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Dec. 5, 2022

Finding Joy Again Through Art with The Messy-ish Masterpiece creator and mil spouse Erin

Finding Joy Again Through Art with The Messy-ish Masterpiece creator and mil spouse Erin

Continuing with our mil spouse small business holiday series, we are talking to artist and creator Erin Hutton of The Messy-ish Masterpiece. If you love bright colors and the ocean, you will love her art!

Erin shares with us her journey through their 14 year (so far) military career. Including battling sickness and getting lost in the role of mil spouse and losing your own identity.

We talk about how she progressed through her art and used it to help her heal and find that joy within herself again.

Erin also shares what inspires her art and how her shop on Spouse-ly came to be!

If you are looking for holiday gifts, you need to check her out! She has some really cute holiday/beach prints and items that are so beautiful and fun.

I loved getting to know Erin and I hope you do as well!

Check out her Spouse-ly shop here
Follow her on IG @the_messy.ish.masterpiece

I so appreciate you listening to the show!

If you wouldn’t mind leaving a rating and review I would really appreciate it!!

To get in touch with Alison with questions or potential topics or guests please email


Follow us on IG @themilspousepodcast
 And please check out our brand spanking new website! www.themilspousepodcast.com


[00:00:00] As we continue on through the holiday season, we have Aaron Hutton, and Aaron is the. Wow. What is your title? The Creator. That's kind of what I wanted to say. Sure. Why not? That sounds great to me. The creator behind the messy ish masterpiece and if you, so I am, like I told her, I'm like a little bit of a fan girl because I love marine science.

[00:00:23] I love marine mammals. I love the ocean. And , that's what you do. You're a beautiful artist and , you guys have gotta go to her spouse Lee site and check out the products that she has. If you're an ocean lover, then you're gonna be in love with them too, just like I am.

[00:00:36] So anywho welcome to the show, Erin. Happy to have you here. Thank you. Yeah. Okay, so let's just dive in like we always do with your military affiliation, what your military life has looked 

[00:00:48] like, so, Okay. Yeah. So my husband is in the Air Force. He is an air battle manager. Not a lot of people know what that is.

[00:00:58] They, he, no idea. , but he's not. He flies inside of a giant plane with a big radar. Gotcha. And basically communicates with all of the pilots because he sees the big picture. They see a small picture, almost like they're looking through a straw. Mm-hmm. . And he just helps coordinate all that kind of stuff.

[00:01:17] Everything in the year, so, yeah. 

[00:01:20] Nice. And so then as a family, what, how long have you guys been in for and like what have your like moves and stuff like that? 

[00:01:26] Yeah, we are coming up on 15 years now. Wow. Yeah. And we have moved five times, so, you know, definitely not as much as a lot of other people, but a good amount

[00:01:43] It's crazy cuz some of 'em have been super short. Like our first one was nine months, our second one was six years, you know, so it's so crazy. It's kinda all over the place. Hard to predict. Yeah. We spent most of our time in the south. Okay. Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma. But we spent four years in Idaho.

[00:02:01] Ooh. And Idaho is actually kind of where I got started with my artwork. . Yeah, we were there four years. In, so I graduated with my degree in marketing. In marketing and I've always thought that I was not going to marry somebody in the military. I thought I was actually gonna be forever single and being, you know, I thought I was gonna work for an ad agency in New York and be like, hell and hunt in that old movie.

[00:02:29] What a woman wants. 

[00:02:30] Like Yeah. I was gonna say Sex in the city. Like, I like that. I 

[00:02:34] got it. I got it. Yeah. Yeah. Doing. Big, you know, brand campaigns and all that kinda stuff. I've since learned that I can campaign, you know, create my own brand and you know, the creation of social media and stuff makes it where I can, I can do my own stuff.

[00:02:48] I don't have to live in New York. I can have my family . And stuff. Yeah, so I was always creative. . But I was not necessarily. The best. I, so Monica Ley, she's the ceo. She loves this portion of stories. She's like, you have to, you have to tell this . So I took a lot of art when I was in middle school, high school.

[00:03:09] Okay. And just absolutely loved it. Like, I mean, it just, I could not wait for that class, but I was never the best, like my art teachers never. You know, we're 

[00:03:21] like, you have so much promise and so much talent. Exactly. Yeah. 

[00:03:25] I like accept what I made and showed it to the whole class or what. Right, right, right.

[00:03:29] You know, and so and there were just so many other talented people and I was just like, , I don't guess I will be doing this for a career, ? Yeah. And back then too, it was, there wasn't social media and so to be in the art world, you had to be in a gallery. Mm-hmm. . , I just was like that's not really gonna work for Air Force Life, you know?

[00:03:48] Yeah, kinda stuff. So I, you know, got my degree in marketing and I ended up doing photography for several years, and that went really well. It was really successful. But I have several autoimmune issues. Okay. I have lupus and connective tissue disorder. I have, oh geez. But they call persistent migraines.

[00:04:10] So I have migraines almost 24 7. Yeah. So it's just a matter of whether it's you. Low pain or extremely high. And so that made photography extremely difficult because, you know, I had clients relying on me to get out of bed in the morning and to meet them at a specific time. And I loved shooting families.

[00:04:30] And so, you know, high energy for kids and all that. And a lot of times I just didn't have that. And yeah uh, it, I lost a lot of my vision. So it's, it's weird because it can't be corrected with like glasses or anything because it's the, you know, it's migraine is neurological. Mm-hmm. And so sometimes I can see clearly, but a lot of the times it's almost like this background, you know, where like, yeah, it's 

[00:04:54] a little, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:04:55] It's, everything's fuzzy. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. 

[00:04:58] And so when I was shooting in my camera, I noticed everything was like pulling to the right. I, I mean, I couldn't even. Center my images cause my vision was off, so I kind of had to pivot and started doing A vinyl business. You know, when silhouettes and Crickets came out?

[00:05:13] Oh yeah, 

[00:05:14] I win. I, I feel like I need to pick that up. , I really feel like I need to have a cricket and figure out how to use it. I don't know, but I'm also one of those ones that's like, I'm sure someone else does it way better than I could ever do it. So let just buy from somebody else.

[00:05:26] Yeah. 

[00:05:28] It's worth i'd. It's worth it to have it. Like even though I don't do it as a full time business anymore, I still have all my stuff because you can do it for kids. You know, last minute costumes or like things that you need and stuff for me to, to dabble in. But I was one of the first kind of people to do that as a business cuz it had just kind of come out and I had kind of a graphic design background and stuff.

[00:05:51] I courses in college and so I loved doing that. Unfortunately, my body just kept failing me and I could not, , weed the small little details out of the vinyl anymore or press on my heat press. It was just taking a toll on my body. So I kind of went through that period where it's like, well, I won't do anything for myself anymore.

[00:06:14] I'm just gonna focus on being a mom, being a wife and a military spouse. Mm-hmm. . So as difficult as my illness, Were, and are, I, I still want to be active as much as possible. Be out there in the real world. So I, I really did dive into being a military spouse like that was, My only identity, I think.

[00:06:39] And what, and so what did that look like for you then as Right? Yeah, 

[00:06:43] I was on the officer spouses club. I was on the board, I was key spouse. I mean, I think my week was just full of nonstop meetings for. Whatever and whoever needed something on the base, you know? Yeah, yeah. I did still pick like the creative roles you know, doing event planning or I can't remember what we call it, but it was essentially marketing and that kinda thing.

[00:07:08] But I realized kind of towards the end of our 11th year, we. About to move from Idaho that I was just burnt out because I am a military spouse. Yes, but that is not. Who I am, you know? Yeah. I am not my husband's job as much as I love him and am proud of him and proud of all the people he works with and stuff.

[00:07:36] And I would love to support them. I still need to be me. Yeah. My kids needed me to be me because they realized too that I was unhappy and they didn't wanna be carded around to all the different meetings and stuff either. Yeah, I bet. Towards the end of our time in Idaho we were facing one more deployment.

[00:07:54] And I had a really big surgery and that kind of took me out for several months, but for the bulk of it at the beginning, I had to just be still for six weeks. I my, my body heals much, much slower than normal. And so I really just, Stuck in a recliner. , yeah. Oh my gosh. And that's it. As hard as it was, that was the switch for me.

[00:08:23] Cause I was forced to slow down from all the military responsibilities that I had. Yeah. And You know, I felt like I was just going crazy. I was like, I am so bored. Like my brain needs something be, and so I just happened to stumble upon an artist on Instagram and she had just put out a watercolor book how a Watercolor in 30 days.

[00:08:45] And I was like, you know, I have done everything under the sun creatively, but watercolor is the one thing that I, I hadn't . You know, I tried to back in high school a couple of times, but you know, it was those old Crayola watercolor things. Sure. Oh yeah. Oh yeah, yeah. You're, this is not doing what I want it to do and Right.

[00:09:05] See that's always my problem is like I have this fantastic vision and I can never make it look the way I have it in my mind, and it drives me bananas. So I'm like, I can't do it. ? Well, 

[00:09:17] yeah. So I had thrown watercolor out the window. I was like, yeah, no, that's never gonna be for me. I can't make it work.

[00:09:22] But I was like, you know what, I'll, I'll buy this tutorial book. I had promised myself too, I said, I'm gonna be sitting here for several more weeks doing nothing, and I am going to complete every tutorial in this book before I paint something for myself. 

[00:09:38] Oh, cool. Okay. Like, Make yourself go through school essentially.

[00:09:43] Yeah, yeah. 

[00:09:44] Basically. And it was just wild how it just, it just clicked. And , the creativity just started flowing more than I could have possibly imagined, you know? And yeah, my husband was like, whoa, where, where is this coming from? I felt almost like those people who. You hear about like, go in for brain surgery and they come out and they can like play violin or speak another language.

[00:10:08] Yeah, yeah. I went for surgery and came out and could like paint anything that I saw so strange. But the, you know, more I was posting kind of like, here's what I did today. , people were going, can I buy that? That's amazing. , can you turn that into a card? Can you do this? Then I realized I had.

[00:10:28] A true joy for the first time in a long time. And yeah. My husband deployed very quickly after, and I felt like that's what got me through the deployment was having some. For myself, you know? Yeah, yeah. Cuz when you're being a military spouse and you're so connected to the squadrons or those spouses clubs, you're reminded every day of his absence and Right.

[00:10:51] You know, or what they're going through or what somebody else is going through. And that can be heavy during that time period. So, sure. This was something for me to. Be me. And yeah, as young as my kids were, they, they loved it too. The happy colors and what animal I was doing next and. Actually the very first painting I painted after I completed all my tutorials, my son's cat

[00:11:17] Oh, I love it. So, yeah, so I painted his, his kitten for him and then a dinosaur for my youngest.

[00:11:26] And I bet they love that. My, I can. My daughters, my daughters, they're nine and 10 now, and my oldest, my 10 year old especially is like, she love. Crafts, like making stuff and painting and, you know, color, like all the things.

[00:11:42] And actually yesterday we were making cards for the veteran pen pal project for the operation. Yeah, yeah. And and she was like, mommy, come make a card with us. Like, they love, they like that they, you know, they liked for something that, Into for you to do it with them. So I'm sure that your boys were just like, Hey, look, this is so cool.

[00:12:03] Yeah, 

[00:12:04] yeah, 

[00:12:04] yeah. Well, they loved it and I mean, and they still do. Yeah, they're always like, wow. And it's funny when they can, sometimes, like halfway through the process, they'll be like what are you, ? I dunno, mom, I dunno. This one's 

[00:12:18] not 

[00:12:18] looking so good. . Yeah. But then at the end they're like, how did you go from what that looked like to the end product?

[00:12:25] Yeah. 

[00:12:25] You know? Yeah. That's really cool. I bet that would be really inter, I would be interested to see that. , what does that look like? You know, I'm just like imagining in my brain one of those time lapse things where it's this is the blank canvas and. And then eventually you end up with this, that would be really cool.

[00:12:41] I would be interested in watching something like that. , just because you're right, there's so much in the process that, , as a creative is that, is that hard to be in that when you're in the process and it's. Like, maybe, I don't know how it works it, but , do you have a vision in your brain?

[00:12:54] Like, this is what it's gonna look like, and so you're just slowly trying to get yourself there. Does it get hard in that creative process? It 

[00:13:01] does. It does. You know, there's times where you just feel like, you look at it like, my kids wouldn't be like, that is just, you know, and, and I, I kind of get there sometimes too.

[00:13:12] I'm like, how, you know, how am I gonna finish this out? Like, how do I, yeah. And I eventually get there, but actually I use, so when I'm painting watercolor, I do prefer it to be, more detailed and in that brain space where I have something and I want it to look, you know, a certain way, the exact way that it's in my brain and I will just, hyper focus and get those small details until it is yeah.

[00:13:39] In my acrylic. If you've kind of noticed it is a little bit more abstract and textured and stuff, and that's for the times when my brain, like I want to create, but , maybe life is crazy busy, you know? Or I don't have a lot of time, but it's like, I just need to get something flowing, and that's what I do more of the acrylic pieces and stuff that are slightly more abstract or, you know, yeah, kind of.

[00:14:05] Form 

[00:14:07] themselves, you know, and again, like seriously, you guys need to follow on Instagram, the messies masterpiece and look at the at your site because like, and, and I can, I can see what you're talking about. Cause I know that there are some that are very soft and the watercolors, right? They're, and then there are some that are very, they are like the, the hibiscus, right?

[00:14:28] Is that a hibiscus that the flower that you just Yeah. That is more kind of like that abstract, like with the behind it, like the, yeah. Colors and stuff. But the colors. Okay. So then I'm curious, how do you, so you said you started off with animals, you did your son's cat and then a dinosaur. Yeah. So like, how do you get inspired to what you wanna paint?

[00:14:46] How do you, where does that kind of spark come from? 

[00:14:50] So I think my entire life I have always been very affected by my surroundings. Okay. And I've always been. Wow. Look at those contrasting colors over there. Or I just like, I love that bird. You know, that's just, the feathers are so amazing and Okay. That's essentially what I do.

[00:15:09] I just kinda go through life and when I see something that just, Sparks my creativity or is just like, I, I want to encompass those colors into something. Yeah. I have way too many pictures on my phone, by that crazy person that is taking a picture of just something very small. I'm sure people walk by like, why is she, what 

[00:15:30] should I be interested in 

[00:15:31] that?

[00:15:31] What is that over there? I d do it, but I'm like, oh, but I can see this like certain color fade. It may not be the object that I'm taking a picture of, but like the coloring or the texture and stuff, it's like, oh. Of, kind of remember that and stuff. So, yeah. Keep a lot of pictures on my phone. I don't usually fully reference a photo for my painting, but if I'm just trying to get an idea of shape or layout, I will, but a lot of it is just more of.

[00:15:58] Color combinations and stuff like that, that I love. I obviously love color . Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:16:05] I mean, it's very bright and very bold. Yes. It's, yeah, it's beautiful though. Well, and then I was gonna say too, are you, it seems like because you're in Hawaii right now mm-hmm. , and so I can definitely tell that by looking at what you, what you have on your site, right?

[00:16:20] Like it's very, Like I get that tropical kind of feel. Mm-hmm. , 

[00:16:24] it turns not to be inspired by this island. I mean, , 

[00:16:27] it's really, yeah. Yeah, for sure. And so then I'm curious, cuz you have like, you have whales and you have hammerhead and you have turtles. , are those things that you have, experiences that you've had on the island and then you wanna, , capture it?

[00:16:40] , how did those come. Absolutely. 

[00:16:42] I pretty much don't paint anything that doesn't have a meaning to me. Okay. So my whales they actually have names like, I think my kids named him Wilber the Whale. My very first one because that's what I would call the whale that I would see.

[00:16:55] Yeah. On the west side of the island, the very first one I ever saw jump out a lot and I was just, my brain could not process how big it was. Like I just, I 

[00:17:05] know if you was like, I see them in person, it is. It's one thing to see a video, to watch a movie, but to be next to something that size is just.

[00:17:16] Like it's, it's like, I don't know, I, it's hard to explain like, and then especially if you are very connected to the ocean, I got so emotional the first time. Oh yeah. And I got really close to a whale. I was like, oh my God. Like this is, 

[00:17:29] yeah. Amazing. I will say I did not expect to have that experience cause I have a friend that does underwater photography and all that kind of stuff, and she's obsessed with whales and I honestly didn't get it.

[00:17:39] You know, I. Okay. You know and then the first time I saw it jump outta the water, I was like literally shaking. Yeah. I, I just like, could not believe it. And it was, it was a full breach with the twist. I mean, it was just like what you would see in National Geographic. It was, yeah. 

[00:17:53] Yeah. It was insane. But right in front of your face,

[00:17:56] Yeah. 

[00:17:57] And I had seen dolphins and stuff, you know, and it's like, okay, dolphins are about the size I thought they were or whatever. Like the whale made the, there were two boats that were out there looking at the dolphins and Yeah, the whale actually came out, you know, couple hundred yards behind them and then the boats looked this big.

[00:18:14] I just, you know, fell in love with that. And I have seen several more whales since then, and the dolphins, I've. Amazing experience. I need to do a dolphin because I 

[00:18:27] was gonna say, I don't remember seeing any dolphins on your, on your page.

[00:18:30] Yeah, I know that that'll probably be next. Cause yeah, I've had experiences where, you know, we're just out at a local beach, you know, not anything that tourists know of or anything. And those are the best ones, right? Yeah. We were all boarding with some friends and I mean, It was a pod of about 30 of them, and we jumped in the water.

[00:18:52] The water was crystal clear and they just swam around us and it was, yeah, I could see every little scar and bump and color on them. That's how, yeah, it was amazing. So yeah, most of my paintings come from a specific animal that I did see the turtles, you know, I reference my own picture. The sea turtle I saw.

[00:19:14] Yeah. 

[00:19:15] Yeah. Cause there's tons of turtles in Hawaii. Mm-hmm. . 

[00:19:18] Yeah. But before I moved to Hawaii, I still was already like, Pretty into like the bright colors, but I was living in , which is not bright . Yeah. I mean, no, you're absolutely beautiful. But even when I was painting mountains and you know, forests and forest animals and stuff like that, I was still painting them and.

[00:19:41] I guess exotic colors, the mountains were purple or the sky was pink and Yeah, the trees were teal blue, 

[00:19:49] I love that. Well, that's one of the things that, one of the things that you have for Christmas too, that I think is really pretty, Is you have this , it's like a mountain scene, but it's just trees.

[00:19:57] It's just evergreen trees and they're all hot pink to yellow. There's all these variations of color, but they're all super bright and I think it's beautiful. It's because it's so unexpected for the holidays, right? It's like red green, you know? Why can't there be like, it's just beautiful.

[00:20:11] I think. Yeah, I think that's awesome. I's awesome. Why 

[00:20:13] can't they be this color? Why can't, yeah, 

[00:20:15] right. Exactly. Yeah. Why 

[00:20:16] not? For sure. My son even commented on that painting and he was like, mom, it looks like the trees. Absorbed the Northern Lights . And I was like, wow, that's actually really cool. 

[00:20:28] That is really cool.

[00:20:30] Yeah. What a beautiful way to look at that. Cause , I was thinking it's the tropical twist on a Christmas thing, but I, that's. That's a beautiful way to look at it. I love that. Yeah. The Northern Lights. Yeah. Okay. So then so, and now, so you guys are getting ready and you've, you've talked about this on your social media.

[00:20:46] You guys are getting ready to move to Arizona. So what is that? And, and it's kind of like the change of colors. You can already see it in some of the things that you've posted. Yeah. So I'm, I'm cur are you already kind of leaning that way, like with your art towards like the southwest kind of vibe?

[00:21:04] , what is that gonna look like for you? 

[00:21:06] Yeah, it's, it's been interesting. I've been thinking a lot about that, ? I think. Artists kind of are always evolving anyways and Sure. You know, I am just so impacted by my surroundings Yeah. That it's very likely that I will want to paint, you know, desert life and stuff.

[00:21:23] But I do think I will always probably keep my tropical vibe. Maybe not as often, but it's gonna be a part of me and you know, it just with my color palette and stuff, it's just so. It just goes so well, you know? Yeah, yeah. But I am excited to see how I'm inspired in Arizona. It's, I'm actually kind of thankful because.

[00:21:46] you know, coming from Idaho, it's where I got started in my art, but I would not call it an art community, you know? Mm-hmm. . It's not something where people seek out art or have a lot of galleries and that kind of thing. Hawaii is big on that. It's, they're huge on collecting art and whatnot.

[00:22:05] But Arizona actually has a pretty large art scene, I was gonna 

[00:22:09] say. 

[00:22:09] , so I'm pretty thrilled about that. I think it will just continue to, , evolve as far as what the landscapes look like and stuff, but you'll still be able to know it's me with those bright colors and everything.

[00:22:22] Do you feel like, so you, you went from Idaho then to Hawaii. Do you feel like the, the time that you've spent in Hawaii has brought out more of that? Cause I feel like those, the colors that you use are very tropical. The, so do you feel like that fostered that more for you?

[00:22:38] That the, the like the use of those colors or? I 

[00:22:42] think so, yeah. I, so we actually went to Alabama in between, but it was real quick and it was okay. C you know, so we were only there 11 months and half of that was C and we moved to Hawaii just during the thick of it. And oh man, weren't really allowed to go anywhere or do anything.

[00:22:59] Like literally the beaches were closed and 

[00:23:01] I know isn't, I don't think people understand. Hawaii went pretty high and right with their rules. Washington state the same was similar, but Hawaii went the extra mile. Yeah, they literally closed the 

[00:23:12] beaches, which is, yeah. People like, well at least you're in paradise.

[00:23:14] I'm like, I don't think you understand. It's closed. . 

[00:23:16] You're not allowed to go there. Close it. So yeah, I'm 

[00:23:19] unfortunate that I have this view and the previous homeowners made. Gorgeous backyard. We have fruit trees and hibiscus and every tropical flower that there is back there. And so that's, you know, I didn't have anything else to do and at the time my business was just either my originals or prints.

[00:23:39] Yeah. And I started as I was painting kind of the bright flowers around me and that kind of thing I started trying to kind of figure. What else I could do with them. And that's how a lot of my products that I sell have kind of come to life. Okay. I started creating, different pieces of artwork that I could then digitize and turn into patterns.

[00:24:02] Okay. To create swimwear and beach towels and bags that I would want to buy, you know? Yeah. Yeah. Cause oddly enough there's not. Much stuff here, like what I do, you know? Okay. A lot of the rash guards and stuff are solid or simple and I just, I, I know myself, I'm happier when I have all the bright, fun stuff, you know?

[00:24:29] Yeah. So I'm just gonna create for what I would love and yeah. I've always had an interest in what they call surface pattern design, which is taking your artwork and turning it into patterns and things that can be, you know, turned into clothing and put on a mug or planner and stuff like that. 

[00:24:49] Okay. So it's not just as simple as like, Hey, I made this painting, I'm gonna scan it, and now it can be put on something else.

[00:24:54] That's not how it works. 

[00:24:56] definitely not that simple. Ok. ? Yeah. Ok. That's actually the harder part, you know? Okay. Think the original. I can just paint and yeah, do my thing and yeah, I can just scan it. But as far as making it something that can be printed on a shirt or, you know, a product, it takes a lot of steps.

[00:25:17] It, it gets scanned in and then I have to adjust it in Photoshop and stuff to be. More like the colors of the actual, painting interesting or colors that I know a printer can handle. Cuz a lot of times what I do, bright colors, printers can't handle all of that. So I kinda adjust that and then it takes a lot of Photoshopping and stuff to really clean up.

[00:25:39] The images and get them to where they can be you know, even turned into patterns and that kind of thing and, and reprinted. So, 

[00:25:46] yeah. So is that something, so you, you obviously create the art and then you, on your computer, turn it into a digital image that can be used to print other things, and then do you do that as well or do you have somebody that makes the products for you?

[00:26:01] How does 

[00:26:01] that work? Well, I have a manufacturer that does make the products, but I do everything else from, , Everything I do is hand painted. Yeah. So every image you see, I don't put it, I don't make it on my iPad. It's all hand painted, scanned, digitized, and I even the patterns are done by hand, by me.

[00:26:20] Yeah. Up, all I do is I upload it to my manufacturer kind of. Get it into their patterns the way they need it and they typically, 

[00:26:29] okay, cool. And so then do 

[00:26:30] you at that point I'm responsible 

[00:26:32] for, so . Okay, gotcha. So then do you, so then how does that work? So I just, I like to kind of dive in as much as I can.

[00:26:39] To the nuts and bolts behind businesses because I'm sure there's a ton of military spouses that have products and things like that, and maybe they're just starting and they have questions. So I'm kind of like asking. Well, I'm curious too, cuz I don't know, I don't have products. I don't how, how it all works.

[00:26:53] But so the manufacturer that you use, do you like, so if someone goes to your Spousely site and they're like, I want. Picture, does it go to the manufacturer to print or do you order a, I'm gonna get X amount of this, and then you have it? Like, how, what does that look like? So I do it both 

[00:27:11] ways. I usually keep a certain amount of stock on hand for me when I do markets or things locally because.

[00:27:20] Things take forever to get out here to Hawaii. So I really don't even list anything until I have some, some things in my hands that local customers can get quickly. And then I usually reserve. Having it shipped directly from the manufacturer to my customer for what we call the mainland.

[00:27:40] Okay. Everybody else on the mainland I usually do what they call drop shipping and my manufacturer will send it to them. Gotcha. I do it that way right now for time and, and money purposes. Mm-hmm. , when I move to Arizona, I probably will do a lot more in being able to keep things. On hand and doing it myself.

[00:27:57] Cause I love to, you know, do my own packaging, include the handwritten note and yeah, that's what I would much rather do. But I also know. You know, my customers want things in a decent amount of time and whatnot. So that's, 

[00:28:11] that's, that's a great point though, because that's a, you know, that's a hurdle, right, to overcome when you're in Hawaii, especially now.

[00:28:18] Oh my gosh. Because everything's taking forever here. So it already took longer when you were not on the mainland. So, and now with Covid and the supply chain and whatever, and I'm sure that being in Hawaii, that's even. Even worse than, oh yeah. There for you guys. Yeah. Cause it was already slow. 

[00:28:37] Yep. It's, it was already slow and it's slower now and it's just super expensive.

[00:28:44] Crazy expensive. We can't hardly find places that will ship out here. So those that do, it's really pricey. And so then I don't wanna have to pass. Cost onto my customers. Mm-hmm. . So that's why I do try to drop ship as much as possible. Cause otherwise I'm paying a high cost to ship it to me and then I'm having to pay again to ship it back out, back, you know?

[00:29:05] Yeah. Yeah. So and that's where a lot of small businesses struggle, not just me. I know a lot of the spouse vendors, a lot of people trying to get off the ground. Yes. It's that shipping cost and production cost that is. Really kind of eating small businesses alive right now. Yeah. So if you can support small business, please do.

[00:29:25] And please understand why they aren't having Black Friday deals or charging Amazon prices because the cost for them to create is very, very high right now. Mm-hmm. . And a lot of us aren't set up to print our own things like some, I know some creators don't even have like their own printer at home or anything like that.

[00:29:45] Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. to print the quality. Mm-hmm. that that cost to do that is, it can be high, but Yeah. I know I can speak for a lot of us. We love what we do and we're passionate about it, and we will continue creating, you know. Yeah. For you to enjoy. 

[00:30:02] So yeah, I was I just did an interview yesterday afternoon with another vendor, Charlie Madison Originals.

[00:30:10] Yes. Who does the bracelets. And we were talking about that too. She's like the prices because we're all feeling it right as consumers. Grocery store prices are insane. Gas prices have luckily gone back down now, but like going grocery shopping is. It's mindboggling, the price increases on a weekly basis.

[00:30:30] It's bananas. And so there's a lot of people that are struggling right now with Oh yeah. With just the high prices of everything. And so, and then as a small business, Right. It's expensive for you to procure more expensive for you to procure your, for her example, the beads and the things to actually make the products.

[00:30:49] And then it's, I, it's really hard to compete with the big juggernaut, like Amazon that have free shipping on all this stuff. And then as a small vendor, shipping's expensive and , that's not your burden. Right. It's a hard spot for spot for small businesses to be in, which again was why I wanted to kind of make the spotlight.

[00:31:11] Like, Hey, you know, let's keep, keep our military spouses and. In small businesses in mind as we're doing our shopping for the, for the holidays. Okay. So then so where can people find your products? What kind of things do you have to offer and what is your, do you have a deadline to have by Christmas?

[00:31:30] , what does that look like for you as well? 

[00:31:32] Yeah, so you can find me exclusively on spousely spousely.com. Mm-hmm. , and it's a marketplace for. Military spouses, veterans, and first responder families. There is just an amazing array of creators and entrepreneurs out there, so I highly suggest checking it out.

[00:31:54] But my shop is there, and you can find anything from my originals, which are on my, you know, big canvases. Some of them are 20 by 20, even bigger than that. . Some small ones coming out actually within the next couple of days. For some quick ship, if you want some custom art, but, you know, can't splurge on the big canvas and wanna gift something smaller.

[00:32:16] I will have some of those out soon. You can find prints, which again so my deadline for the print is a little bit further out. It's about the 14th or 15th, cause I know it being a little bit smaller can ship a little bit quicker. So then I have items like Lease blankets. They are absolutely amazing.

[00:32:39] I know it's kinda like 

[00:32:39] I want, I want the one with the hammerhead on it. 

[00:32:42] it. My son, oh my gosh. He has claimed that as his own was the hammerhead and yeah, I tell you, we use those blankets every single day. Even being here in Hawaii, we use them all the time. I have, you know, two kids, two dogs and a cat and they hold up so well, I've had to wash 'em several times and they're so soft.

[00:33:00] Perfect size, but yeah, so that's a really fun Christmas gift, one of my popular sellers. But that would have to be around the 10th. Just to guarantee. Mm-hmm. and I have coffee mugs and swimwear. Swimwear is obviously not on the. Everyone's mine for Christmas. 

[00:33:22] But if you're, it's, if you're in Hawaii, you still need it on your own, right?

[00:33:26] Yeah. Yeah. So, 

[00:33:28] or Florida, right? Yeah. 

[00:33:29] Yes. Yeah. I actually have gotten to where I can't even wear some of the bigger brands, rash guards, cuz they're just not as comfortable as the ones that I felt like. Yeah. I am like, truth be told, they're so stretchy and, and soft and so much more comfortable and vibrant.

[00:33:46] So yeah, and that's, those are long sleeves. If you want something a little warmer for 

[00:33:51] Christmas, there you go. Yeah, I love that. Not a swimsuit. 

[00:33:54] So, perfect. Yeah. Some, a little something 

[00:33:57] for everyone out there. Yeah. I was, I was I was snooping around there last night actually. My daughter was like, what are you looking at?

[00:34:04] Ooh. Ooh. Like, we were just . We should get that. And you have some like, well just, your art is beautiful. But you have, and there's so many other things too. So one of the other things that I saw too, that I really liked were. Stickers like that you can put on a water bottle, the waterproof stickers and you had a bunch of different states.

[00:34:20] So that's kind of something that would be really cool as like a military family, right? Mm-hmm. , like you've got, you know, hey, I was in here and here, like there's a bunch of states that are where we've lived. 

[00:34:29] Are always so fun and so.

[00:34:31] You know, for stocking stuffers or to put on a water bottle we have them on just about everything in our house. , right? Galore. It was really funny. We had our cub scouts at my house the other night for my son's den, and they had to one of their. Requirements that they had to complete was going to an art gallery.

[00:34:51] Yes. So my husband had me set up my own art gallery, my studio . And so we took them on a tour through the gallery and whatnot in my studio. And at the end I was like, okay, I'm gonna give them all little stickers. And you know, my son has seen them all and he is had. , almost every one of them and stuff.

[00:35:10] But yeah, he was so excited to get, I'm like, it's huge for you 

[00:35:16] every single day. I know, I know. Oh 

[00:35:18] no. He was just like absolutely thrilled to like show his friends and then like he was telling him, he knew where he was gonna put it and everything. It was just, it was cute. That's cute. 

[00:35:25] That is really cute.

[00:35:26] And I know, it's so funny kids, cuz my daughter says, they're like, woo stickers. Like I, I don't know what the deal is, but they love it. It's so funny, actually, I just had an idea I think cuz my daughters need new water bottles and they had Savannah at one point wanted me to buy them like the clean canteen that's white and apparently you can paint it and stuff.

[00:35:46] And so now I'm thinking I should get them water bottles and then buy them stickers and then they get , right? Like just something decorated that way. That would be a fun, a little fun, a fun little Christmas gift to do. Might be 

[00:35:59] a little cleaner. . Yeah. 

[00:36:01] Right. Yeah. And then I know, I've been thinking, cause she's like, and then you can draw on it with it.

[00:36:05] And I'm like I, I don't know. I wasn't seeing how that was gonna work out, but I think the waterproof stickers might be the way to go with that one for sure. Okay. Well Erin, I appreciate your time and I will definitely be ordering from your store. I love you have this super cute so you have a lot of stuff that is like ocean themed for c.

[00:36:26] Which I think is awesome. So we already talked about the, which is not really ocean theme, but like the evergreens that are the really bright, like tropical colors, which is super cool. And then you have what is it, Shelly? Shelly Crisp, what is it? The Christmas one that the GLE shells. GLE shells, yeah.

[00:36:40] Jingle shells and the shell, which is super cute. If you live in Florida, on the co, that would be a really, you know, cute decor to have for your house or. You have a sweatshirt too. There's other those products. And then I really like the whale, so there's a whale and it's like Whaley Christmas, Christmas.

[00:36:58] I want that one really bad. . Erin, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate you being here.

[00:37:02] And please follow, I will link it because you have some underscores and periods, but it's the messy ish masterpiece and I will definitely link it in the show notes so people can find you and shop spousely and like so. I've talked to you're the third one that I've talked to and everybody sells on spousely.

[00:37:20] So , everybody should know about 

[00:37:23] Spousely after. That's a great organization. Organization, 

[00:37:26] yeah, of course. For military families and first responders and veterans and yeah, I agree for sure. Yeah. 

[00:37:33] You know that your money is making a difference. Your purchase is supporting, , families and giving back for.

[00:37:41] Everything that they sacrifice. So yeah, really, and we appreciate it. From the bottom of our hearts, we truly do appreciate each and every purchase. So 

[00:37:48] yeah. Yeah, for sure. Okay, Aaron, well I appreciate your time. Thank you for being here. 

[00:37:53] Thank you so much.