This interview was originally published by CanvasRebel on July 2nd, 2023. You can find the original article here and more about the Magazine here: Meet Niikah Hatfield - CanvasRebel Magazine
Hi Niikah , thanks for joining us today. Are you able to earn a full-time living from your creative work? If so, can you walk us through your journey and how you made it happen?
I’m on my third year of supporting myself as a full-time creative and artist. While I still have big goals in terms of where I want to go, I’m incredibly grateful I’ve been able to work for myself. I’ve always had a huge desire to carve my own path through life, and being an entrepreneur has been one of the biggest ways I’ve been able to do that.
The first step was taking a big leap and trusting myself and my work. When I was working other jobs before owning the studio, I was always thinking about my creative projects and ideas, but never had the space to truly pursue them. When I decided to open my own business, I was lucky enough to come into a functioning studio.
The first year was hard but still romantic – I’ve never felt so empowered and alive. While the new-business owner glow has faded a bit with time, the biggest part that has allowed me to keep succeeding is continuing to show up, believe in myself, and keep learning.
As I enter my third year and feel a bit more stable with the foundation of how to run a business, I’m starting to look long-term and think about bigger projects and where I want to go. Running a successful business means so much more to me than just having thriving financials – it also means being happy & inspired, cultivating a work/life balance, and building something that is deeply meaningful to both my own life and the lives of those who are impacted by my work.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I am an artist from Marquette, Michigan, where I own Niik Creative Co., a small ceramic studio focused on artisan crafted pendant lighting, dinnerware, and pottery.
I never thought I’d be a full time ceramicist – the medium chose me while in undergrad and I haven’t been able to look away since. Growing up on a local farm, I’ve spent much of my life in deep connection with the earth and working with my hands, and working in clay was a natural transition.
I’m deeply passionate about creating work that inspires the people and spaces that interact with it. I believe the simple things such as your favorite mug for coffee or a beautiful dish to serve a home-cooked meal create a huge difference in the meaningful quality of life, and that begins with work that has been intentionally made by hand. In a fast paced world, learning how to slow down and tap back into the rhythms of nature and creativity can bring us closer to living our dreams.
Niik Creative Co. is a woman owned studio, and beyond creating beautiful work, it is my mission to empower people to follow their dreams and share their voice to help change the world.
When you purchase a piece from Niik, you’re not just getting a piece of pottery – you’re supporting the vision of a deeply integrated, sustainable, and conscious way of life.
How can we best help foster a strong, supportive environment for artists and creatives?
I think we forget what goes into making and creating things – in such a fast paced, consumerist culture, we forget to slow down and look at what actually goes into the objects and experiences around us. Educating ourselves and each other on what really goes into making something helps us have more appreciation for it – and maybe understand why artwork is worth the price.
If you look at any part of our lives, there are countless mass-produced things that are also being made by some artist. If everyone even took a fraction of what they purchase in a year and seek out an artist or maker who is making the same thing, not only do you walk way with something way more unique and meaningful, but you are also supporting someone else’s mission and vision in the world.
Helping to create a new normal where we are used to having less, more intentional things in our lives means we get to build a more deeply integrated ecosystem of artists and makers. This comes with sharing and appreciating the effort, time, and skill that goes into making creative work.
Any resources you can share with us that might be helpful to other creatives?
I think as a creative or an artist it is easy to think that we are alone on our journey, especially when it comes to business. There are so many free resources available through the state, such as the SBDC or SCORE Mentorships that are there specifically to help small businesses thrive, and tapping into that network has been the most helpful thing for me in the past year. It’s given me the direction to tackle some of the bigger picture items in my world, make new connections, and also become a bigger contributor to the ecosystem of small business owners in my local area.