Makers To Know: Lark + Arrow

I'm thrilled to share the story of Grace Gully, the macrame artist behind Lark + Arrow. You may know Grace as the founder or CYL Collective, a rapidly growing instagram community of artists and makers. 

Being a small business owner myself, I love to hear the origin stories of other makers.  When and how did you decide to start your own business?  What is your creative background?

I may have been bred to be an entrepreneur.  I grew up surrounded by family that all worked for themselves.  The idea of collecting an hourly wage, while building someone else’s dream just didn’t appeal to me.    

Now this isn’t to say that I knew my path all along, only the eventual destination.  Getting to where I am took a lot of trial and error, ie., FAILURE—or at least perceived failure, I guess the more appropriate terms would be self-improvement opportunities.  And I do expect there will continue to be hurdles and personal growth along the way.

Finding my path was completely unexpected and came from a need to belong and lift up others.  CYL was born, it steamrolled and now is a business with BIG goals and BIG ideas.  And happenstance, I found my creative medium.  Lark + Arrow was born.  I count myself very lucky to have realized my path to double entrepreneur!

How did you decide to focus on your medium and style?

Dabble should have been my middle name, since I spent most of my youth and young adult life jumping from craft to craft.  Up until recently, nothing ever felt totally natural, and consequently nothing stuck.  One day I was a non-fiction author, the next a floral designer, and sometimes only hours later, an illustrator.  I was trying to force myself into a role.  

Founding CYL Collective was what really turned my world upside down.  With this newfound sense of community I began to feel connected, and especially so when I read the blurbs of the various macrame artists I featured.  The way they described knotting, made it seem so soothing and meditative.  And since I can’t do savasana pose all day long (although I wish I could sometimes!) I thought I’d give macrame a go.  From the very first knot, I was hooked.  It stuck.

Have you set any exciting goals for yourself or your business?  What can we look forward to seeing from you!

Both my businesses are still very new, but they absolutely have huge goals!  One particular goal I am extremely excited to roll out in 2015 is workshops.  While yes, I do love sending a piece to a client ad having them get enjoyment out of it, more than anything I want other people to experience the therapeutic power of creativity and making.  Sure, macrame may not be what sticks for everyone, but getting to work with a group of people and spend an hour passing along what I know seems so magical.  And there is always that chance that there will be someone in the room like me, that will connect with knotting and find their path!

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their own self-made business?

PERSEVERE!  It’s not going to be a walk in the park.  Running your own business takes up more time than working for someone else  It will end up consuming every part of your life in those early days.  So be ready for the work!  And more importantly prepare yourself mentally, because success doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes time to build your business, and you will probably start to doubt yourself and want to throw in the towel!  Keep on going!  Not just for yourself, but keep going because there is someone out there you are probably inspiring to chase their own passions.

When you’re not creating, what do you love to do?

It’s hard, especially as of late, to separate myself from creating.  Most other areas of my life, I find my thoughts wandering off to rope and macrame.  But there are three things that I love, and can actually create that necessary mental breather.  Reading is one.  On my couch, in the park, at a coffee shop, long car rides, ANYWHERE!  Give me a good book and I am completely happy and occupied.  Walking is another.  There doesn’t have to be a destination in mind.  Just the act of being outside and really observing my surroundings is enough.  And third is yoga.  You can’t properly go through the sequences and poses WITHOUT being totally present and clearing away any other mental chatter.  The clarity and lightness that come at the end of a session are something else too!

Lastly, can you share three of your favorite artists?

There’s a million different ways I can do this!  So for the sake of elimination (and simplicity) I’m going to name artists I have met via Instagram as these have been the ones most instrumental in the direction my life has taken this year.  Danielle of Flora and Form has been supportive of me from the beginning.  Before even I knew what was going to happen, she saw the great potential and was my cheerleader!  Nalani of Knotty Bloom is everything exemplified in the kind of people I hope to showcase on CYL Collective.  She is kind and supportive to all!  Elizabeth of Tallulah  lastly by not least!  This lady is one of the reasons I first tried macrame and she continues to be an inspiration to me.  Forever grateful to all of them!