Since I started this whole endeavor in 2009, my main goal has been to earn a living making things by hand while promoting connection. For the first two years, I worked out of a shed in my back yard in Nashville by myself. Then I got an intern, who soon became an employee. Then I had the opportunity to share a legitimate workspace with a fellow craftsman. Then another employee came. Then another. Soon I had my very own workspace with an attached retail space and 5 employees. It was incredible. Or so I thought. No longer did I have the time or mental energy to pour myself into the craft of making items. I had to run a business and manage employees and figure out growth and have a PR strategy. And soon I hit a wall and found myself miserable. Though I had achieved a measurable amount of success by many standards and had a great love and admiration for the people who worked for me, I was not fulfilling my original goal. I was spending very little of my time actually making things, and my promotions very rarely had anything to do with connection.
At the time, I wasn’t in a position to just walk away and start over, so I began to slowly dismantle what had been built up. Two years later, I find myself truly getting back to the roots of this endeavor. I have a private studio in the basement of a house in Oak Ridge. It’s just me. I spend most of my time making caps and communicating directly with customers. It’s modest, by many measures, but it is exactly what I desire. Perhaps in the future I will make the studio (and my home) available for visits, but at the moment, the best way to connect directly is by phone or email, or find out when I will be doing a pop-up near you. Or if there isn’t one near you, let me know you’re interested in seeing one nearby.
handmade by Otis
in Oak Ridge, TN