It's hard not to be inspired by the artists and makers of the Cleveland Flea. Brilliant, talented, creative. They're tough as bleepin' nails on their ways to making their dreams come true. We began The Maker Series to take a look — behind the scenes, beyond the booth — to see what drives our makers to do what they love and love what they do.
Q + A with Jodi Lynn Burton of Jodi Lynn's Emporium of Doodles
There are jobs, and there are dreams... and then there are dream jobs. Dream jobs are side hustles-turned-waking fantasies. They're the kinds of careers you read about in the newspaper as a kid. Few of us can say that we've ever had a dream job, but Flea vendor Jodi Lynn Burton of Jodi Lynn's Emporium of Doodles is one who can. When you have the luxury of creating art for your job, every work day is a good day. For more insight into how one vendor turned a life of late-night doodles into her career, read on.
Cleveland Flea: What was your path to beginning your business?
Jodi Lynn Burton: I've always been interested in drawing. I went to school for photography, but ended up coming home after work and drawing for hours. I started making shrinky dink magnets with my illustrations on them for fun and people started wanting them. I just never stopped drawing and now I only draw for work.
CF: Why do you love what you do?
JLB: I love making drawings that bring smiles to people's faces.
CF: What's the best part of running your own business?
JLB: Best part of running my own business is picking who to work with, and getting to travel and meet lots of new people.
CF: What's your biggest struggle from a business standpoint?
JLB: Trying to keep my schedule straight, I would be lost without my paper planner.
CF: What are your goals for the business this year?
JLB: I have a couple new ideas that I am working on. I love to collaborate with people, so some of them are collaborative, others are new products with illustrations on them.
CF: Did you see yourself growing up to be a creative vendor?
JLB: I've always seen myself as a creative person. Everyone in my family always told me I was going to grow up to be an artist. I am a stubborn person though, and tried to go into the sciences, but art always called me back. I am an artist with a passion for science.
CF: What's the first big moment where you knew you were headed in the right direction with your business?
JLB: The biggest and scariest decision I ever met was quitting my full time job with benefits. I realized at some point that if I was able to spend more time working on my own illustrations and business I'd be able to make it on my own. That was two years ago and I have never looked back.
CF: Who inspires you?
JLB: Everyone! I love to talk to people and learn what type of things people are into. I love pop culture, science, people's stories, nature, history...all kinds of things really. I love to read biographies of scientist and people who have changed history.
CF: Have you learned anything about your business by participating in Cleveland Flea?
JLB: I love the Flea because there are so many wonderful people in Cleveland. It's really fun to talk to people and see what kind of things they have to say about what I do, and get suggestions for new drawings. I have a list of places and new music stars above my desk on post-it notes to draw. haha.
CF: What's your favorite piece of advice as it relates to your business?
JLB: Oh- definitely for anyone that is running their own business. Make sure that you take time out to take care of yourself. You can't take care of your business if you can't take care of yourself first. Eat right, meditate,go for a walk, read a book, take time out to do you.
CF: How would you hope to hear your business described by your dream customers?
JLB: "Best Doodles EVER!" ...LOL or something like that.
CF: What's one thing people would be surprised to learn about your business?
JLB: I draw, print, package, lasercut and produce everything myself.
CF: What's your favorite booth at the flea?
JLB: Liza Michelle Jewelry. I'm slowly but surely starting a collection of beautiful things from her.