. Without selling their art or traditional ways of selling their art. and I know that's probably on the list, but that's one of the reasons I love talking to people like you, is like, let's just show the things that we don't even know are possible.
So many people they've become proficient. As an artist, I highly recommend that you're proficient before you go. Yeah. And try to make a big business at it. Know what you're doing, know what you're making, know your voice. And then they're like, okay, so now I'm supposed to get into a gallery where I'm supposed to sell my art online, which is great, but thinking outside of the box is what really connects us to the bigger opportunities and the potential to make a better income, you know?
Find the expert in the field and start learning more about it instead of winging it like I did.
[00:31:36] Emily Mann: Yeah. Yeah. No, it's no joke. And I'm still learning stuff, you know, each project brings, it's all sort of different, right?
I do so much different work and at different scales and for different people in different spaces. So, I'm still learning stuff even now, you know, however many years later. And I would like to like share this, listening to your podcast, I'm like, man, I should try to do a course, but that's such a, it feels like a big thing to, to take on.
But I'm like, man, it would be great to just be able to share this info with people.
[00:32:02] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Well maybe we'll have to talk about how that, because it's, it's a very valuable. Skill, and it's not like it's going away. There's still, you know, 8 billion people in the world in counting,
[00:32:14] Emily Mann: Right? Yes. I mean, we just had two meetings this week, like the people I hadn't even heard of, like consultants and I've been in this business for so long and there's still people, and most of the people, I was having a meeting with look to be, quite young.
There's fresh new consulting firms popping up, you know, I do think there'll continue to be like new ways that people wanna see work too. You know, I think it's interesting there have been some people doing more like digital stuff or more interactive stuff and, you know, that's not my, bag, but I think it's really interesting and exciting to.
[00:32:44] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Where did you go to school? What did you study?
[00:32:47] Emily Mann: I studied just sort of broad studio arts with a focus in fiber arts at Georgia College and State University, which is just a small liberal arts school, in middle Georgia. And, definitely was not where I intended to go. I was actually enrolled at SC and my mom worked there and my siblings were already in enrolled there.
And, if you had a parent working there, the dependents got to go for free. So I come from a family of all artists. Yes, right. That was it. Otherwise would not have been an option for me. And so I had enrolled, I was already in this like summer program there, had my room, my freshman roommate are already sorted, dorm, sorted, everything.
And then I think it was either two or three weeks before school was supposed to start, my mom got laid off from her job. So I mean, my whole life was planned, I had it all. I'm gonna stay with my high school boyfriend forever and I'm gonna still hang out with all my friends here cuz it was inside.
I went to school outside of Savannah. and so of course, just had to like that figure out new school, new place, who's still accepting the Hope scholarship, who still has space for anybody, you know? And, so Georgia College was one of the only options and it ended up being such a amazing experience, life transforming experience.
So many people I met there are my family now. My professors, some my other peers, just amazing. Like a, like a tiny little art department where it was so intimate and just transformative. So, I definitely feel lucky that I ended up there and, those relationships have continued to be huge.
[00:34:18] Kellee Wynne Conrad: It's good to hear that because so many people say they went to art school and came out, destroyed from it. Yeah. Cause of the critiques, because of the competition, because of all of that. So you are a Georgia girl, so moving to Atlanta makes sense.
[00:34:33] Emily Mann: So yes. I have been in Georgia since I was in high school.
I am originally from Michigan, but I've also lived in North Carolina for a big chunk of my childhood. So if I have a confusing accent, that's why you don't have a southern accent. Yeah, yeah. More of a Midwesterner, but I feel like a true Georgia girl for now. Sure. True. Atlanta. Yeah. Woman.
[00:34:52] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah. I'm from California, I was just talking with my son this morning on the way to school, and he's like, mom, haven't you lived in Maryland longer than you ever lived in California?
I'm like, yeah, actually. Oh, wow. Yeah. So you're a Marylander. Like, I guess I'm not planning on leaving this area. Like Yeah. This is where I raised my family, so. Right. I do. It's a definitely a different feeling here on the East Coast, but I noticed over the last decade as I spent time on Instagram, where is all the cool art coming from the south has a real strong art vibe.
Like I really, do you think it's supposed to come from New York or la? And I'm like, so all the arts really coming out of the.
[00:35:36] Emily Mann: It really is, and Atlanta especially. But all over and I'm so, lucky to have several friends who are in a bunch of different art orgs here. Like I feel like I've a little bit been at Hermit for the last few years as I've got three kids, two, like just very intense parenting, years and obviously with Covid and everything, I feel like I've been a little bit like not paying attention to what's going on just locally.
But then once you like look up and you're like, holy shit. Like I'm in the mecca for black art, like black artists, black creatives. Yeah. There's so many, it's so diverse. It's so exciting. There's so many cool organizations doing really like outside the box, outside the gallery kind of things.
It's very exciting and that is one of my goals is to get my ass outta the studio. Cause I'm one of those people who will just, you know, I am head down worker. I like to labor and I, I have to sort of too much time.
[00:36:30] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I'm like, I have gone a whole week without even leaving the office, which is pretty much our room in my house now.
My family makes money. Yeah. So you, started off with studio art and then worked your way into doing the art consulting, probably with a lot less time, making your own art during that. Right, totally. So I could see why you would wanna come back. While the kids were young, cuz you can make art from home.
It's still a lot of hours. But yes, it does give flexibility. And that was one of the appeals to me as well. Like I really wanna move my way into this field. And even though there were times where it was like, well babe, you're making less than minimum wage. I'm like, I know. He goes, you could go.
[00:37:12] Emily Mann: Yeah. The breakdown is brutal for those.
[00:37:15] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I'm like, okay, Starbucks manager. I might be making 80 grand a year, but that's it. That's the cast for me. I know I can do my own thing. I am so motivated to figure out the business side of things. Cause I love business, I love marketing. It's no secret you hear it on my podcast.
And I am so glad that even through all that trial and error and different galleries I worked for and all of that, that I found my niche. And I love seeing how your art has transformed and your niche and like really. I was at a, hotel on the Eastern shore and I'm like, well, photograph, that's all Emily Mann's art in Cambridge.
[00:37:50] Emily Mann: Oh, that's so cool. Oh, yes. Yeah. Yeah. Oh my God, that's exciting.
[00:37:55] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I recognized it in a heartbeat. It's like you really have enough of a distinct voice that if anyone's seen your work, they know your work.
[00:38:02] Emily Mann: Oh, thank you. That is something that is, challenging for sure. Yeah. For me, because I am so inspired by so many things.
I would definitely say texture for sure is uh, unifying factor usually in my work and most of what I do has a, some sculptural kind of element or a lot of what I do. But it is hard when you have so much work and it was a little ridiculous trying to pair down the website, and I think I probably could still stand to pair it down some more, but because I know the way that consultants use images, I'm in sort of a, a niche where actually having a lot of images and a lot of good images mm-hmm.
Is okay. Yeah. You know, like, I wouldn't maybe not recommend that for every artist and all their bodies of work, but because I know when consultants are pulling for a project, they have to pull so many images in for their first round. Right. They're trying to show a ton of different stuff and so it being in that slightly different color way, the same kind of version of art, but just might, might be what pushes that over to make it into that book.
To make it into that project. Right. So, exactly. You know?
[00:39:04] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah. So I can see why you're like that variety. There's still a voice and a thread through all of it, but I can see what you mean. Like sometimes you're like working on projects that are like the scope of it and. The inventiveness of it.
It's like, must be like usually a relief to have that. It's not like they're like, I want you to paint trees and I want you to paint trees forever and ever and ever again. Yeah. It's like
[00:39:28] Emily Mann: so many different I right. I, I couldn't.
[00:39:31] Kellee Wynne Conrad: So many ways that you get to experiment with materials, like how did that evolve?
I really like, I wanna talk a bit about like Yeah. The artwork itself and some of the exciting projects you worked on, and then maybe we'll move into some advice on how others could get into the field or what they need to be Yeah. Doing to manage something like this.
[00:39:50] Emily Mann: Yeah. So similar to you, I come from a whole family of artists and makers and so literally have always grown up around people making things every like from handcrafted brooms to, canning food, to, um, yeah, woodworking.
My dad's a woodworker, like all my family's creative. I literally have always been making stuff and making stuff out of everything. Yeah. And I think I've always kind of had a tendency to go for like, many tiny things obsessively made, making up a larger thing like that has been a, a through line from early days.
Like my college work was found textiles, wrapped like kind of paper mache style around packing bubbles, like the big packing bubbles. So I made these like orbs that then you could pull out like, like a balloon. And then I strung all those orbs together around a giant metal form and it was all lit from inside.
I've always been obsessed with just making, making something out of whatever. And I think, that has just kind of been the through line is playing with materials. A lot of my work is assemblage. A lot of it is going to be large scale things made up of small things.
It's just like, like, I just love it. And also just really,
[00:41:02] Kellee Wynne Conrad: that's a really great way to describe it. Lot of small things that make a big thing.
[00:41:06] Emily Mann: Yeah, right. There's true line. It's not the most profitable way to make large work, but I cannot help myself. I will try to push myself to develop a new idea and inevitably I'm like, oh, but what if I like repeated that times, a million and then do that and then stuck it all together and it's just like, but I love playing with materials.
I've been, invented, I would like to say, I don't know if that, that sounds silly, but, um, different ways of working with this material. Paper clay, which, most people were working with on small scale, like crafty kind of things. Right. But I discovered, works perfectly for a ceramic like, medium, but without a lot of the challenges that ceramic would pose to, to working in the settings that I work in.
Right. And I don't have to have a kiln and I can use any material to finish it, which is very exciting. And I've sort of made up all these ways to work with it. And one of the really exciting ways, um, is that I do all these, a lot of times botanical, but it can be seashells, it could be rope, it could be fabric imprinting into slabs of this clay.
And then once I dry it, which I dry in just regular ovens, I have several ovens here. Then, I torch it and the torching brings out the texture that's imprinted in it. And it's like magic. It's so fun to, it's so fun to do. It's fun to watch. And so then there's this whole line of work I have that incorporates that technique and it's just sort of made up.
Then I've also played a lot with encaustic, which that is not something I sell as much for hospitality just because it's such a specific, fragile kind of surface. Not fragile, but you know, more fussy than a canvas or whatever. But that I could go full rabbit hole and just do that for, I mean, I love Enco and I would love to like just keep playing with that, but I've, you know, made up a bunch of different ways of working with that.
That's been, you know, um, fun.
[00:42:53] Kellee Wynne Conrad: and behind you right now is fabric.
[00:42:56] Emily Mann: Yeah. So this would be like something I would call, like my fringe series. So that's heavy duck canvas, layers and layers. So we, we actually use paint like dye for those. I'll take, any kind of interiors, paint, water it down varying degrees and paint all this yardage and then we cut it into fringe and make, I mean, we've made huge, I, I think we had a piece go out recently that was like 15 feet wide.
And those can be done in any finish. So like, that was all blues. We call that the Canadian tuxedo. Um, but then there's, there's also like gilded, like heavily gilded. And I just I love playing with the texture. There's, you know, like this is like a paper version of something I often do in placed canvas.
These are sort of like the in gold works that are like my most sort of signature, probably two-dimensional body of work. Little have a little one of those. Yes. Yes. Thank one to me. Yes. Hi, treasure. Yay. Yay. So happy
[00:43:52] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I. I'm dying right now because I'm like, that's the dream studio for me is to just whatever the material is, and then find a million ways to work with it and just get as attentive as possible.
Like, to me, that curiosity is the most fun you can have being an artist. Yeah. And I, I love it. And one thing I'm like, oh, so she has like a Warhol studio, like she's a creative director. She invents these ideas and then she has studio assistant studio artists that help you repeat and recreate the work.
[00:44:23] Emily Mann: Yeah, right. This is sort of a new, a new so exciting and so, freeing and just amazing part of my business. So during Covid, I was, parenting my kids, teaching them on, on screens all day, teaching them at home, and then I would. But somehow business was still steady, steady through Covid, which we thought it was going to be decimated instantly.
Like we were just like, you know, game over and thank everything that it, it stayed steady. And I had enough projects on the books to keep being busy, but I didn't have any daylight hours to be here. So I was working, I would do, the kids and then get them to bed and then head into the studio about 8, 8 30, and then work until two or three in the morning.
And so it was, it was bananas. So it was, and then I'd be back up with them at seven 30 or eight in the morning to do virtual school all day. It was the darkest time. Like I don't even remember, like, I've kind of like tunneled it out. Like I don't even remember all the details. It's such a,
[00:45:24] Kellee Wynne Conrad: it's so weird because it was supposed to be that quiet, peaceful time where we had nothing to do, and that was probably one of my busiest years ever. Right?
[00:45:32] Emily Mann: Yeah. I mean, and I am grateful, like there were so many beautiful silver linings to that time with my kids being little and being there with them. And I'm, I'm glad we were able to stay home and stay safe as long as we were. But it was so hard and I was starting to lose it. Like, I was getting to the point where this was like, the final, like last straw kind of thing was like, I was like driving home and I was like hallucinating.
Like I was thinking that like, there was stuff in the road, nothing in the road. It's like, okay, this is not, cannot, cannot do this anymore. And it just so happens that my friend who had been really involved with the studio at one of my kiddos schools reached out and was like, Hey, like I'm not, you know, school's closed.
So, and I'm, I'm not going back anytime soon. So if, if you need any help, like I only have a part-time gig right now. I don't know if you'd be comfortable having some in the studio, but, so basically what we did for months then is she would work in the day when I was at home with my kids. And then I would come in at night and do like a night shift. And so I would, and then Fridays, I would come in, my husband would take off work on Fridays and I would show her the ropes, right? So show her, here's what we'll are working on. I need you to make 8 trillion of these, you know, rolled cut pedals, you know, whatever.
Right? And so it was a really tricky way to work cuz she like gets stuff super quick. But even that is like, you know, it was hard for me not be able to be here to like teach her stuff. But, it ended up being the best impetus for finally getting help because until then I had made everything myself Wow.
Everything myself. So, it was bananas. And guys have a manager and two too. Yeah. Assistant. Yep. So then we brought on, Sam during like this massive project that had like over 400 custom pieces for one hotel. And so, She, she has done all, she's a, multi-passionate creative as well.
So she's done all different kinds of things, but she can kind of jump in wherever. So that was only supposed to be just like a few months gig, and then it's just turned into, we just keep being busier and it keeps being more freeing for me to be able to do other stuff and not just be just laboring.
And so, the sort of dream is to, I don't necessarily wanna have a huge staff or anything but I would love for everybody to be fully employed here. Like, you know, five days a week, full-time gig. Right now they're both four days a week.
And then Fridays are my solo studio day, which is, amazing, where I sort of get to make stuff that's.
[00:47:49] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I schedule nothing on Fridays too,
[00:47:52] Emily Mann: Same.. You have to be militant about it. You'd be like, oh, we need to have this cl I'm like, not on Friday. We can't do it because it's, I was, I was really getting a little burnt out on being like a boss and being, you know, just constantly driven by client deadlines and everything.
And what keeps my energy up is making new work. I have to be excited about what I'm making. So it's been amazing and it's been really, it's been helpful to my overall business because I've made a ton of new work that then we added to the licensing line, which is a huge right.
Part of what I've been trying to do over the last few years, so
[00:48:25] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Oh my goodness. It's, I just, Ooh, it's so exciting.
[00:48:29] Emily Mann: Come, come to Atlanta.,
[00:48:31] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I'm gonna so much wait until the summer's over though.
[00:48:34] Emily Mann: Oh, yeah. Don't come in the summer.
[00:48:36] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I'm such a wimp about the heat, but I would love, I, I've always wanted to see Savannah.
I would love to come to Atlanta.
[00:48:44] Emily Mann: Yes. There's so many other amazing artists here. It's, you know, bananas. Yeah.
[00:48:49] Kellee Wynne Conrad: It's great. Great creative Stop. I need to go and, and teach art in Atlanta for a couple of Yeah. And give myself a reason to go. Yeah. Come teach our business. I would love to, um, I'll host you here.
I wanna know what, what do you feel like is on the horizon for you now?
[00:49:08] Emily Mann: Well, hopefully, continuing to Be a better business owner, like learning more about how to hand things off and grow this business in like a sustainable way. Mm-hmm. I really am interested in creating better systems for things that's sort of like the nuts and bolts kind of piece.
Creatively I would like to be able to teach, some of the things I know, some of the special techniques I've made up or whether it's like I do, I, I have been asked and been interested in doing stuff like that, like getting more workshops in, into here. The dream is to be in a bigger, better, more functional space within the next two years, which is like, that's so cool.
It's, it's all in my brain and of course everything around here costs a trillion dollars, so I don't think we'll be able to buy anything, um, on the timeline that I would like to buy anything, but you know, Big, big picture. I would love to have a space where I could have more people in where it's not just a production sort of studio like it is now.
I would like to be able to do more creative things in other ways, other than just, you know, the commissions and stuff that I'm doing. I'm hugely motivated by that work. Like we've, been doing some really cool onsite installations, which is really fun and exciting and challenging and a little scary every time.
So that keeps it fresh. So I would definitely say getting a new space and getting a larger space, space and sort of just professionalizing, I don't know if that's a word. A lot of the ways that I do stuff here, there's so much of it is just crap I made up and it's not necessarily the, the best way to do something.
It's like, well, why are you doing it that way? But you know, like you'll, you'll be doing something a certain way. And then when you're trying to teach it to somebody else, you're like, well, maybe. We could examine this, but I love this area that I'm in.
This is called Avondale States. It's, it's own separate town, but it's basically a part of Atlanta. And there are so many other creatives just in my literal building, but then all around. And so I'm so inspired by the people who are doing all these creative projects and it's all kind of happening here.
And my carpenter, who's like my right hand, Zack, is like right down the street, so he just drives stuff over on his, truck or whatever and drops it. Yes. So it's all right here. So I would love to stay in this area, but sort of expand what I'm doing here a little bit, and then really empower the people I'm working with to sort of grow into bigger roles, you know, for them.
And, hopefully also like, bring other people along with us. Like I really wanna just be, wildly successful and just bring everybody along.
[00:51:35] Kellee Wynne Conrad: That's how I always feel too. I'm like, okay, so if I rise, then everyone around me gets to rise and everyone makes money and everybody feels good.
[00:51:43] Emily Mann: It's working so far, you know, it really is.
Yeah. And it's amazing to see. And, I'm so motivated by that. I did not come from any kind of money and, I am hugely motivated by security, like helping other people reach security. Mm-hmm. And, um, that's exciting too. Inviting
[00:51:59] Kellee Wynne Conrad: for your family. Yes. And knowing that for me, knowing it's not all on my husband's shoulders anymore.
Yeah. And that I can pay for the kids' college. Like all my kids, like they to have no college debt right now. Oh, that's amazing. What a gift. Although I went to a fancy college, they're, I've been going to the community
[00:52:16] Emily Mann: college, fancy colleges. I did not go to a fancy college.
[00:52:19] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Tech, they're in tech, so Yeah.
Really need. Yeah. Yeah. They're gonna be able to walk into life with no, no debt. And I think that that's all because of the chance I took on myself to build this business.
[00:52:31] Emily Mann: Yes. Right. Absolutely. No, it's such a, it's such a gift,
[00:52:35] Kellee Wynne Conrad: right? So what's the scope of a project, like what's the kinda like dollars that Sure.
Like, like what would 400 pieces for a hotel bring that was revenue. There's so much cost involved.
[00:52:50] Emily Mann: Yeah. that was crazy. I mean, that was a six figure job for sure. But I would do that totally differently if I was to approach that again. So that was like one of those like, You know, someone liking something they'd seen me make, could we adapt it for this?
Yes, we think we can. And then once you really did it on that massive skill, it was like, okay, we did it, we did a great job at it, but wow, we wouldn't do that again. But the budgets for these projects could range anywhere from, uh, $1,200 original, like smaller, you know, two-dimensional work to a $15,000 installation behind a reception desk.
Mm-hmm. I work a little differently than somebody who might have a lot of gallery relationships additionally, because when I price something out to a consultant, I'm giving them the net price. I have no control over what they market up. And that's a big difference because, with the gallery, if you had all these relationships with galleries, the, the price has been set by your sort of specific market, right?
So then you would have to sort of factor that in to how you're working with consultants. So typically, like if, , an artist is represented by a gallery and the consultant is going through the gallery, To get that artist work. The gallery usually offer anywhere from like a 10 to 20% discount to consultants.
But because people are working directly with us and because it kind of costs what it costs, right? Like we've already figured out what our cost is for materials for time we've kind of have these formulas for it and, and for profit. And then, so this is what it costs.
And then especially with these projects where they're, I mean, they might be specking hundreds, sometimes thousands of pieces of artwork on a project. They're not necessarily looking at the per piece in the same way that an individual purchasing one piece of art for their home, right? So it's more like, this whole project has a $4 million budget.
How does that get broken down by area? Does that make sense? So it's like, right. Exactly. And then so the margins might
[00:54:46] Kellee Wynne Conrad: vary don from you. They, they mark up to make their margin.
[00:54:50] Emily Mann: Right. But that markup. I guess what I'm saying is the difference is I don't have a lot to say over their markup. Right. Right. And their markup might be dictated largely on their overall budget and those locations.
So sometimes they, a consultant might be taking a, a lower markup, have a lower margin on a really big dimensional piece in a public space because they, it, it just is an expensive piece, but they want that piece on the job. So they might lower their margin on that dimensional work or that very expensive piece to get it into the project.
But they're making up their margin on a bunch of prints.
[00:55:24] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Exactly. Okay. That's really interesting. So from the Art consultant, it's like the overall, all right, I've spent mm-hmm. Let's just say I've spent 50 grand, I'm marking it up to 75, which was the budget. So there you go. Mm-hmm. Doesn't matter how much all these costs Exactly.
[00:55:39] Emily Mann: Yep. And we just try to be really clear when we're quoting things, especially people who we haven't worked with yet. This is the net to us pricing. So you do whatever you do, but this is what you'll need to pay us. Like try to be very clear about that. Most people are very comfortable talking in net terms, so they, they understand that.
But then also we have this entire licensing line and that's been something that I've been working on and I hope that a lot of other artists. Can sort of incorporate into their business model if they're able to, because I think it's a great way to work where you are not inventorying a bunch of prints, okay?
Right. You are creating high resolution files, and having them edited and having them, saved so that they can be presented on your website. All that costs money for sure. That's a big investment. Plus you made the work, right?
[00:56:26] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Can I tell you how much money I've invested in taking my art to a professional to have a high resolution?
It's no joke and color corrected. And these like massive files, sizes ready to go and they're still sitting on the computer, those files and I haven't even tried to license them yet.
[00:56:43] Emily Mann: Okay. I'm giving you homework. I would like you to, if you still have part of the Kelly WN Empire as you can buy, Kelly wn.
So if you go to the licensing portion of my site, you will see all these images, right? And they basically have a name and a sku. And then we work out licensing agreements per project, per client for whatever, you know, we have a range, you know, a formula that we're working with. Yeah. But it all depends. Do they want it this big?
Do they want it that big? They determine a lot of that, but almost every consultant and interior designer now has a preferred printer that they work with. So they're used to doing it. So then they just want the image. Yep. They just want the image. So you send the, you upload a file, you've signed an agreement first, and you've gotten your money first.
But then you, but then you upload a file and your job is done. So you did all the work. Don't keep doing that work over and again
[00:57:34] Kellee Wynne Conrad: to the people who wanna license it. Right. Exactly. Ok, so I was listening. There's another model. Yes. When you become proficient professional and you have them done right.
Yep. You can be looking to just license them to individual designers or companies rather than, the only thing I thought was a licensing was like people who are gonna get stuff printed to go into home goods. And I don't really Right. Prefer to do that. I'm not against
[00:57:59] Emily Mann: it, but No, certainly not.
[00:58:00] Kellee Wynne Conrad: But I mean, if anthropology wants to connect with me, I'm okay.
Knock not, I'm not gonna shut that down. Yeah. I have dozens of images that I've taken to professionally.
[00:58:11] Emily Mann: Yeah. If you want any input on that, I can. That's professional. Totally help you there. Yeah. Ok. Yeah. No, for real. Cause sometimes it helps to have an idea of what type of work sells the best or like is, you know, but I feel like it doesn't hurt to have it up there and to be.
You know, having that as one thing in your sort of portfolio when you're selling your artwork, and I think within the last five plus years, it's become more and more just common. That people, you're, you're talking to other, um, people who know about the printing and stuff, like you're not trying to re-explain everything to a consultant every time.
They already know. They're like, yeah, yeah. They know everything they need.
[00:58:47] Kellee Wynne Conrad: They know what paper they already wanna put it exactly how they're gonna frame it, blah. They just need the image and it's gotta be the right image, the right colors, the right design, the
[00:58:54] Emily Mann: right feel for the space. Right. Because I inventoried prints when I was doing the direct sales.
Yeah, I did you I, I still have some, if anyone would
[00:59:04] Kellee Wynne Conrad: like, by the way, like I'm like these prints are now eight, 10 years old. They're, it's
[00:59:10] Emily Mann: probably Ben Juju, which isn
[00:59:12] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I have actually, well, I've given some away when I sell originals and I've actually destroyed a lot of old stuff because when it, to a certain point it's like, and you through a phase of print on demand, which is much better cause I'm not inventorying anything.
But now I haven't, like in a year and a half, I haven't sold anything because I just have put so much effort into my courses and my coaching. Yeah. Like I've lost touch with
[00:59:34] Emily Mann: you can't do it all. Yeah.
[00:59:36] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I can't do it all. But I did hire a manager as well, by the way.
[00:59:39] Emily Mann: Oh, good for you. Oh, that's incredible.
[00:59:43] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Once you get to a certain point, you really, if you wanna grow, you need the support. Oh, for sure. I heard this on a podcast I was listening to. You wouldn't open up a restaurant and say, I'm gonna do it all. And then not hire cooks. Right. And waitresses, you know, or, or servers. We call them servers now.
Yes. Be honest. I'm still
[01:00:02] Emily Mann: catching up with me too. I still have to catch myself on lots of stuff. I know. I'm like why did we think we needed to program our own website? Be our own photographer. Oh. Manage all, all of our own schedule. Yeah. It's pretty bananas because we're good at figuring it out too.
[01:00:16] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Afford it, but like quite quickly, if you pay for it, you actually have the energy to do the thing only you can do, which is design The artwork. Yeah, design.
[01:00:25] Emily Mann: I would say that's probably the one of the single most like important piece of advice that I would give to people who are serious about creating art as their, you know, business is to level up as soon as you can with.
As soon as it's gonna feel a little uncomfortable. And obviously you can't be irresponsible about it. But I waited a really long time to get a studio to where I was compromising the work I was making by the space I was trying to make it in. And it was so nerve-wracking because, I was like, wait, this is free and then that's gonna be this much a month.
And then like, what if I have a bad month and it's gonna really be all this pressure on me. Literally the moment I stepped into a studio, I swear to God, it's just like everything else met, met that Mark, you know? Right. And the same with hiring help. I mean, it has been the same.
It's been true for that. And obviously you still have to have goals in mind and you still have to be tracking these costs. This is not just like, you know, but, but your money.
[01:01:19] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I said that. Yeah, absolutely. That's Find your money. But yeah, like really. The software. I listen to people and they're like, well, I just want the cheaper version.
No, teachables price just doubled, so I'm gonna move everything to a cheaper place. I'm like, why not just make more money? Right, exactly. Make more money. Stop making more work for yourself. Yes. Sure, just get something started when you're just getting started. But I think the mindset of, okay, I'm gonna pay for the premium square space and get some help to build it and beautiful.
Make something beautiful or hire or do a trade with a friend for some really good photography. Someone else to do the design work. Like find a way that you're not, like cheaping out so much that you ha don't have any energy left to spend on actually making artwork and showing up and talking to your ideal client.
Like that's more important.
[01:02:08] Emily Mann: Yeah, it's really easy to shortchange yourself in that way, you know? Yeah. Especially if you are somebody who like us, is very motivated by figuring things out and gets excited about like nerding out about a lot of this stuff on the back end. But it's a certain point like just, you know, let other people be good at what they're good at.
You know, you don't have to be good at everything.
[01:02:28] Kellee Wynne Conrad: And I hired my assistant in the end of 2020 when I realized I needed a real assistant and not just my friends. Yeah. To help me with my business. Like she's trained admin, she has years of experience, but it's still, oh that's great. Me well over a year to learn how to just let go.
And now I'm like, so tell me what I'm supposed to do.
[01:02:49] Emily Mann: I'm finally getting to there. I'm finally like, I really want other people to feel empowered too, to like own parts of this. For so long it has felt like me, like this business is me. And in a lot of ways I'm having to learn to let go of a little bit of that.
Like it is not just me.
[01:03:05] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Right. You know? Cause now it's actually our business because it, it is. Even though she is a contractor for me, I've given her a percentage. Right. Oh, that's amazing.
I've given her a commission, so I watch how, I mean, just she's a lifesaver and now become one of my best friends. But I really love.
The collaborative, the whole thing about all of us rising together. Like I'm like you on that. Like this becomes us. This becomes, we do better, our families do better, and we can support other people more. Yeah. And I just, I don't know. I love, I'm obsessed with business. I love art. Art was the first part that came, but I think that maybe some days, I think art was the reason, was just my, my mode to be able to have a business.
[01:03:52] Emily Mann: I think it goes hand in hand. And it was obviously always a myth that artists weren't, Business savvy. I mean, it's always been untrue. I agree. And I think now we just get to be more visible and have all these other channels of sort of showing people how dumb that is.
[01:04:09] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Doesn't it feel empowering though?
I have to say, you know, like there's 8 billion people in the world. I'm proud of being a mom, but there's 8 billion people on the world, so it's nothing new. But I feel kind of like some days where I'm like, I've built this business that, that feels wild outside of my brain of, of how amazing that can be.
[01:04:30] Emily Mann: I mean, and that's the whole magic of being an artist is you've thought something into existence, you know, it's come through you.
Right. And yeah. It's so beautiful.
[01:04:37] Kellee Wynne Conrad: One last question. Sure. Cause we could talk all day, the sun would be going down so natural, this conversation. Yeah. What is your big audacious stream?
[01:04:50] Emily Mann: Ooh, okay. So big au audacious dream for 2023 is to get me and my whole family to New Zealand to see my sister and my family there.
She's been there for a decade now, and we have not been able to come. We've had little, little kids and I mean, obviously a hugely expensive trip, but I have every year been like, okay, maybe this is gonna be the year. It's never going to make sense financially to, to put five people on a plane to New Zealand.
And timing wise, it's always gonna be tricky. But especially after Covid and that they were super locked down there and not get getting, to be able to see one of my sisters for that long and, to not have seen my nephews like, I wanna get there. I wanna obviously just wanna see the place, you know, and experience a lot of New Zealand.
So that's my sort of personal, life goal for this year. And then, bigger picture for Ink and Indigo. I would say certainly I would like to own my own space one day, and I would like to own a space that I could both work and hopefully teach and host, but also, give other people opportunities with that space whether it's like giving an artist who couldn't afford a studio, like a sublet part of that, or, you know, I'm not exactly sure how I would, you know, formulate all of these things, but I would just love to have this like, beautiful creative space that also had parts of it that could be shared more broadly.
Okay. And, certainly big picture, financially too for the business is I would like to be able to, make a, a secure future for myself and my family, but for, the people who are working for me. And I would like to, empower other people who are activists and, politicians and especially, parents and moms who are politicians.
And I would like to be able to make enough money to be like the Antioch Brothers of Art. , I would like to, to use all of my creative energies and funds that I could possibly to like turn some shit around because yeah, I, I think, in this capitalist country, that's the only
[01:06:52] Kellee Wynne Conrad: way to make politics happen.
[01:06:54] Emily Mann: I would like to empower other women especially, for sure. Yeah. That was a lot of things.
[01:06:59] Kellee Wynne Conrad: No, I love it. Like that's just Yes. Yeah. That's the whole purpose. Yes. Personal things, bigger dreams. I can totally see you owning like a nice big building where you have your space, you can showcase, you can teach, and then other Exactly.
Come and have. That's really a great idea.
[01:07:18] Emily Mann: I believe it will happen. I'm very lucky to the space I am renting from now. The folks who own it, are a family who I've worked with and collaborated with, and then also, have been renting from, but they have sort of taken over all these other buildings in this area.
So even if I'm not able to own one right away, I think I'll be able to find another space in one of these other creative spaces, which it's all very exciting seeing all these other creatives live out their dream and what they're sort of creating is, it's pretty amazing.
[01:07:47] Kellee Wynne Conrad: That's why I do what I do too. Like, I love helping. All these artists build their dream business. Yeah. That's like all I've done for the last three months is like, you know, starting the remarkable league and like diving in and helping them like, like it's not like they're like, okay, this is nice. They're like, oh my gosh, this is transformative.
And I'm watching them have hope single mothers and you know, sole providers that are just like, this is gonna change everything. Like just, I love that so much. Did their creativity get to build this beautiful Yeah. Future. And they know their children are watching and I'm like, yes. My kids are watching do,
[01:08:25] Emily Mann: I mean, isn't that amazing that our kids just think this is a given? Yeah. This is just, oh yeah. You can grow up and start your own business. You can be a creative and do whatever you want. It's pretty awesome. Yeah. Thank you so much. Oh my God, thank you. I could literally talk to you all day. I do what in, in Indigo on Instagram, in Indigo. On Instagram. On your website. On my website.
Which please, if you catch any funny little things, let me know. Cause we're still, I'm still slowly, it, it had to be very handbuilt. But Instagram is definitely still where I'm hanging out most on social media. I did reserve my ink and Indigo on TikTok, but I have not. Um, me too, you know, found my way over there.
But you have inspired me too. One thing you've been saying is like, shh, get over yourself and get behind that camera. So I'm gonna, at I'm, I need to practice that. Cause I have not, I have never videoed anything live and I mean, I, I don't think I've ever done it. Um, so I would, I I need to get over myself a little bit cause I love showing process and all that stuff, but I've never done it like me, you know, so I think it would be,
[01:09:27] Kellee Wynne Conrad: That would be awesome.
Thank you so much.
[01:09:29] Emily Mann: Aw, thank you so much. You're the best next time, right? That's right, yeah. And we'll see you in Atlanta.
[01:09:36] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Awesome. Yes,
[01:09:38] Emily Mann: Alright thank you, Kellee.
[01:09:39] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Thank you
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