Our Annual Report, “Unlocking Creative Profitability” is now available. You can meet many of the creative entrepreneurs we invested in right here. Here’s a story about the challenges of sudden success.
What began as Catherine Blackburn’s love for creation, design and fashion rapidly became the foundation of a commercially successful business.
Blackburn’s been creating Indigenous handmade jewelry since 2010 when her first pieces, utilizing leather and feathers, completely sold out at Lei Gallery in Taichung, Taiwan.
In the years that followed, Blackburn’s jewelry began to combine Indigenous beading techniques with contemporary design concepts.
Sales continued to be strong and as of 2016, Blackburn’s work was represented through six retailers, including an online collective based in Los Angeles.
Now, Blackburn faced a challenge that many creative entrepreneurs are familiar with – her commercial success had become her biggest hurdle.
“The funds from this grant greatly improve the focus on my jewelry business and allow for proper growth to keep up with growing demand.”
“With my growing professional art career, I was finding it extremely hard to keep up with product demand,” Blackburn said.
“I pride myself on quality of product and customer service as well as efficiency. Losing customers due to turn around time was not an option for me. I realized I needed to find a solution quickly.”
Part of her strategy in 2017 was to secure an investment from Creative Saskatchewan’s Creative Industries Production Grant.
“The Production Grant helps cover costs for materials and labor that are essential for me, particularly through my start-up phase, to focus and grow my business,” Blackburn said.
“I currently need to split my time between my art practice and my jewelry business to solidify an income every year. The funds from this grant greatly improve the focus on my jewelry business and allow for proper growth to keep up with growing demand.”
Creative entrepreneurs know the pursuit of commercial success must be balanced carefully with a continued commitment to their craft.
Blackburn knows that her strong network of profession
“Having strong supports are key to success and longevity in the creative industries,” Blackburn said.
“As I continue to add to my strong community of mentors, supporters and professionals I am confident I can build my career as a high-end jewelry designer.”