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Conversations with Laura Kasperlik

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Kasperlik.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My previous careers were in healthcare and international corporate HR, and although rewarding financially, neither role supported any creativity. After closing out my last corporate job, I decided to take control of my life’s next act and start my own business.

I’ve always been passionate about words, and the power of words – whether funny, punny, inspirational, or motivational! I also love to read and paint and sew and make things, so Pretty Clever Words was born of my desire to create with the power, the passion, and the sheer enthusiasm of word and color combinations.

I started out recycling and repurposing furniture- which was a great way to learn power tools! I still find it soothing to use a power sander… but as I was turning perfectly good benches into toothpicks, I had to move on. Through stretching myself to try new techniques and technology, my business has evolved to where I create my own designs for original prints, hoop art, and accessories. It’s been an interesting journey and by far, one of the best parts of it has been meeting and working with so many other small makers, artists, artisans, and business owners.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Although the road has been wonderfully quirky and fun – especially compared to my previous careers – it hasn’t been without several detours and potholes along the way.

It’s super exciting to put new creations out online or in a retail spot, and to get immediate positive feedback from customers during a craft event is energizing. But I underestimated the amount of product knowledge necessary to make a creative business successful, even though I had previously worked for a manufacturing company.

It’s not all about posting great photos on social media- creatives still need even a simple business plan that includes sales, marketing, and cost management. Adding this has been a huge plus for me.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
It’s taken me a moment to use the terms ‘artist’ or ‘creative’ when referring to myself or my work… but here I am.

I create art with many different types of media, but most often with fabric and paper covered with paint, inks, cut fabric, watercolors, and stitching. My current art line contains matted prints and watercolors, along with painted wooden panels.

The home decor and accessories line has many of my original designs and includes zip bags and totes, kitchen towels, and tee shirts.

I do a lot of custom orders and love creating and recreating scenes for my customers.

Every item has a little printing or words or quotes – it’s very difficult for me to create without words.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
The best lesson I’ve learned is to meet and greet and interact with other makers. The appreciation that I have for actively engaging my community of local makers cannot be overstated – it’s a great culture of care and support for each other. We cover during breaks and rainstorms, help set up and take down tents, hold constant business conversations, support on social media – really, it’s been just a dream working with the Triangle makers.

The second best lesson is to accurately estimate the cost and the worth of my finished products and price accordingly. Too often, creative people undervalue their work – because it can make us feel very vulnerable to put ourselves out there with a price.

But we hand-make every item and when customers purchase from us, they are validating the craftsmanship and labor that we’ve put into our work – it’s important to price accordingly.

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2 Comments

  1. Barb Selzer

    September 8, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    Not only are you talented and very creative, you have such a way with words and a very big heart! Beautiful inside and out!
    Your Michigan Sista!

    • Laura Kasperlik

      September 28, 2021 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks for the kind comments, sis! Always much appreciated!

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