On Versatility In Local Business: Becky Kennedy of Throwback Vintage

this fall, our theme is: flourish.

flourish (n.): to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.

When we make work under our best conditions, we do more than survive—we thrive.

And what grow toward (or say no) to has a lot do with it. Whether you’re a small business owner, independent artist or side hustling creative, your career pathway will take resilience and strategic decision-making. Where do you choose to go? What makes something a yes? Which environments are best for your growth?

Those answers are nuanced, and for the most part they vary. So, as we prepare for craftHER Market Fall ‘19, we’re interviewing some of this market’s featured makers to learn more about their businesses and the ways they create favorable environments for their work. Read on for a peek into their process.

Becky Kennedy owner of Throwback Vintage

Becky Kennedy owner of Throwback Vintage

about today’s featured maker: becky kennedy of throwback vintage

“I'm a freelance designer living and working in Austin, Texas where I practice interactive, print, and identity design. I’ve had the privilege of working with great brands such as Roku, Philips, and August Home, as well as smaller startups and local businesses”

How would you describe who you are and what you do?

With Throwback Vintage, I am a curator and seller of beautifully crafted women’s apparel. I gravitate towards natural materials with a strong focus on silk, linen, and cotton pieces. In addition of running Throwback, I’m apprenticing at an interior design studio, freelancing as a graphic designer, and trying to find time to pick back up my love for drawing and painting. In short, what I do and who I am is a combination of many things, which has made it hard to really take Throwback to where I would like it to be. In the next couple of months I’m hoping to better pin down where my passions best align with my career opportunities, and to divert more focus and attention to one aspect of myself. I think that spreading myself too thin has kept me from being able to achieve real success in any of my pursuits, which I somewhat sad because I do enjoy the variety of having lots of “jobs”.

Our theme for this Fall’s craftHER is flourish. How are you looking to grow your business at the moment?

This is a very poignant question, as I am very much in a self-searching period of my business growth. As I’m sure is the case with many people who maintain “side hustles”, there comes a point where you have to decide if the time and energy you’re putting into it is financially sustainable. I love what I do with Throwback, and I would like to continue doing it, but I think I need to re-assess the way I’ve been going about things. Sometimes when you start something, you have an idea in your head of what it will be, and It can be hard to step back and examine it objectively. Sometimes you have to sacrifice some of that romantic vision in order to make it profitable, and I think I’m coming to terms with that right now.

What are some of the biggest growth moments you’ve experienced as a creative and/or business owner over the last year? What can others learn from your experience?

This is something that I would really love to do more of. I’ve been working in relative isolation on Throwback, but every time I have had the opportunity to collaborate or converse with other makers and vendors, it has been such an amazing, growth inspiring experience. It’s important to accept that you can’t do everything and be everyone in your business and that you really do need to build up a community of like-minded people around yourself in order to thrive and grow. I’m hoping to build up my own community over the coming year, and am excited to see where it takes me.

Sustaining a creative business is tough. What are some money mindsets you’ve had to learn as an artist / entrepreneur?

I think that often times, being a creative puts you at a disadvantage in terms of remaining economically minded. It can feel “icky” to equate curating and creating with a monetary value. At least for myself, it feels like it cheapens it a bit. But that is so not the case! If you are creating something that people want, and are willing to pay for, you should not feel guilty about setting your prices in accordance with the time and effort needed to create your work. This is something that I still struggle with, along with a bit of imposters syndrome, but it’s something I’m working on. Having a community of other creatives is also great for reminding yourself that what you do has value. It’s easy for me to see a peer succeeding and to think that they are fully deserving of that success, so why am I allowing myself to feel guilty for wanting, or undeserving of, that same success? Quit romanticizing the starving artist and instead remind yourself that you’re not less of an artist because you expect to be paid for your work.

How do you hold yourself accountable to the goals you set? How do you bounce back when something doesn’t go as planned?

I really needed this question to kick me in the ass because the honest answer is I DON’T! And I know I should. There is no one else pushing for Throwback Vintage. It’s literally just me, so if I don’t hold myself accountable then I will never be as successful as I’d like to be. If you don’t have a goal, it’s easy to get distracted or waste time and effort on things that don’t really get you anywhere in the larger sense. Setting and mindfully working to meet goals is so important for any business, and it’s something I hope to be more vigilant about moving forward.

Any final thoughts you want to share with the craftHER community on supporting local businesses?

Local and hand-made is always better than corporate and mass-produced. Even if you overlook the economic side of it, where you are helping to support the life of someone in your community as opposed to increasing profits for some mega-company somewhere (hello 2nd yacht for the CEO whose 1st yacht just wasn’t yachty enough), shopping local/handmade just makes you cooler. It really does. Why would you want to buy something that literally anyone on the planet can get on amazon in two clicks when you could have something unique, something with a story to tell, something enriched with the energy and soul that only lovingly-created items can achieve.

Would you like to meet Becky in-person? Come out to craftHER Market Fall ‘19 on October 12 and 13, 2019 at Fair Market and stop by her booth. Click here to learn more.

Jane Claire HerveyComment