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Episode 7: The Myth of the Solopreneur

Your Handmade Business

"Your Handmade Business" is a podcast for makers about the big picture of your business. Each episode we tackle an important (and sometimes uncomfortable) topic about running a handmade business and feature perspectives and experiences from Academy of Handmade members, as well as the greater maker community.

Episode 7: The Myth of the Solopreneur

Isaac Watson

Back in action with a meaty episode, Isaac dispels the myth of the "solopreneur" and advocates for finding community and hiring help to make sure your business thrives. He interviews Brianne Mees of Tender Loving Empire about the family she's formed over the last ten years, and the growth lessons she's learned from an unconventional independent business.

Episode Guest

Brianne Mees and her husband Jared moved to Portland over a decade ago and immediately fell in love with the creative community they found themselves immersed in. Brianne recalls thinking all of the artists and musicians they were getting to know would surely be famous, but started to fear that none of them would find the support they needed to succeed. A short while later, with a hefty dose of naivety and youthful ambition, Tender Loving Empire was born. It started as a record label (partly to help publish Jared’s own music), then quickly turned into a retail shop that carried the work of local artists and makers. 10 years later, Tender Loving Empire is an independent record label that has published more than 65 albums and supports about a dozen active gigging artists at any given time, as well as small boutique chain—two words I’d have never thought could co-exist so awesomely—with three retail locations and a fourth opening in just a few weeks within the Portland International Airport. Fun facts: They’ve paid out more than 2.5 million dollars to 300 makers since they’ve opened their doors, and by the end of May (with the Airport store fully staffed), they’ll employ 39 people.

Upcoming Event

Fail Forward, April 6, 2017: