We had the good fortune of connecting with Samara Caughey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samara, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Starting my own business was a huge, risky undertaking for me, but it was even more risky for me to not start Purple Twig. I was teaching classes here and there at local art institutions. I had 2 children under the age of 6, my son was 2 and my daughter was 5. I was the main caregiver for these two little humans and I loved taking care of them, but it was important for me to be financially independent, building towards being able to financially take care of them as well. Working part time wasn’t going to make that happen. A career in an office or institution just was not a viable option for me emotionally. Looking back on it I think my ignorance about business might have been an asset. I didn’t have a business plan but had a lot of curriculum for teaching art. I thought, how hard can it be to just rent a small storefront, get some table, chairs, shelves and art supplies. Well it was difficult. The first year kicked my butt, but luckily I didn’t take out any loans, I worked small with the finances I had and kept a float until I started actually growing to now being able to take my kids to Italy for a week for a vacation. Being financially independent while working at something I truly love has been incredibly rewarding. I also found out that I am pretty good at business and keeping focus on what is important to me as a business person.
What should our readers know about your business?
Purple Twig is an art studio for kids and families in the neighborhood of Eagle Rock in Los Angeles. We create sophisticated art curriculum for kids ages 2-11 exploring materials in both process and learning technique. I pride myself in creating a safe environment where children feel comfortable to express themselves freely and that their choices have value. My business is dedicated to bringing something meaningful to families. This part of the business comes naturally for me. Marketing on the other hand is not my strong suit. I prefer to spend my time creating new curriculum for printmaking with 4 and year olds rather than trying to promote my business. This has kept my business small but also allows me to maintain a lovely sense of community, knowing most of the families that join us in a personal manner rather than us just being a service. I am also excited to announce that I am working on a book of drawing projects for children based on our teaching philosophy giving technical instruction while supporting children in furthering their own voice in art making. This will be published in March by Quarto Press. I am thrilled to bring our drawing curriculum to a wider audience.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Descanso Gardens, Eaton Canyon for some great outdoor strolling and hiking. LACMA museum, Broad Museum and Pit gallery or LOMA art projects for some art gazing Watergrill either downtown or in Santa Monica for oysters Otoña in Highland park for a delicious Paella. LA Dance Project for some classic and contemporary modern dance.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The first an important task I did in order to start my business was to find a good CPA. Bobby Malhotra has been the best accountant, answering all of my inane questions about business. He has been a constant in the ups and downs of owning a business.
Other: pinterest @purpletwig
Darcy Hemley Samara Caughey