knoteworthy

KNOTEWORTHY: Kristen Phelps, Owner/Designer of Fishy Face Creations

Kristen Phelps is the owner and designer behind Fishy Face Creations - a boutique featuring 100% handmade hair accessories, bow ties and custom shirts for children and adults. Kristen has a background in dance and grew up surrounded by crafters. 

 After earning a masters degree in education and then spending half a decade as a stay at home mom, she decided to embrace her creative side once again and dive head first into all things Etsy. When Kristen isn't experimenting with the latest in fabrics and designs, you can find her at the gym or cheering her kids on at one of their many activities.

We asked Kristen about motivation, work-life balance and more. Here's what she shared... 

Where do you find inspiration to stay motivated?

My family has always been and will always be my inspiration and motivation. I am a stay at home mom, but I never intended to be one. I love being able to stay at home with my children and wouldn’t change it for the world, but I also enjoy working and having something to do outside of parenting. My small business allows me to do both of those things. I love that I get to show my children that you can be successful in a non-traditional field and that they actually get to see me work and be creative. I think it inspires their creativity, which is so motivating because the arts are so important and  remind me of the best parts of my childhood.

How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?

That’s always a struggle. I have two young children - a kindergartner and a two year old and a husband who works full time in Boston. I am primarily a stay at home mom, so my kids’ needs have always and will always come first, but I still manage to make time for work.  Because creating inventory takes so much focus and attention to detail, I tend to design and build inventory when my children are sleeping. But, I don’t let myself work past 9 pm. It helps me ensure that I get to spend time with my husband, relax a little and make sure I get to bed at a normal hour. 

When my children are awake, I’m usually doing mom and wife things - school drop off and pick up, gymnastics, dance and music classes, play dates, grocery stopping, etc. Sometimes we may sit in the car a few extra minutes so I can answer a customer’s inquiry on Etsy, or we may have to swing by the post office or make an extra stop at the craft store or I may be posting to social media during gymnastics classes, but it all works out. Juggling so much can be difficult and the mental load is no joke, but I really love what I do and it’s nice to be able to provide my family a little extra money for fun activities together.

How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?

I come from a really long line of crafty and artistic types. I always knew I’d end up in a creative field. My mother sewed most of my clothing for me when I was young and my grandmother knitted me hats but my Nana was probably the biggest influence on me. She taught me to sew when I was young. She used to sew all the time. I loved sitting in her craft room at her house, playing with her pincushions and just watching her do her thing. I remember visiting her at craft fairs too. She made me a teddy bear when I was born that I have since passed on to my five year old. (There’s another one from college graduation in queue to pass down to my daughter!) Nana also sewed me endless quilts and the most beautiful wedding quilt I’ve ever seen. We even decorated a dollhouse together with real tile and wallpaper.

I took dance lessons as a child and that was my biggest creative outlet. When I stopped dancing in my twenties there was definitely a void. That creative void didn’t get filled until after my daughter was born. I was searching high and low for the perfect headband to match her first birthday outfit and I just couldn’t find it. My sister in law (a very crafty woman herself)  encouraged me to make my own, so I went for it! The joy I felt creating and color matching and coming up with new designs was instantly satisfying. My husband has also been a huge help. He’s very supportive and is an extremely talented artist with a degree in illustration from Mass Art. He’s great with giving me design advice and helping me color match. I couldn’t do it without him.

CONNECT WITH KRISTEN PHELPS:

Etsyhttps://www.etsy.com/shop/FishyFaceShop

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/fishyfacecreations/ 

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/fishyfacecreations/

 

KNOTEWORTHY: Naomi Westwater, Singer & Songwriter

Naomi Westwater is a powerhouse, indie singer-songwriter, and producer from MA, USA. Mixing organic Americana and electronic indie, her imaginative stage presence, intimate lyrics, and emotive voice inspire and provoke audiences. Like a rose with many petals, Naomi’s music is layered, striking, and tender, mixing organic Americana and electronic indie. 

Naomi is a graduate of Berklee College of Music with her Master’s degree in Contemporary Performance Production Concentration, and has been working in entertainment and music industry since 2011. She started as a program coordinator at The Gopher Hole in Baltimore, MD she then worked for The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, MA on their Summer Concert Series, Pops in The Park, and Pop's by The Sea, which is Cape Cod's largest cultural event.

In 2013, Naomi released the Americana EP, Coyote Love, about love and pining in a long distance relationship. Starting in 2015, Naomi was an Associate Producer at the comedy production company Pretty Good Friends. She produced live shows, podcasts, and festivals including the comedy stage at Wilco’s Solid Sound, StarTalk Live! with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye The Science Guy, the annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, and Modern Love Live for 90.9 WBUR (Boston’s NPR Station) and The New York Times. 

She has produced sold out shows at famous theaters and festivals around the US including The Apollo Theatre (NYC), The Bellhouse (Brooklyn), The Beacon Theatre (NYC), Fun, Fun, Fun Fest (Austin), Sketchfest (San Francisco), and she's had the honor of working with great bands, comedians, and public figures like Sen. Cory Booker, Michelle Buteau, Michael Che, David Harbour, Hari Kondabolu, Lucius, John Mulaney, Aparna Nancherla, Roy Wood Jr., and many more!

As a queer, woman of color and a modern day mystic, Naomi incorporates empowerment, nature, and magic into her music and artistry. 

We asked Naomi about her journey to entrepreneurship, and here's what she shared...

What do you wish you knew before you started your first business?

People don’t convey to artists that being a musician is 50% talent and music skills and 50% business and networking. For most of my life, my teachers really focused on the talent side and me working on my voice and my artistry. 

 But, being a successful musician is so much more than that. You need to have a good network and community behind you to help and you need to understand business. Because as soon as you start selling music, tickets, or merch, you become a sole proprietor, whether your realize it or not.

How do you use social media for growth?

A lot of artists I know are still hesitant to use social media, but I love it! It’s a great way for me to interact with my fans in a formal or casual way. I’ve been able to grow my socials with the following rules I made for myself:

1. I’m consistent: I post often and I post content that is relevant to my brand and to my followers. I’m an artist, I am the brand, so I post a lot of pictures of myself and music clips. And when I have something off brand, like a cute dog photo or a joke, I post that in my Insta Stories or on Twitter.

2. I use hashtags that are relevant to me. Hashtags help me connect to new followers. I’ve even made friends via hashtags!

3. I post high quality content. What I post it is thoughtful and intentional. When I’m taking or selecting a picture to post, I always want it to be visually pleasing: good lighting, interesting concept, some kind of emotions. There’s nothing worse than a blurry picture that’s boring. Social media is inherently visual, everyone wants to see beauty in their feed.

4. I use advertisements sparingly. Nothing is better than organic growth, but sometimes when I have a new release, I do like to use ads. So I always make sure my social ads are good quality, but not too flashy, or it will look like an ad. I also never throw down too much money on an ad. With FB Business, if an ad is doing well, I can always add more money too it.

How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?

I schedule everything. Between being a graduate fellow, being a wife, owning my own business, and being a super social person, my life would be very unbalanced if I didn’t schedule things on my Google Calendar. 

 I use scheduling not just for important meetings or lunches with friends, but I use it like a budget. I know I need at least 10 hours a week to practice my voice, another 10 hours for homework, 25 hours to dedicate to my fellowship, etc. so I carve out chunks of time to make sure I’m getting everything I need done. There’s even a calendar event for Friday night dates with my husband.

 CONNECT WITH NAOMI:

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Naomi-Westwater-908106642663736/

  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/naomiwestwater/

  • Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4pQ6EIVS2gOPLR5yx3bt6f

  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/naomiwestwater

  • Website: https://www.naomiwestwater.com