Undergrad

Starting my Art Business at Clarkson

Hi! My name is Brynn Hempstead ‘24, and I am from Binghamton, NY. I am in Clarkson’s business program, and I am majoring in Supply Chain Management. If you join the business program, you will have many great opportunities, one of which is in a class called Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation I (SB113). Under the guidance of your professor, you can create a business which can then be continued in Entrepreneurship & Business Innovation II (SB114) the following semester. I created an art business called BRH Designs. It is an art-based company that designs Clarkson University themed prints. 

What Is BRH Designs?

BRH Designs sells prints that illustrate the day-to-day life of what it is like to be a student at Clarkson. This idea came to me because I found that the cream-colored walls of my dorm were boring! I felt compelled to liven them up with something. At home, my walls are filled with all kinds of wall art, posters, and prints. 

As an avid Golden Knight, I wanted to fill my walls with Clarkson themed posters and prints. I searched for such Clarkson wall art but noticed that there currently are no Clarkson themed prints being sold at the bookstore or online. I thought this was a great opportunity for me to start a business to fill this artless void. 

This is where BRH Designs was formed. BRH Designs hand designs prints and then scans them into a digital format so that they can be printed through a third party online print shop. It is a simple concept, and hopefully that will contribute to its future success. I decided to continue with it in SB114 to see where it takes me. 

The Art Aspect of My Business

My business is art based, and it took me years upon years to even gain the smallest sliver of creativity, or so-called artistic ability. It was not until late 2018 or early 2019 that I had gained my style and finally found something that worked for me, something that had finally clicked. 

I had found what I was searching for over six years. However, I have not always been as enthusiastic about art. I would get frustrated and give up, but I had enough courage to then try again. 

When I was in middle school, I started really searching for “my style.” Art became a huge part of my life. I had friendships that were heavily integrated with art, where we would doodle daily and even partake in art competitions with each other. We had a theme each week, but I always lost. Almost all my friends were artistically inclined. I wanted so badly to be as good as them, so I became determined to find my art style. 

I took as many art classes as I could and did everything my teachers told me to do, but I was still never satisfied with my work. I felt like I was not improving. It actually took an artist on YouTube to help me through my struggles. Rapidly, I developed my style due to the creator and her videos. They were not tutorials; they were just her drawing. I found that I had picked up on some of her techniques and learned alongside her. From there, I grew artistically beyond what I ever thought I was capable of doing. 

My absolute favorite part about my art business is when I finish drawing out my design and inking it. Then I get to do the marker work. It is the most amazing thing to see your flat, black and white characters come to life with color and personality. Learning new techniques on how to improve my marker work is tedious, but it is so much fun and completely worth it in the long run. 

How Clarkson Has Helped

I have received a lot of guidance on starting my art business from many Clarkson faculty and staff. They have been unbelievably helpful in making sure I do this properly. They helped me think of other possibilities for my business that I would have never thought of on my own. 

They have also helped me figure out what steps I should take to set up my business for success. I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that I would even be considering starting a business until coming to Clarkson. So far, my business has opened up some amazing opportunities for me that I am super excited for and I look forward to future opportunities to come. 

Time Management

The number of hours I dedicate to my business differs week to week. It all depends on what I am doing. If I am designing, it takes anywhere nine to 12 hours per design. I typically do not like to spend more than a week on a design, so I spend an excessive amount of time on my art business when designing. 

If it is the actual business side of things, I spend roughly five to seven  hours a week on progressing through the steps to success. A lot of this time is spent making presentations for competitions, which provide opportunities for further business advancement. 

In SB113, I spent a large amount of time making everything for my business plan and elevator pitch for the competition. To my surprise, I won $1,000 in start-up funding from investors. 

In SB114 I have been ironing out all the kinks in my business with the help of Clarkson faculty and staff. While this seems like a lot on top of my other school work, I found a system that works for me to help me manage my time. 

Sometimes things do come up and set me back a day or even a week and it can be demotivating. It can feel like I have so much to do, but I tell myself “Brynn, put your phone down, don’t be lazy, and get your work done! Then you get a snack.” While this seems silly, sometimes giving myself a reward afterwards is helpful. Whether it is a snack or a YouTube video or both. Although, most of the time I can get away without doing this, it is just for when I’m feeling really lazy. 

I make a list every week and plan out my entire week with exactly what I am going to do each day, so I stay on track and prevent myself from procrastinating. 

My Goals for the Future

In the future, my goal is to continue making new designs for people to be able to purchase. The design process is the most fun, and the most stressful at the same time. Although no matter how stressful it gets, it is always worth it. I also hope to expand my line of products to include bookmarks, greeting cards, stickers, and other things of that nature. I am looking at potentially expanding in other ways and nothing is off the table. 

BRH Designs for me is all about the art, because it is such a huge part of my life and has given me so much. In the future, my main goal is to share my art with others and spread the joy it gives me.

I’m still currently in the process of getting my website up and running, and I’m not quite ready to sell prints yet, but if you’d like to reach out, please feel free to email me at hempstbr@clarkson.edu!

2 Comments

  1. Dear Brynn,

    Your Grampie Tim is my brother, and he sent me this. You are a very exceptional young woman. I love your artwork, and I wish you every success. All the very best of good fortune to you. You have a wonderful future ahead of you.

  2. Brynn I look forward to seeing your Clarkson themed artwork. I am an alum ‘87 ME, my wife is Potsdam alum ‘88 and our son just graduated from Clarkson last December ‘20 EM

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