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Sally Bleck

Sally Bleck was born and raised in Montana and has some midwest roots. She grew up knowing vacations as camping trips, so she has always been attracted to less populated, mostly wild places where she feels at home. She's the happiest when embroidering or looking for crystals in the woods. She's a second generation rockhound who “grew up looking down and being told that I was picking up too many leverites... leave 'er right there.”

 

      • So, I have to just gush for a moment. I remember when we met and you were just getting into the embroidery. I thought it was so super cool, creating something out of nothing with your hands, and that's really what inspired me to try other creative things, like crochet. It's been amazing watching your work progress and I am so happy that you are still going strong.

      • When did you first start embroidery, and what drew you to it?

    • Awh - thanks friend. That is really the best compliment to have ever gotten. To inspire.

    • It's been 8 years of embroidery now. So I started in 2012. I was a lil' wook kid looking for some fun produced from my own art one year at an old Pirate Party, before they were affiliated with Spokane! When they were still wholesome.

    • I made my first hat the following year when my partner tried spending $200 (USD) on a hat that just wasn't worth it. We left with the promise of me making one way more exciting. An that has grown into Sally Ann Creek Co! I was originally Gratefully Sally and just changed over to something that feels much more "me". Kinda a sweet sentiment that the stream that my name derives from is also the name of my company that provides me so many opportunities.

      • Oh wow! I didn't realize that you had changed the name! I like how it was grown with you as a person too.

      • Ah, the old Pirate Parties... where all did you take your work once you got started? I know I've met at least one or two people as customers while working at previous day jobs with one of your rad hats, and they were from out of state! It takes a lot of dedication to grow your brand into a company like you have.

      • What steps have you had to take to get your business this far? What was that journey like?

    • Thanks, E! Just through Etsy and going to large music festivals and walking the campgrounds trying to sell art. I mostly did that in 2014/2015. I've changed gears to be something more long term and sustainable for me now. Still working on being a sole provider for myself with my art. That's the real goal.

    • It's convenient that I make wearable art and that branding process becomes a smidge easier.

    • I struggle with social anxiety and I've always been lucky to chose outgoing partners who help me feel more outgoing on return. So mingling at shows I still always feel I haven't mastered the, "You're wearing my art. I made that!" And the inevitable awkward is always to follow. But this has gotten easier with the work I've been doing on myself.

    • I've had a couple of times where I've had my art featured in local shops and shared through social media with larger followings and that helped more eyes reach me tremendously.

      • If you don't mind, let's stop for a second and talk about the work you've been doing on yourself because I think this is a super important secret ingredient to success that isn't talked about nearly enough.

      • So, what have you been doing for yourself?

      • Ooor, instead you could tell me about rockhounding. Lol. Your pick.

    • In October I saw a therapist for the first time in my life. The largest difference I've noticed in myself is I'm a better communicator now. I'm quicker to stand up to behavior I don't like seeing. I'm getting better at brushing things off that "don't matter". Letting go of resentful tendencies. All the good stuff.

      • What was the catalyst that made you want to work on yourself in that way? It takes a lot of strength and courage.

    • Feeling defeated. I've always been a list/journal person. And I used to track my days as good or bad, and when I left my partner in 2018, I was having just a few good days a month. It got better after I left him, but I needed help managing my grief and navigating relationships.

    • Now I don't keep track of my days, although they're all good now. I come from a family that doesn't do therapy or talk, so it felt like a big, scary step for sure.

      • It's so incredible how many things that are good for you are absolutely terrifying. It takes so much strength to do anything like that. I am so glad to hear that you have all good days now. That's all I want out of life for everybody.

      • How do you take care of yourself on the few and far between bad days?

    • I have a strong support system I never had then. I have people I can call who show up and always make space for me and whatever I'm going through. That's the key. Understand what you need from relationships and also what you need to feel seen in them. Do not remain in those that don't do that for you.

      • Such a hard thing to learn, but damn worth it.

      • As you've been growing as a human, how has it changed your art, your business approach, and your overall goals?

    • Well, overall goals are to make my own money and support myself without the help of the corporation I currently work for! I'm not sure how my goals have changed - but they feel achievable now! Goals are forever looking for deep connections and meaningful relationships. My art has shifted to mostly outdoor landscapes. That's probably because of the transition from a party centered lifestyle into a mountain dwelling lifestyle.

      • I love it though. Your art is so soothing!

      • Okay, NOW, tell us about rockhounding and your mountain-dwelling lifestyle. It's super fascinating to watch your Instagram feed and stories.

    • Thanks, E! I grew up with rockhounding parents and my name is even derived from the mine I grew up digging at. I feel really blessed for my childhood. It was filled with weekends of exploring new spots all over the state for deposits of different minerals. My parents did a good job of making everything exciting, and our dog was my best friend.

      • For the Goddesses like myself who have never gone rockhounding, what all does it entail?

    • It's a lot of hard work with little to show sometimes. But the times you unearth something neat makes up for every skunked trip.

    • Locate a spot to dig and for me I usually look for exposed pegmatite. Lots of hiking off-trail. Sometimes it's slow going and not glamorous. But I enjoy wearing dirt as my makeup.

      • Heeheehee, a true Montana girl!

      • So, how do you balance your time between embroidery, hounding AND clocking in for a corporation?

    • Haha, I don't. I definitely go until I need a break, and take it then. Sometimes insanely so.

      • It's good to have a natural ebb and flow though. I am the exact same way. Thank you for sharing this, I believe it is important for people to remember that you can't do all of the things all of the time.

      • What advice can you pass on to anyone reading who is interested in starting a business but isn't sure where to start?

    • Oh man - I'm not sure I'm the best to ask as I'm not so "official".

    • Mostly, put yourself out there and do not concern yourself with the amount of likes you get. Make sure you have happy customers that you feel connected to.

    • Appreciate every single one of them for investing in you.

    • Find a balance between social media and your art early on.

      • That's incredible advice and I hope it rings true for our audience as well.

      • I want to wrap this up by asking what your take is on staying positive in uncertain times. Normally I would go for longer, but I don't want to water down your insights. You're an incredible conversationalist.

    • Thank you, sincerely E.

    • Holding firm to the notion that, "this too will pass". It never seems like it in the moment. But looking back, that's what I needed most. A hand to hold and soft words spoken to me in harsh times.

      • Sally, thank you so much for your time. I am so glad we had the chance to have this discussion.

      • How can our readers support you and stay connected with you and your journey?

    • I am also leaving this feeling good - giving you my thanks!

    • I'm on Instagram under @_spun and on Facebook under Sally Ann Creek Co.

      • Do you still have your Etsy store?

    • Yes! That's under Gratefully Sally!

SallyAnnCreekCo.Com is now live!!

Go treat yo'self to some vintage threads!

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