How to Successfully Blend Creativity and Commerce: Interview with Madeline Ellis

Is it possible to blend your art and creativity with commerce and entrepreneurship?

How to Successfully Blend Creativity and Commerce: Interview with Madeline Ellis

Can you still be passionate about your art while blending creativity with commerce? Madeline Ellis, founder of Mimosa Handcrafted Jewelry and our guest today, answers yes. She joins us and shares how she has not only successfully balanced art and entrepreneurship, but also family life.

In this episode, we join Madeline on her journey from starting her jewelry business through today. She also gives us practical tips and advice for artists and creatives who want to pursue their passion as a vocation on today’s The Portfolio Life.

Madeline began making jewelry part-time in 2008. It was piling up around the house and her husband encouraged her to start selling some of it. He helped her branch out from selling to family and friends to delighting a broader customer base.

When she was pregnant with her son she had 4 months of maternity leave, unpaid. So it became their trial run to see if they could live off of her husband’s income and her supplemental jewelry income. It went pretty well so after working part-time for another 5 months, she struck out on her own. She’s been full speed ahead ever since!

Mimosa Handcrafted has grown from the back of her house in her husband’s old woodshop into a second story with three more full-time employees. They’ve expanded to selling jewelry online, at art markets, festivals, and boutiques.

Listen to the podcast

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Show highlights

In this episode, Madeline tells us:

  • How did her family influence her creatively?
  • Did she ever think jewelry was her calling or was it a gradual realization?
  • What are shadow careers and did she have any?
  • How did her landscape work prepare her for her jewelry business?
  • Why did she decide to stop making custom pieces?

Creating things I wanted to exist was a natural thing to do.

Madeline Ellis

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On starting her jewelry business

  • How did she know when to quit her job?
  • When did her husband start working in her jewelry business?
  • What resources helped her learn about the specifics of running a business?
  • How did failing guide her on her journey?
  • When did she start to get more serious about the business side of making jewelry?

I see myself as a creative person who makes jewelry right now.

Madeline Ellis

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The art and the business of your passion

  • What is her thought process behind new pieces?
  • Has she lost any of her passion as she has monetized her art?
  • Who is on her team and how do they support the entire business?
  • Did she have an “I made it” moment?
  • What is the difference between work-life integration and work-life balance?


What new ideas do you have for combining art, creativity with commerce and entrepreneurship after listening to Madeline? Let us know in the comments.