Creative Business as Art: A Conversation with Wendy Downs

This is an excerpt from Designed to Sell: The Unconventional Guide to Creative Freedom.

Wendy Downs is the owner and designer of Moop, a Pittsburg bag company. She sat down with Jen Adrion and Omar Noory to talk about migrating from sculpture to photography to designing, sewing, and selling American made bags—and what it means to suddenly become a business owner with no business background.

Here’s a snippet of their conversation:

Jen: Your entire process must have shifted as you’ve scaled from one bag a day to 45. How have you managed your business with such a swift uptick in production?

Wendy: It’s a balancing act. Oftentimes I wind up spending months of end strictly working on the administration of the business—which starts to bum me out. I start to think “I started my own company to be creative, not to work on accounting and scheduling and ordering supplies.” But the structure of a business is equally as important as the product.

For me it’s a constant re-learning, and remembering that administration is really important work to do. People who are good at the business side of things are really pulling a certain part of their brain to make it good. This is not just some company I plan to sell. This is my existence. It is my creative practice and I’ve opened up to understand business is an incredible art form.

Listen to the entire interview here.


This interview was recorded by Jen Adrion and Omar Noory for Designed to Sell: The Unconventional Guide to Creative Freedom. By purchasing the guide, you can receive up to seven additional interviews and complete transcriptions.


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