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Meet Emily O’Brien

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily O’Brien. 

Hi Emily, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’ve been selling my crafts and art as a side hustle pretty much my entire adult life. I went to school for theater design but realized I wasn’t in love with theater and you have to be in love with it to stick with it. I am in love with creating, making, and crafting. I’ve always dreamed of being able to be an independent artist and make enough money to support myself from my creative pursuits. For many years that just wasn’t financially feasible. In August 2021, I ran a Kickstarter campaign for my first enamel pin collection that made just under $30K. This was beyond my wildest expectations for the campaign and has allowed me to pursue being a full-time small art business owner seriously. It makes me extremely happy when people like my designs enough that they want to buy them and include my art in their lives. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I always wanted to be an artist when I was young but I never thought my drawings were good enough for me to pursue art. I took art classes in high school but I was always comparing myself to my peers and seeing my work as less desirable than other artists who could make amazing oil paintings or photo-realistic drawings. I think if I would have been more confident earlier in life, I could have been more successful earlier in my art career. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I create cute witchy-inspired enamel pins, stickers, charms, and more. I like to play with the juxtaposition of cute and spooky aesthetics in my designs. I have an entire collection of Magical Merit Badge enamel pins that are inspired by Girl Scout Badges but are designed for different types of witches. I also have a Magical Town Square enamel pin collection that includes several different magical buildings that all fit in scale together to make a cute little scene. I love the color palette of ’90s toys, so I use a lot of pastels and neons in my work. 

I try to make my designs appealing for practicing witches (like myself) and people who enjoy the witchy aesthetic. Witches are on the rise! There is a huge contingent of young women getting involved in witchcraft and witchy aesthetics right now. A lot of them are nervous to be “out of the broom closet” and many of my items are discreetly witchy enough that they can visibly use/wear them without people batting an eye. 

I’m very proud that I have been able to curate a specific style and voice for my designs that make them recognizable as my own work. This is something I struggled with as a younger artist so it really feels great to be able to see everything as a cohesive collection. 

I also have been knitting since I was 12 years old and now put my design skill to work designing and self-publishing knitting patterns. 

What was your favorite childhood memory?
I was really privileged to have a very happy childhood. My family is a big Disney family so that really sticks out to me. My sister and I wearing out our old Disney VHS tapes, going to the parks, having Disney-themed sheets, socks, snacks, everything. I continue to be a Disney Adult, and I think the 90’s Disney Animated Features have really influenced my color palette and aesthetics. 

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