Fine artist Stephanie Sachs transformed her paintings into wearable art. She talks about her evolving business.
ABI: What inspires you to create your art?
SS: Twenty-seven years on Maui! It is in my soul. Everyday I look out at a distant horizon, it is a deep tranquil feeling. The light and color constantly change and capture my attention. In my studio I attempt to express the joy of the colors and the tranquility of distant space.
ABI: You are an abstract painter and needed to scale your business. How did you do that?
SS: I wanted to take my art to another medium as “wearable art.” This turned out to be a long 4-year process with attempts from scarves to bedding to clothes. Not until I found a business partner, Sandee Zahn, that a collection of artistic marketable scarves were developed which scaled the business. We shared a vision of creating luxurious textiles with innovative designs, and our company, Precious and Primitive Designs was born.
We use animals combined with ombre colors giving the design movement and depth with an abstract primitive feel. But looking more closely one sees a beautiful and graceful animal – horses, hummingbirds, dogs, leopard, zebra, and snakes, to name a few. We tried many manufacturers to find the right textile with a price point that works in the marketplace we identified as the entry point for our business.
ABI: What benefits have you found in having a business partner?
SS: There are so many benefits of our partnership. Having a partner inspired me to move to the next level in my life. I am an artist and love painting. Sandee has complementary business skills, which gives me the freedom to focus on exactly what I love to do. Sandee is head of operations and I am head of design. We both do sales which accelerates our growth in the market.
Sandee is founder and CEO of Shoshanna Lee Jewelry and her customers were our first entry into the marketplace. Every week I go to events where I sell our scarves directly to customers. Living in different parts of the country has worked well for us. We see different trends and colors and develop collections for both regions, providing a larger selection for buyers. We communicate everyday and get together regularly, whether to attend an Exhibition, such as Magic’s Emerging Designers’ Showcase in Las Vegas or visit our New York showroom, Supplements.
ABI: What advice would you give to artists who are just getting into business?
SS: Find a partner that forms a balance of business skills with artist skills. Both require creativity, but from different sides of the brain. Sandee and I could not do what we do without each other.
Patience and persistence. It took us a year of mistakes before we sourced a reliable manufacturer. Now we can focus on new designs, new colors and new inspirations and promoting a scarf line, which is selling in the Smithsonian Catalogue, private boutiques, major retailers and hotel chains, including the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons.
Building a business has many similarities to creating a piece of artwork. It takes many strokes of the brush on one canvas that come together over time to craft the painting.