Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Quitting Your Day Job With Reclaimed Designs

Jenny Strohm is a mosaic artist who recently took that daring leap of pursing her art, Reclaimed Designs, full-time, here she shares her experience and how it's been going.

Last December, after nearly 30 years of being employed in various jobs as a Registered Nurse, I decided to take a hiatus. My emotional state was becoming more important than the money that I earned, so I decided to follow my heart’s desire; to work full-time creating and selling my handmade mosaics. With a savings of less than I had planned on, and with the complete support of my family, I took the plunge.

The first couple of months were exhilarating. I was ecstatically happy and confident. I was consumed with creativity and my every ounce of energy went into prolifically producing mosaics and posting them daily in my etsy shop. With all of the hard work that I was doing, I was disappointed to have only made a couple of etsy sales, however I remained positive.

I joined Bliss co-op in Sugar Loaf, placed my mosaics in Karmabee in Kingston, participated in a show at Cornell Street Studios in Kingston, joined The Treehouse in New Paltz, and had a few pieces accepted on consignment into Hudson Valley Finds and at Bumble and Hive, both in Rhinebeck. I started an etsy vintage shop and due to a surprising amount of sales, my energy seemed to shift away from my etsy mosaic shop.

After four months of working for myself, I can say that I am content with my accomplishments so far. My profits have been tiny, but satisfying. Sometimes I wonder if I can keep up the momentum and the creative juices flowing. What I miss the most is having the comfort of a steady paycheck. I rarely get lonely, although I do get restless for a change of environment at times. When that happens, I have the luxury of being able to take a walk, or a nap, or a drive somewhere and there is no time clock running. This is my job now, and in order to make it work, I have to keep pushing on. There are so many opportunities still yet to pursue, and I have to get my etsy mosaic shop running again.

I know that it would be very difficult to return to the rigid and structured environment of a “real” job, so I frequently remind myself how lucky I am at this time in my life. I am fortunate to have a husband who is able support us financially. Hopefully my good fortune will last, my profits will get larger, and I can continue to work for myself.

Jenny will have some of her artwork displayed at Passion for Fashion at Cornell St Studios in Kingston, NY starting this Saturday May 12th.


  1. Congratulations Jenny on pursuing your passion. Wishing you tons of success.

  2. Jenny, I know exactly what you are going through. After several years of being miserable at my 9-to-5 job I quit to become a full-time maker. It stupidly did it with no savings but I pushed on and didn't allow myself to stop. It's been almost 6 months and I'm still pushing. I've never been more broke but I've also never been more content. I plan to be at the Cornell St. Studios show and I will make it a point to shake your hand in solidarity.
    Best wishes to you and keep it up!

  3. Jenny, brave move! Enjoy the journey!
    P.S. Please link to your vintage shop here and in your mosaics Etsy shop too! :)

  4. Good for you! It's often an overwhelming amount of work but when your passion is the driver, you find a way. The ups and downs are many but it's all yours - the business, the product, the art the freedom and time - all yours. xo

  5. Had to stop reading this to wait on a customer who came in specifically to buy one of your beautiful bud vases as a Mother's Day gift! Now I'm back to say, Jenny, your work is gorgeous, I am so happy you are giving it your all, and I am thrilled to be a part of your journey!