Interview with female Entrepreneur Samantha Sutton

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?

I make and sell what I like to call functional art. I am a big believer in celebrating the everyday, simple stuff. So why not drink your morning coffee out of a mug that challenges the patriarchy? As a ceramic artist, I use pottery to tell stories. Each piece is completely unique.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?

Well, I was making ceramics for a long time as a hobby. I would give them to friends as gifts and make things to use around the house. I thought about selling what I was making, put a few images on Etsy, and the rest is history. 

WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?

I was living in London for 4 years where I studied sustainable development. It was during my studies at university that I was confronted with frustration over all of the issues we face as a society. Now, my ceramic art gives me a medium to express my perspective in this world. I moved to Amsterdam 6 months ago, the ease of living compared to London allowed me to find some extra time and headspace to create art. 

Interview with female Entrepreneur Samantha Sutton l Paperbeau

WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?

I don’t think that there is a perfect sentence for “advice.” I would say it is more about headspace. If you are too scared to drop everything and start a business, do it on the side! Believe in yourself and what you are selling and you won’t need any advice! 

MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW DID YOU DEALT WITH IT:

My greatest obstacle is self-doubt. The ultimate challenge of being an artist is constantly questioning the integrity of your message. I want to create pottery of realistic-looking female breasts because women’s bodies have been a political topic since way before I was born, but then I question if my statement will be heard by my customers or are they just buying a mug with boobs on it because it’s “trendy.” I think at the end of the day, all we can do is believe in ourselves and our own mission and everyone will follow. 

MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:

As cliche as it sounds, my proudest accomplishment was my first sale. Not only was the customer super enthusiastic about the pieces she had bought from me, but it validated what I was doing and gave me the motivation to keep going. 

HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:

Being creative is tough because it’s not a type of productivity that can be forced. I try and seek inspiration wherever I am but it needs to be created naturally. I try and do a lot of walks outside (no matter the weather) and read a lot of books. Social media and electronic screens melt the creative brain (in my opinion). I also work out every morning for at least 1 hour. This is something I absolutely never skip (but sometimes I do a light walk or a yoga class if I am feeling lazy). I think that exercise, spending time away from screens (computer, phone, tv) and engaging with people are the best ways to have a clear set of priorities and guidance in life. 

Interview with female Entrepreneur Samantha Sutton l Paperbeau

I AM INSPIRED BY:

I am inspired by life that is happening around me. I love to see people fighting, laughing, crying, etc. on the street. I feel that it deepens my own sense of empathy, which I feel is fundamental to any type of success. 

WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:

As I mentioned a little bit before, I have an MSc in Sustainable Development. It was during my studies where my eyes were opened to the massive amounts of injustice we allow to occur to our human community. I believe that art is the best way to get people to care about something that they didn’t previously care about. Art helps people develop a sense of empathy, they can feel the pain or the empowerment in their gut. I wanted to create a form of art that can be found in simple places, such as a coffee table, and make people feel something. 

HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:

Manifestation. I simply envision the life that I want, and it happens. 

DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?

I did, but I didn’t stick to it! It’s nice to visualise how everything might pan out, you need that for sure. But flexibility is key and every good thing once started out as something else. 

Interview with female Entrepreneur Samantha Sutton l Paperbeau

ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMAN BUSINESS OWNER?

I think that feminine energy is a special advantage in the business environment. Too often, women are told to act more like men. Be serious, dress smart, hide emotion, etc. This is the opposite of what we all need to be doing. We need to channel our feminine energy to tap into our special abilities. You probably figured this out if you have ever lived with a man, but women are incredible problem solvers in comparison. Sometimes its not about being the loudest in the room if you have the right solution. What I have learned to do is to take my time, absorb information, and logically react. Which works much better than the “male” way of solving things most of the time. 

MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…

Instagram! I can get inspiration, build a network, and reach my audience all in one place! 

THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…

A good friend of mine once said to me “don’t overthink things, just do it and worry about what happens next when it actually happens.” Too often we overthink things to a point where it stops us from doing them. In my ceramic art, I actually am constantly challenging my own struggle with perfectionism. It’s something that I think most women suffer from. We need to stop trying to be perfect and just throw ourselves into things! 

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