"This was a hard lesson"
The Hatchery is back and so is our blog series of student reflections on their experiences!
Michelle Seagull '23
Major | Computer Science and Business
The Hatchery has been a unique opportunity that has very much made me step beyond my own boundaries as an aspiring entrepreneur. Let me begin by talking about some of my experience before Hatchery. I draw as a hobby, and spend much of my time engaging with the online artistic community, mostly around “Industry Artists”. Industry artists are the people behind animation, product design, logos, video games, and the list goes on forever. While it is common for these artists to be employed by another company they create art for, a large handful design their own products, work with manufacturers to create them, then market this “artist merch” to their audience on social media. These products are not particularly innovative. But, they are unique, being made in limited quantities and in that artist’s own unique style.
I, a hobbyist, wanted to dabble in the business of the “Indie Industry Artist,” and ended up creating my own acrylic charm to sell. I had considered it my best work to date, and this one little charm became the only thing I talked about for over a month. I worked as hard as I could to get it into every channel that I possibly could, showed everyone who I even had a passing thought could be interested, I even made my own website, just to sell it. That website only sold one unit. Frantic to avoid a loss, I went directly to my friends, asking them if they would be interested in my charm. Thankfully, enough bought one for me to clear out my stock and break even.
But this was a hard lesson. I could not just barrel in with something I thought was good in order to succeed. I needed to know it was good, and that would take some guidance. Soon after, I applied for the Hatchery, fully intending to expand on my pursuit of “Indie Industry Art.” Much to my excitement, I got in. But within the first week, my view of my indie artist dream would completely turn around.
The very first thing we were told to do was to identify our target audience and problem. I thought to myself, “This should be easy!" - then came up with absolutely nothing, for half the week. In that time I came to a realization. That field I so badly wanted to break into has a problem, marketing and promoting yourself is incredibly hard, and the current available methods were incredibly ineffective. And, from my own experience this was a problem I had come to understand incredibly well. The Hatchery had helped me realize that I didn't just need to become the type of entrepreneur I saw so often online. Instead, I could create something to help artists there become more successful, and bring more value to something I felt passionate for. It was a prospect that excited me much more than my original idea, and one I am looking forward to continuing to pursue.