We recently connected with Lisa Duffy and have shared our conversation below.
Lisa, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Let’s kick things off with a hypothetical question – if it were up to you, what would you change about the school or education system to better prepare students for a more fulfilling life and career?
There are so many improvements needed to our educational system in this country. There is so much emphasis on going to college, (and not just any college, a ‘good’ college), getting a degree and beginning your career in your field of study. I don’t think we encourage young people enough to find something they love to do and to not worry so much about what degree they pursue or even going to college. My youngest son recently graduated from high school. During the ceremony, the faculty touted all the great universities that the graduates were going to attend. There was no mention of community college, trade schools or the school of life. Don’t get me wrong, I think getting a college education is priceless and should be attainable by everyone, but I don’t think what you study should necessarily dictate your future work life. Life is hard and so many people are unhappy and stressed at work. It affects our mental and physical health. Our education system needs to put less emphasis on grades and college readiness and more emphasis on finding what you love and how to make a living of it.
Lisa, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
Prior to creating my business, Rising Tide Resin Designs, I would not have called myself an artist. I’ve always enjoyed painting and drawing and creating but didn’t do much of that throughout my life. But a few years ago, I saw a river table on the internet and I wanted one so badly! River tables are made by cutting a slab of wood with a live edge, down the middle, flipping the two pieces to create a ‘river’ down the middle and pouring pigmented resin into that river. They are very expensive and I couldn’t afford one. A local artist encouraged me to watch some videos and try to make one myself. So I watched all the videos I could find and started practicing on slabs of wood. I then shaped a few charcuterie boards from hobby wood and learned to create resin ocean art on them. I sold a few to friends and then sold a LOT to others who saw them. I was hooked! Almost three years later and I’m still hooked! I love trying new ideas and techniques. I’ve spent countless hours learning and practicing and that might be what I’m most proud of. Can anyone learn resin art? Of course! But it take lots of practice and trial and error to get it right and when you do get it right, it’s magical!
Can you share one of your favorite marketing or sales stories?
My favorite marketing story would have to be when I participated in the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival last year. This festival is a wonderful fundraiser for local schools and showcases some amazing, talented, established artists. My sister suggested I apply. I had attended this festival over the years as a shopper and I honestly didn’t think I was worthy of participating as an artist. It was also a bit pricey for me so I was hesitant. But she talked me into it. I didn’t think I’d make it through the juried selection process but I was accepted! I was so excited and nervous at the same time. I bought a pop up tent and tables (nope, I didn’t even own a tent as I had only done a couple little markets), and got to work creating some new fun items. The morning of the festival, my husband helped me pack up my stuff and I set up shop next to some very established artisans with their professional setups. I was definitely intimidated but everyone was so nice and encouraging. The festival was a success and I met lots of people, both shoppers and artists. It was a profitable event for me that weekend and beyond as I made some great contacts and new collectors. Perhaps the best part of the weekend was seeing my friends and family who came to support me. It was well worth effort and the worry and I look forward to the event this year!
Have you ever had to pivot?
I’ve had to pivot a few times in my life and fortunately found success each time. The first was when I was working as a microbiologist at a medical device manufacturing company right out of college. I met my now husband the first year I worked there and we were married the next year. He and I both wanted a family and felt strongly that one of us should stay home to raise them. So we scrimped and saved and got to the point that we felt we could manage on just his salary and got busy! After the first trimester I informed my boss that I was planning to give notice after our son was born. He would have none of that and arranged for me to be the first job share employee in the company. I went from thinking I’d be home caring for our baby all day, to working evening hours after my husband came home from work. This was a great pivot, but definitely a challenging one. Ten years and three kids later, we decided it was time to stay home full time. Another pivot. To make ends meet I needed to find something I could do part time from home and still be there for my kids. So, I started up Lisa Duffy, Inc., the corporation for my private swim lesson business. I taught swim lessons in my parents backyard pool while my kids played with Grandma and Grandpa in the house. It was a successful venture for fourteen years and then Covid presented the need for yet another pivot! I couldn’t teach swim lessons so I focused my attention on my resin art hobby and applied for a DBA with Rising Tide Resin Designs. Now I have the best of all worlds! Our boys are grown and don’t need me anymore…boo hoo….I can teach swim lessons again AND make resin art! I am extremely fortunate!