Go behind the scenes with some of our favorite makers! We sat down with these entrepreneurs for a deep dive on their businesses, what makes them tick and what they’ve got in store for the future! Join us as we Meet the Maker!
This time, we spoke with Laura Cott of LaCott Fine Art! Let’s dive in.
Q: Give us your back story! What made you want to start your business?
A: I started my business as a creative outlet and a way to focus my energy. I had just left a full-time job in events, and I felt like I had lost my passion for making since college. I was painting for myself and posting on social media; with some positive feedback and a push from friends, I decided to showcase my work at some local shows and online.
Q: Did you come in with experience or did you learn as you went?
A: I graduated with a Fine Arts Degree from Buffalo State College and always knew I wanted to be part of the creative world. My concentration was painting. College taught me the painting skills, but real-life experience (trial and error) and learning from my artist community have helped me unbelievably.
Q: What makes LaCott Fine Art unique compared to other companies?
A: I am a woman-run small business specializing in painting, mixed media, and functional art items for the home. The style of my work is recognizable for the influence of the natural world. My primary focus as a maker and creative is to create art that people can appreciate and understand. I try to bring to light the beauty of minimalistic design, color combinations, and line work. I work closely with creative minds and the community to encourage the teaching of arts through my site and in-person workshops! Education helps me bring art to life and keeps me sharp, enabling me to learn alongside my students.
Q: What kinds of challenges have you had to overcome as a small business owner and entrepreneur?
A: There have been times when I have doubted myself and what I bring to the table as a maker. There have been times when I have reached out to larger buyers, shops, and even people, who didn’t see the vision I had for my business. I’ve tried hard not to let small setbacks become failures or stop me from moving forward. I’ve had to push myself to be more open and involved. I’m learning to be vulnerable, and it’s ok to ask for help from your community.
Q: How have you coped with COVID? How have you had to pivot?
A: Running my business has always been my goal, though it’s taken a pandemic to make the option of working for myself full time a reality. I’ve worn many hats and juggled multiple jobs while pursuing LaCott Fine Art; sometimes it took the back burner to other responsibilities and others’ dreams. Covid forced me to slow down, take a moment to collect and no longer give myself excuses why my business shouldn’t come first. I relied heavily on in-person sales, large shows/festivals and events to generate sales and connect with customers. With most shows canceled, it forced me to focus on online engagement, my website, and my audience’s trust. I’m still adapting (social media is something I love and battle) but I feel more connected than I ever have with my followers and fellow small businesses!
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: A typical day is never truly the same, which I love and sometimes wish was a little more stable. I do my best to set a calendar for myself at the beginning of the week, keeping me on track with social posts and making new products and maintenance! I start with emails and a tall glass of water, check-in with inventory for both my website and wholesale clients, and either work toward finishing a piece or prepping for a class. Time is lost fast when I’m in my studio, so I set the alarm on my phone for breaks and snacks! Going to the studio is a routine. To be able to separate myself and go into my workspace helps me be more productive.
Q: Is this your full time job?
A: Covid was the silver lining I needed to make my business my full-time job. Under the umbrella of my business, I am the maker, marketer, and promoter. I also use my platform for arts education and collaboration. I try to find a balance between making, sharing, and teaching.
Q: What are your goals for the future of LaCott Fine Art?
A: My hope for the future is to continue to grow and expand on my mission of bringing art to peoples every day, whether through beautiful paintings, artist workshops, or a blog as a place for people to come for inspiration while continuing to grow my reach beyond Western New York. I would love to transition into an overall lifestyle brand focusing on pairing my art with interior design trends and inspiration, a place for community, collaboration, and design. I would love to build a team of strong creative women to help build my brand!
Q: What do you like most about what you do? What keeps you going?
A: I enjoy experimenting with my art. I love to solve creative problems in design and teach myself new things. Being in charge of my artistic destiny keeps me excited about what will inspire me next. When I paint what I enjoy and what I like, I find less pressure than painting for an intended audience. Being my boss means I get the final say in what I release and stand behind! I also really love to see my paintings and prints in people’s homes, on their walls and how they’re enjoying them. I call it “art in the wild,” and it makes what I do worth it when people share them with me.
Q: What are you looking forward to most, post-COVID?
A: I love to travel and I would love to expand into shows/festivals outside of Buffalo. I really miss in-person sales and connecting with my customers.
Q: We’re suckers for fun facts! Tell us more about you; share some deep dark secrets!
A: Things I think you should know: I love dogs more than humans. I’m a serial Netflix binge-watcher. I love cooking delicious food and there isn’t a DIY project I won’t try. Cheez-Its are only a special occasion snack, or I will eat the whole box. Puns and the perfect meme can make my day. I firmly believe that the perfect greeting card picks you, not the other way round.
Be sure you check out our virtual market and see if LaCott Fine Art is participating; our virtual market vendors often offer exclusive discounts to our virtual market attendees. Shop small and save! Drop us a comment if you’ve shopped this maker and tag us in your photos when you’re using their goods! Put your money where your heart is and join us as we continue to support small. We believe this artisan is the next big thing, and we’re happy you met them here first!