Today we’d like to introduce you to Allison Launius.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in a transient military home with a modest lifestyle – much of it in the Dallas area. Moving around so much on a tight budget, buying new things was not often an option for us. My Mom taught my two brothers and I how to find value out of everything – leftover fabric, food, or furniture. It’s no wonder we all take old things and refurbish them – my older brother flips homes, my younger brother renovates old cars, and I refurbish furniture.
In October 2017, I landed in Austin working for a tech company, but I was laid off after six months. So, there I was in a new city with a nonexistent professional network.
But my brain had already been hardcoded. Moving to a new city. Knowing very few people. Finding innovative ways to support yourself. This sounded a lot like my childhood.
Due to closet space shortages in our home, I shopped around for a solution that fits an unemployment budget. I found a, frankly, ugly used trunk and some old Talavera tile on Craigslist. My goal was to turn the trunk into something valuable.
I posted the refurbished, tiled trunk on Instagram and got a huge response. People asked for more. And that’s how Stampworthy Goods was born.
Please tell us about your art.
With Stampworthy Goods, I find old pieces of furniture and refurbish them to match modern trends and styles — everything from midcentury modern bar carts and bar stools to rattan chairs and couches. Pretty soon I’ll be including clothing, too.
Every single piece I sell is one-of-a-kind. I find old furniture in just about every place imaginable. Some of my customers actually find furniture for me and ask me to add a Stampworthy touch to it.
The Stampworthy touch is inspired by the colors, patterns, and styles I see while traveling – Otomi fabric from Oaxaca, African mudcloth, and Talavera tile to name a few.
My message isn’t specific to furniture but applies to any idea, opportunity, or project that comes your way. Be open-minded and optimistic. There’s value hidden in everything. I’d have called you crazy if you told me a year ago that I’d be tiling furniture!
What do you think about the conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
I won’t pretend to speak for all artists, but I can speak to my personal experience.
The barriers have never been lower for artists to put their art into the world, but creating a business out of it is as hard as it’s ever been. A few pieces of advice I’d have is:
1) Be relentlessly curious and comfortable asking for help: Everyone starts somewhere – finding people that have been successful, buying them coffee, and building relationships with them was an essential first step. It’s helpful to understand that not everyone has it all figured out. For me, managing taxes has been a huge headache, and the relationships I built early-on have come through for me during tax season.
2) Know your value plus tax: Anyone that starts out will instinctively underestimate how much their art is worth. It’s the imposter syndrome we all have. Valuing your own art is the first step to having others do the same. It’s the only way you’ll turn a hobby into a business.
3) Cultivate self-awareness and plug in the gaps: Self-awareness for me is understanding where I’m strong and where I’m deficient. But the exercise goes beyond that. It’s surrounding yourself with people that are different than you. While looking for other women to open a studio space, I purposefully sought out other artists that have skills and know-how I don’t. We will all challenge and empower each other as studio mates.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can find my pieces on Instagram @stampworthygoods.
You can also read more on my website, www.stampworthygoods.com. 90% of my business is conducted via my Instagram posts and stories; however, so that’s the best place to keep tabs on the new pieces I post.
I post new pieces 3-5 times a week, so there’s always something to see.
If you’re ever in Austin, you can me at The Lemon House (@lemonhouseatx) a studio I share with two other very talented and enterprising female artists.
- Website: www.stampworthygoods.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @Stampworthygoods
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/stampworthygoods
- Other: @lemonhouseatx