Wecome to the
Professional Creative Podcast
See more episodes
Episode 29: What Problem Do We Solve with Sarah Watts

See the show notes for this Episode here.

This transcript has been automatically generated.


I think people feel icky about marketing and icky about like putting their work out into the world.

I'm Bonnie Christine and this is where all things creativity, design, business, and marketing unite. I'm a mama living in a tiny town, tucked right inside the Smokey Mountains, running a multi seven figure business, doing the most creative and impactful work of my life. When I first set out to become an entrepreneur, I was struggling to make ends meet and wrestling with how to accomplish my biggest dream of becoming a fabric designer. Fast forward to today, I'm not only licensing my artwork all over the world, but also teaching others how to design their creative life and experience the same success. I'm here to help you spend your life doing something that lights you up. I'll help you build a creative business that also creates an impact, changes people's lives, gives you all of the freedom you want and is wildly profitable. Welcome to the Professional Creative podcast.

I recently got to sit down and chat with my dear friend Sarah Watts. And I loved this particular part of our conversation where we really started to talk about marketing and art and what problem we solve and what it feels like to shift our mentality around marketing, our creative side of our business and and our work. And so I'm sharing that with you here. But before we dive in, I wanna do a proper introduction for Sarah. Sarah Watts is an illustrator and business owner. She's based in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Ringling College in 2008 with a BFA in illustration and she landed her first job at Carter's and Oshkosh and then went on to design for International Greetings.

In 2011, Sarah left the corporate world to pursue her work in art licensing and book illustration. She was always passionate about working for herself and running her own business. She spent several years illustrating kids books for various publishers through Red Fox Literary such as Penguin Books and Random House. She also licensed art to gift and stationary companies like Hallmark, Pilina Kids and American Greetings who sell goods internationally.

Sarah co-owns the company Crafted Moon with her husband Scott, specializing in eco-friendly stationary and gifts for the crafty homebody. They have more. Recently launched a school division of the brand called School for Misfit Makers. Sarah specializes in teaching Adobe Photoshop, ink techniques and procreate with teaching. Sarah loves to empower people to see their potential in working in the arts and how they can make a living doing what they love when she's not teaching.

Sarah designs fabric for the prestigious new brand called Ruby Star Society, who is a division of motor fabrics. Designing fabric is Sarah's biggest licensing passion. Sarah is a mother to two bright young women, Willow and Violet. She and her husband enjoy Halloween and love dressing up as a family with the kids. She loves animals. Black coffee and making people laugh.

You are going to love Sarah. She is incredible and I hope you enjoy our conversation. I think people feel icky about marketing and icky about like putting their work out in the world. So what kind of, Yes, like, you know, I love this topic because it is just such a, it's such a different mindset. I was actually listening to a book this morning called The Power to Change and I'm a little early in the book and devouring just loving it already.

But one of the key takeaways today was the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. And so many people are in a fixed mindset. They think that they are the way they are and there's no changing it. Yeah. And the growth mindset is you, you know, I am I, I do the things I do because what I believe about myself, I do the things I do because what I believe about myself, meaning if you're grumpy in the morning, right? Well, you've probably been told you're grumpy in the morning and so you just lean into it. Right? Like I'm grumpy in the morning. Everyone's already always told me that and I very much identify with it. But a growth mindset says you can identify that and say,

you know what? I'm no longer grumpy in the morning. I'm gonna wake up right and ready to attack the day. And you can change that. You can change your behavior in what you believe about yourself. Yes. Studies, research backed 100%. It's all in in our minds and how we think about it. So anyways, marketing. Yes. Okay.

So do we need to go back this far? Like number one, if you are creating artwork because you want to contribute financially to your life, your family, then you have a business and you, the only way that you have a business is if it makes money. So business is not a business if it doesn't make money and a business doesn't make money unless you offer something.

And so marketing is part of it. And though I'm really passionate about what I call heartfelt marketing, like who lo I actually love to be sold to when I'm sold to. Well yeah. Like when I'm like, oh my goodness, they get me and this is the exact thing that I've been waiting for. Like I, I'll even know exactly what they're doing cuz I read a lot of marketing books and I'll be like,

oh, now they're doing this. And then I'm excited. I'm like, I'm here for it. Like keep selling me. Just do it. Well, you know, so I think that one of the easiest ways to sell what you have is to truly believe in the problem that it solves. And I think this is where we as artists have to work on our beliefs because like honestly, it's really, really easy for me to talk and sell the immersion course because the, it works, it's worked for thousands of students, it's incredible. It truly is. It's a world class experience. I've never experienced a better course in my life and it gets results 100% I believe in it to my core. And so I'll tell you, you will not regret it.

Right? Like that's where we wanna get with our marketing for whatever it is that we're selling. And so oftentimes artists are like, well, I don't solve any problems. I just make pretty things. Good. Anybody, anybody heard that? Okay. I always have to think about this story from Kristen Chronic, you know Kristen? Sarah, she's a fine artist and she was a Navy Seal.

Yeah, she's awesome. Hardcore, she's really cool. So she was out to sea for multiple months on the ship and this ship is just completely void of anything other than the bare minimum necessities. It's void of music, it's void of art, it's void of, I mean it's canned food. It's very, very essentials. And she said the moment that they came into port, I think they were in like maybe Louisiana, the moment that they came into port and she stepped off of the boat, she was inundated with color and beauty and smells from the restaurants. And it was in that moment that she realized what problem we solve. Because a world without arts is not a world that any of us want to live in, right?

Yeah. Like void of music and art and plays and, and beautiful textiles is not a world that any of us want to live in. But beyond that, think about the problem that you really solve. Like I think about someone who sells wallpaper and the person who uses the wallpaper. Like you have to go really deep because there are people who are, don't feel like they're good at decorating or they're embarrassed of what their house looks like. And so they're not only embarrassed, but they're not inviting their friends and their family over and or they just feel like, ugh, ugh. When they walk into a room. Like it's just not a good reflection of who they are. And when they find the wallpaper that speaks, it sings hallelujah the moment they see it, right? They bring it home and they put it up and you've changed everything for them. You've made them believe in their decorating ability. You've made them love the space that they walk into every, every day. You made them feel differently. Like feel you any anybody else, like stand up a little straighter when you walk into a beautiful room that's well designed, right?

Or a wallpaper that makes you happy. Like you affected the way that they feel when they walk in their room every day. Now they're proud to invite people over. So now you've helped build community and relationships and depth around a subject. Like it actually goes that far. Yeah. And so we're making tremendous change and impact by simply adding beautiful things into the world.

And the, the quicker you get your head wrapped around that, no matter what it is, like I always think about our fabric, Sarah. And when it ends up on a quilt of a lap of someone's grandmother who's dying in the hospital or wrapped around a newborn baby and bringing home, like tho that's legacy work. Y'all we're in the business of doing legacy work, meaning your artwork is a part of that person's story and their emotions for well beyond our years.

Yeah. So yeah. Anyways, you should sell your stuff. Stop making me cry girl. Get outta here. Like someone makes a quilt out of my artwork and that's a collaboration. They get to feel like they made something pretty. I got to feel like I got to collaborate with somebody and then that thing gets passed down to multiple generations and it becomes part of history.

Like it's, it is really cool what we do. It's really cool. No, and every time We, it's worth something and it's worth us having the guts to stand up and say, so you know what? You should buy this thing that I have. Like I have it available. Yes. And I honestly, I can't change your life unless you give me your credit card.

Yeah. Let's go so far as to say that I can't change the way you feel when you walk in your room unless you pay me for this. And that will change the way that you show up in your business, right? It's okay to sell stuff. We all, we're all buying stuff every day. Why not? W why shouldn't we be buying your stuff?

Yeah. You never expect the plumber to come fix your stuff for free, right? Like Right. Come on. Like I'm, I'm willing to buy pretty things and Yeah, you are too. But I only buy the things that make me feel a certain something. Right. And so it goes, marketing goes way beyond. Like there's this, this story when you are selling a drill.

Yeah. They're Not selling a drill. You are selling a hole in a piece of wood. Right? Like that's what they need. Somebody needs to make a hole in a piece of wood and so they go to the store and buy the drill. And so don't spend your time talking about the drill, spend your time talking about the hole in the wood because that's the end result.

And it's much more meaningful than like the drill. Cuz the drill is a means to an end. And so is your wallpaper. The wallpaper is a means to an end to get you to feel a certain way about your space. Exactly. Oh my gosh, I love that so much. Yeah. Like I, I love to think about how we,

it's the transformation that your art gives someone. Like it's one thing, like we're selling prints this week at Quilt Con and it's like, okay, wow, that, that made me feel something. Cuz I love that joke on that art print and that that makes me feel like you get me right? But then the moment that they take it home and put it in their sewing studio, it, it gives them an identity that they couldn't quite like replicate themselves. And so I feel like artists are literally like helping people like express their selves and their message, you know, maybe they don't draw or whatever. Like, let me help you do that then. Exactly. Express your true personality. Like I'm thinking about Tessie who teaches people how to make their space a reflection of themselves.

And not a lot of people are using their own artwork. I mean, very few of us, right. That's kind of a side like perk to doing this cuz you can just Yeah. Find whatever you want. Like I want this wallpaper so I'm a gonna make it. Yeah, exactly. Which is so fun. But you know, it really is our ability to connect with other people who connect with our work and help them have the persona and the personality fully brought to life.

Yeah, a hundred percent. I love it so much. Yeah. So I I I do think about how like, don't you feel it's a lot of it is a mindset shift in the artist's mind. 100%. Did any of you just feel that shift? I did. It's like the, it's sort of like the, you me Again, I have something I made over here if you want it, but you probably don't want it, so I'll just nevermind. Just Nevermind. Yeah. You Know. Oh to the like, I made this and it's gonna change your life. Come and get it. Yeah, exactly. And, and I know people go through this because I see it all the time, especially with my students. Like they see, you know, all of this work in the world and they're like, Ugh, I could do that. Why am I not doing that? Or ugh, like, you know, I, I offer the same thing. How come my, and it's like you just have to shift the way that you're seeing your own work. They have the audacity to do it. They're not any much better than you.

They're not like they don't have some special thing. It's like they just had that mindset shift and that audacity to say, I deserve to share my work with the world just like the rest of you. And I'm willing to do that. And, you know, yeah. I had this, I don't know if I'm gonna be able to say this correctly, but I just had this like revelation probably eight or 10 years ago and it was just like, if someone is doing what I wanna do, why can't I? And like surface design. Yes. So fabric design, it helped with that. That, but I went like way deeper. I was like, if I wanted to be a brain surgeon, like people know how to make you one.

Like there are people out there who like, it's gonna take a minute, it's gonna take probably 10, 15 years, but like, I got that. Yeah, I can do that. 10, 15 years are gonna pass anyways. Like what if I wanna be a pilot? What if I wanna go to the moon? Like still at my age I could 100% go to the moon if that's what I wanted to do.

Because there are people who can teach you how to do that. Yeah. And so do you believe in yourself? If so, then just go do the things that the other people who've already done this tell you to do and you'll do it. I love that. Let's not overcomplicate this. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Professional Creative Podcast.

Remember you can get show notes for this episode and all other episodes at professionalcreative.com. Always remember, create the beauty you want to see come alive in the world. There's room for you.

Download as txt file
I'm Bonnie Christine.


Thanks for joining me in this journey. I can't wait to help you to craft a career you love!

Let's be friends!

see you on instagram