The year was 2017. The weather? A brisk fall day. The mood? Discouraged, flustered.
The fate of the art world? Doomed.
Okay, not really, but let’s be honest—the world of art can be pretty unattainable. Unless you have experience in art or know someone who’s an artist, walking into a craft supply store (especially online) feels incredibly daunting. Which paint palette is best—the oval one, the square one, or the one that looks like an egg carton? Do I need artist-grade or professional-grade paint? And how in the world do you pronounce gouache?
If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Our co-founder, Al Doan, had the same experience when helping buy art supplies to give to his wife as a gift. No wonder why so many people think you’re either born an artist or not—shopping for art supplies is confusing!
After experiencing this momentary failure firsthand at popular art supply stores, Al reached out to his artist friend from college, Sarah Cray. Soon enough, the California native found herself flying out to Missouri to build a business plan. Al, having done this before with his first founded company Missouri Star Quilt Co. (quilters, where ya at?), used his experience and Sarah’s knowledge about all things art to create a company that is known today as Let’s Make Art.
The Crays later moved out to the small town of Hamilton (aka Quilt Town, USA) to pursue the Let’s Make Art dream. The dream narrows down to three main goals:
- Accessible education would be prioritized by offering free video tutorials from artists
- The shopping experience for new and returning art-makers would be free of stress and confusion by offering only tried-and-true products
- Art would not only be seen as teachable, but also as fun, valuable, boundless, and non-competitive
It didn’t take long for the dream to become reality as our little company began to grow. And no, it wasn’t the kind of growth you see in a newly-planted tree over the course of several years. The growth we experienced was fast, it was sudden, and it was life-changing not only for us but for thousands of people around the world. It was at that moment that we knew we aren’t just a small company in the small town of Hamilton anymore—we are a part of something big.
We began the month of May 2018 with our first watercolor subscription box with just 30 subscribers. The next month we had 250 subscribers, and the month after that we had 1,000 subscribers. What started as a team of three doing all the work quickly turned into a team of 20+ people, and we finally got a shipping company to help us out (phew!). Soon we started renovating an old shop on main street to open as our storefront in 2019, and around the same time, we became sister companies with Missouri Star under our parent company Creativity, Inc. This cluster of creative-focused companies shares the same goal of inspiring and empowering people to create. We at Let’s Make Art have made it our mission to teach you the beauty of art-making and equip you with the right tools and assets to show you how you can create artwork you’re proud of.
So, what does your future with us look like?
Well, for starters, we know you might not stick with us forever. The goal is to help you learn and discover your own artistic passions. We know there will probably come a day that you outgrow us, and that’s okay! We’ll still be friends, promise. While your interests may evolve, we plan to continue providing you with new and exciting content that meets you wherever you’re at in your journey, including projects, mediums, and even guest artists! Watercolor, Hand Lettering, Art Journaling, and art for Kids is only the beginning and we can’t wait to continue adding fresh content to stimulate your creative mind. The beautiful thing about art is that the power to create something beautiful already exists inside of you—we’re just here to help you discover that side of yourself. You are your own hero in this story!
No matter how messy it is in the beginning, no matter what challenges arise, the important thing is to just start.
We have been scrappy from the beginning, taking it one day at a time to make things work. And that, my friends, is what creating art is all about. No matter how messy it is in the beginning, no matter what challenges arise, the important thing is to just start. Just create. And before you know it, you’re taking a step back to admire the beautiful thing you just made with your own two hands.
Ready? Let’s make some art!