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Meet Quinn Smith of Remnant Studios in Austin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Quinn Smith.

Quinn, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In 2012, I helped put on an anti-trafficking awareness walk in Austin. Even though I was just helping on the admin side, I came to learn of the horrors of human slavery world-wide and knew that someday I wanted to use whatever I could offer to impact the world against this crisis.

In 2014, several stars aligned for me to start Remnant: my kids were all in school on the same schedule, I had taken enough ceramics classics to have a good handle on working with clay, and I had worked in a capacity to hone my administrative skills enough to be confident that I could handle the business side of running a small company.

So, I bought a test kiln, applied for an LLC, built an Etsy shop, bought business cards, etc., and launched in September of 2014. Since then, I have converted to a 501(c)(3) non-profit, use my own website, added wood to my collection of materials to work with, and donated over $70,000 to fight human trafficking worldwide.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not always been a smooth road. There is a tension between figuring out things on my own and asking for professional help. I have found both to work and both to fail. For example, in applying for the 501(c)(3) exemption, one attorney advised me to apply with the long-form and an accountant with the short form.

Thankfully, I went with the accountant’s advice and it worked out for me.

I also struggle with imposter syndrome when I’m around other artists and jewelers. My formal training is in chemistry and I’ve only taken community courses in ceramics and jewelry-making. So, I have to remind myself that my journey is unique to me and that my gifts and talents are equally as useful to the world, irrespective of my education.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Remnant Studios – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Remnant Studios is a jewelry business that donates 100% of it’s profits to anti-human trafficking organizations. We specifically make jewelry out of porcelain clay but have recently added laser-cut wood to our collection. Our jewelry is hand-made in Austin using ethically sourced materials. We love providing jewelry to people who want to use their dollars for good in their shopping and gift-giving.

Also, in 2017, I was able to partner with an NGO called Global Child Advocates on the Myanmar/Thai border. I traveled to Thailand to teach them how to make ceramic jewelry and now they have their own artisan group called Sojourn Studio.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
There are a few things I hope we can expand into in the future: one is to have our own studio space. Right now, we work out of our homes and run the kiln in my driveway =). Two would be to employ the vulnerable or rescued in Austin to give them an extra reason to hope. Three would be to open a studio space built for other artists who also want to use their talents for good. And four would be to help train other artisan groups like Sojourn Studio to build their own ceramic jewelry businesses.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Janelle Whitehead

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