Emerging Entrepreneurship with Kelsi Sharp

Emerging Entrepreneurship with Kelsi Sharp

Kelsi Sharp is one of many makers who is a part of the MAKE Santa Fe community. We chatted with her about maker culture, Santa Fe and emerging media.

This is one of an ongoing series of interviews with emerging media trailblazers. Stay tuned for more by following Emerging Media Alliance on Facebook.

Kelsi Sharp working at MAKE Santa Fe on a sign for Dandelion Guild (which opens July 7)

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a graphic designer. I have had my own design company, Sharp Design Co, for a year and a half. I have one employee—me. I do graphic design, branding, and social media content creation.

The new part of my work is signage and environmental design. I’m working with wood, metal, acrylic, vinyl, and even leather to create way-finding signage, exterior signage, and creative installations.

What do you love about MAKE Santa Fe and maker culture?

MAKE is a very small community, and when I joined, so many people poured their knowledge and wisdom and experience into me—I had very little experience working with my hands. I was initially drawn to the idea of fabricating my work for two reasons—I spent the first year of owning my own business working really heavily in the digital realm. I worked my ass off for 365 days, and I had nothing tangible to hold or to demonstrate what I had been doing. And nothing that I made was ever bigger than a computer screen. So that was the first reason. The second reason is that I was working with vendors with timelines I couldn’t handle, or who I couldn’t rely on to reproduce my renderings of designed objects.

I started at MAKE with a final hour product packaging project, and I had to laser cut 200 units for a client in an impossibly short timeline, since other fabrication methods had failed. I was greeted by MAKE members and staff who were so positive and helpful. I joined the space and started getting certified on other equipment so that I could do more production. In an very short timeline, I’ve learned to use advanced machinery like laser cutters and plasma cutters, MIG welding equipment, and hand tools with support from the MAKE staff and the unsolicited (and very wise) opinions of other members of the space.

What’s exciting to you about emerging media?

Money is on my mind in a new way since I started my work as an independent contractor, so I’m really curious to see how artists who are working in innovative ways are going to capitalize on that work. For example, with new industries like social media marketing and social media content creation, I’m still trying to establish how the flow of work should go, how to gauge success, and how to charge clients. So with emerging media, I’m eager to see what creative ways people find to support themselves financially.

What’s exciting to you about Santa Fe?

I’m in love with Santa Fe—I see beauty and history everywhere, and I love the intimacy we have here as a small town. I know that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to work the way I’m working now in any other city on the planet. I am really relying on new economic development in Santa Fe to keep my work going.

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