We had the good fortune of connecting with Lindsay Graham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lindsay, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
In September of 2020, I gave birth to my first child, Wesley James Frederick Graham.
Being a new mother presents many challenges, and those challenges come in all shapes and sizes. While stepping into the biggest role of my life, and also struggling with a short spout of postpartum anxiety, I was blessed with an incredible desire to create a legacy for my son and my family. I found a silver lining amidst the chaos, and with fear and faith in my heart, I knew that I had to take the leap and start my own small business or regret never trying. Thus, in December of 2020, three months after the birth of my son, I also gave birth to Wesley James Company (WJC for short).
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I create hand burned hats and jewelry accessories with hat pyrography being at the forefront of my business.
I hand-burn and distress hats with fire and draw free-hand pyrography designs into the brims and crowns to complete original looks. Most of my drawings/designs are influenced by botanical patterns and rustic landscapes. I use edgy embellishments for original flair and muscle.
What sets me apart from other artists is that I draw my pieces free-hand without tracing. I have had a lot of customers send me photos of special places like their cabins, pictures of their hometown mountains, or paintings that their grandparent created to be converted to a pyrography design on a hat. I’m really proud to be able to create these types of special and personalized pieces for my customers. When a customer opens the box and is moved to tears by my creation, or they’re left beaming with excitement, I know I’ve done well.
Likewise, I’m a people person. I make friends with people who come to my site and social media platforms. I like to get to know where people come from and who they are. I enjoy making people feel appreciated simply for stopping by and giving a photo a like. They didn’t have to, but they did. I like to make people feel like they matter. Having little conversations with people who comment really personalizes the experience of visiting my media platforms. I actually want to know you! It is ACTUALLY ME messaging you to say hello and give you a coupon code on my website. I want to know my followers. We likely have a lot in common and will end up becoming friends!
A lot of social media is about having the most followers but following no one else in return. I’m not about that. Art should bring people together, and I think that’s where I stand out in comparison to other artists out there.
I’m not sure how I ended up here……burning hats and making jewelry. I have always had an artistic background as I was a professional dancer for many years. Visual art has always been my jam.
I actually started my company making jewelry accessories from druzy, brass and sea glass mediums (which I still create to accompany my hat pieces). I love handcrafted things and I love unique jewelry. I arrived here purely on impulse and a compelling desire to create original accessory pieces that were personal and unique to the buyer. I was also compelled to build a mini legacy for my family. I wanted to do something my son would be proud of. So, I did!
Getting started was easy for me, as I am naturally a hyper motivated person. When I get a vision or wild hair to begin something, nothing gets in my way. I am where I am today and I have accomplished all that I have BECAUSE of that hyper motivation and enthusiasm to get started.
I’m very blessed with the “go-getter” business genes of late business-minded family members. It’s absolutely hereditary. My sweet, great Uncle Rubio worked into his 90’s driving delivery trucks and he owned various businesses throughout his life. My mother and grandparents say that I inherited his work ethic immensely. He just passed recently, and I thank him for setting examples of hard work and hustle.
I think the hardest challenge is overcoming the fear. Fear is the hard part and can be debilitating. Fear destroys dreams. The thoughts about,”My God….what did I get myself into?” and the fear of not being able to afford supplies and inventory if you don’t make enough sales. Then, you realize early on that you’re the photographer, the website designer, the accountant, the artist; social media manager, marketing coordinator……those are things that are the most difficult about being a small business owner. You are playing all of the key roles in your business. Yet, somehow it all works out!
Learning to balance all of these items whilst being a full time mom to two children, a wife, a grad school student, and having a full time job is equally challenging. You have to learn to balance things pretty quick. Having all of these responsibilities is currently teaching me the value of taking breaks and shutting down the shop for a while if needed.
After all…..I can do that! I’m the boss! This is the beauty of owning a small biz!! “I” am in control.
I want my brand to represent the concept of “ideas”. That, you can think of something you want to do and you can do it. I’ll often “sign off”’posts and letters with “Be Creative, and stay carefree.”, because I want to remind people that, if you have a desire to create something then do it. The rest will fall into place. I want people to remember to surround themselves with nature and art and to not take things so seriously and deliberately in this life.
I also believe there is a common misconception that life is over after kids. I want my company to embody a concept of hope for parents! As a mother, I feel like sometimes we are bound to believing we are just that….a mom and nothing more. I often keep a blog on my site filled with “mamahood” entries, and I share my feelings and trials about balancing small business with parenthood.
Mamas have dreams, too! I want mothers and fathers out there to know that you can have children and still follow your dreams. You can open that bakery , or start that boutique ….you just have to START!
I developed the tagline “Carefree, creative designs” to remind myself to stay loose….to breathe…., to enjoy the process, to not put so much pressure on myself, and to stay creative despite the global and personal challenges that we all continuously face. In short, I want to make what I want, HOW I want, whenever I want.
Sometimes, cohesive collections just won’t be my thing. I believe that art is love, art is best felt when worn, and freedom of expression when created in love?
It can save the world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Spring/Woodlands area, and spend most of my time primarily North of the Houston. We would have to hit up Federal American Grill for their incredible wine selection and fine cuisine. Their food is incredible and their atmosphere is so much fun!
Then we would hit The Woodlands Waterway for a visit at Mahoney’s in Waterway Square. They have great live music on Friday nights.
For brunch, we would have to visit Baja Cantina just next door to Mahoney’s for beautifully presented brunch selections and bottomless mimosas.
If we head down to Houston…..
I absolutely love Pistoleros on Westheimer! The food and cocktails are so much fun…..and delicious! When my husband and I are in downtown Houston, we love hitting up the House of Blues for a show and then crossing the street to Dirt Bar for super moody rock n’ roll vibes.
Of course, being huge ASTROS fans, we would have to hit up a game and eat all of the delicious food in the stadium.
As you can see we do a lot of eating and drinking ‘round these parts! It’s just what we do! Food is life !
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To my grandmother, Rosalie Slott, who was a sensational painter, and artist. She taught me how to draw a proper pine tree, and to recognize that the two most important people in the world were Jesus….and Bob Ross.