Once you meet Amy you will quickly discover that you have come across a rare and beautiful soul. With a deep sense of gentleness and kindness, this creative is unique in stunning with everything she does. This year has been a standout one for Amy and her husband Jason. I recently sat down with this bosslady as we talked personal creative disciplines, timing of launches, and balancing being multipassionate. This woman and her passion for our city is something to watch. We’re already seeing her do her part to transform downtown and can’t wait to see what she does next!
Keep reading for the full interview!
I think that having multiple areas of interest and passion almost automatically keeps you inspired and cultivates creativity. You get to have conversations with people outside of your everyday, but who create in related areas. What they’re going through, their journey of creativity, is so inspiring to me. Community is what cultivates creativity most for me. Through the conversations where you’re learning about someone’s passion, or the interactivity of collaborating with another person. Although you do have to pay attention, and be intentional with what’s in front of you. Inspiration is a choice.
I just did one of my t-shirts with a friend. He lettered a design on the front and on the back is my illustration. When I work with someone else, I find that I’m inspired throughout the process. From their personality type to the ways they approach their process, I think collaboration is a necessity. By having so many different interests, it provides opportunity for that collaborative piece as well – and that always helps cultivate creativity.
It depends on the day. I always tease that I have 5 jobs. I’m a mom and a wife. Those are always first. Family is definitely a priority for me. I start the day with my daughter and spending time with her in the mornings or taking her to this really adorable toddler community class. There’s also exchanging with my husband Jason as I go off to work. I work for Bethel Church as well, as the art director. Usually I’ll be in the office there 3-4 days a week. It might not be a full day, it’s just largely based on the need. I do my shop on the weekends. Usually that will affect 5 out of the seven days of the week though. There’s little bits and pieces I have to do throughout the week. I also do a variety of freelance design work.
Sometimes I just state, “I want to be better at this.” I protect 1-2 evenings a week for this. Whether that’s after I put my daughter down to bed, I just make sure I have little chunks of time that are not results oriented. Nothing has to be delivered or finalized. It’s just for fun.
My husband owns a coffee company, so that includes helping him in creative ways. Whether that is by design or spatial improvements, there’s quite a bit of that exchange. He’s super creative as well. The conversations in my house always make me laugh. They’re very passionate conversations. Whether we agree or disagree on something, it’s the tension of two very creative people living life together. I love it. But we definitely have moments where we both are passionate about “No. It should be this way,” and the other states, “No. It should be this way.” But at the end of the day, we always work it out. It’s so fun and life giving. It’s an exchange of life whether it’s agreeing or not. That isn’t the point. The exchange of life is what’s exciting. That’s why I married him.
I think it’s really important to surround yourself with smart people and people that have different strengths. I’m not naturally oriented as a business person. By that I mean accounting, structure, and the systems side of things. However, I’m aware that it is super vital and important. I make sure to have those type of people looking into my world when I do any type of creative venture.
This shop for instance – accounting advice, systems advice, and talking with my web savvy friends on what POS system I should use. All the details of that side of the brain – I’ve learned to surround myself with smart people.
I think creatives get stuck into thinking they have to do it all. However, there are so many people who are into collaboration. And my accountant can be just as creative as my artist friend. I’m always so inspired by people who use their creativity in what isn’t normally labeled as creative. Everyone is creative.
I also think we get a little nervous letting people into our worlds as artists, because we feel like we’re a mess sometimes. Maybe not all of us, but some of us. A lot of us feel we’re freethinkers, independent, and move where the inspiration takes us. It’s a beautiful thing about the nature of the way some creatives operate. However, it’s not always a sustainable way to operate. If you want to build something that is lasting, really affects culture, or brings change, you have to surround yourself with people who have other strengths and you have to commit. There’s beauty about building in wisdom and for the long-haul.
You can build by yourself, independently, and feel like you’re taking on the world. However, eventually you will run into a wall, an obstacle, or ceiling, where you have no idea how to conquer it within your knowledge or skill set. That or you will just learn something a really hard way that can shut down a really beautiful idea. Then, you just think it was a bad idea. In reality, it was a really great idea. You just didn’t have the right people to help you.
God’s timing is so interesting to me. You can feel like nothing is happening for a very long time, and you’re just in the grind. Yet, in those times you have an opportunity for your roots to grow really deep.
When we moved to Redding, CA and joined Bethel Church, the Lord had to do a lot of rewiring in what I viewed as success.
[pull quote here] It can feel like you’re putting things aside in that season, but actually you’re growing the strength to sustain something that’s really beautiful to come.
It may not have looked like something had been going on for a while for us. I think when you look at someone’s life, there’s a journey that largely goes unseen. I would say that is the case with Jason and I. Jason’s journey used to be different. He used to work construction, doing hard manual labor. He’s a very creative person and he felt very stuck. It was a huge risk for us at the time for him to leave that vocation because it was good money. He stated, “There’s more to who I am.” That was 15 years ago.
There’s been a lot of false starts. Maybe not false starts, but almost like a failing forward for him. For him, he would try various creative outlets. During that time, I was focusing on my design career pretty heavily. I was really growing in that trade. Jason felt doubt, asking “What am I doing? What can I put my hands to that is actually going to be sustainable?” That was a hard journey for him. There was a lot of soul-searching in the process. “Should I be a musician? Should I be a photographer?” There’s all these different outlets he was trying to figure out. I’m not saying success is wrapped around what you do for a living, but for him he wanted to build something. However, when it came down to it, for him it was always about the people. He wanted to do something that facilitates community. Coffee just happens to be something that does that. And bonus, he loves coffee and is great at it. Life happens in coffee shops and happens around the table in conversation. He’s been able to affect so many different lives in so many different ways through Theory. It’s just stunning. God knew exactly what he needed to do.
I love so many things! I had to grow to accept that was okay. I didn’t have to choose one thing, that it’s okay to love a lot of things. This shop is probably the most fleshed out version of that. I get to find, pick things, and curate within the space. I get to be in relationship with furniture makers, jewelry artists, and all kinds of different people.
There is a value to investing in one area in a given season. You really have to follow your heart, your passion, and simply work hard at your ideas. Whether it’s one thing, or many things, be yourself. It was a journey to understand I don’t have to be the best at one thing.
There’s nothing wrong with that. I have enjoyed that process.
I saw this quote the other day by Erik Spiekermann, a famous typographer. He was talking about not slowing down with his creative work as he is aging. He said “I need to live to be a hundred years old to do half of my plans.” Ha! I can so relate to that quote. There is so much beauty in this life to experience. Thankfully I don’t feel like I’m running too hard – I feel like I’m fully living. As long as my priorities stay aligned with my core values, I’m good. I have had to shift things around from time to time when I feel depleted or just overly busy. I make sure I check in with my heart, and check in with people who love me and have voice in my life.
I would love to grow this little store. I have found so much joy in it. There’s been times where I just start crying with thankfulness at how much fun it is. It is very life giving. I think when you’re in the creative industry for so long, (I’ve been in it for 18 years) there’s pockets where you go, “Wow that was really life giving.” As creative people, we need to pay attention to those moments. Take a breath and acknowledge, “Wow what I’m doing is completely aligning with who I am. This is super life giving.” Capture those moments and then build from them.
I have so many dreams for Redding. It took me a while to fall in love with this city when we moved here. About 3 years in, we decided it was going to be home and we were going to put roots down. We have been here almost 7 years now.
Downtown is coming to life. It’s happening. There’s so many new startups and people who are doing fresh ideas. There’s something about believing in the potential of our city. It’s easy to see all the ugliness and not the beauty. I’ve been super challenged to turn my attention to the potential. I think when you start to focus on that you realize how much there is. You drive around and begin to take notice of things you’ve never noticed before. Your language changes, and you talk about your city with pride.
It’s super fun to see it come to life. I know we’ve got a lot of ways to go and there are issues. I’m not naive to those, but I’m excited for the future.
Just try it. We get really stuck in the fear of failure. There’s a tendency to want to get something perfect before you show the world. I think the vulnerability of imperfection is so inviting to others.
I think just living in risk and possibility inspires others to do the same. I think it’s the only way that our cities and communities will become the beautiful places they are meant to be. It’s if the people who see the potential and want to try it, just do it. The worst thing that could happen is you fail forward. I’ve had plenty of those in my journey of trying things and it just didn’t work. And remember to have fun. Give space for joy to happen in the process. It’s not just about the outcome or our definition of what success looks like. It’s about the journey, the relationships we share along the way, and the experience of being fully ourselves in whatever creative pursuit we attempt.
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Open Friday and Saturday 10am-5pm, located at 1244 California Street, Redding CA.