For more than a year now I have had the pleasure of watching Katie Lipps grow her hand-painted Bible business called Hosanna Revival. This girl continuously inspires and amazes me with everything that she has done and she has quite the story to tell! From full-time student to full-time business woman, Katie has courageously tackled all obstacles and creates beautiful hand-painted Bibles and journals on a daily basis from her home in Cincinnati, OH - she also sells stickers and other small accessories in her shop as well! I'm so thankful that Katie took the time to answer all of my questions.
What job did you have before you were a full-time artist/maker?
I was a full time student! I was just 2 semesters short of completing my Spanish, Marketing and International Business degrees when I decided to pump the breaks on the schooling, and give Hosanna Revival the attention it demanded!
Did you receive any sort of formal education for your profession? How did receiving/not receiving a formal education shape your artistic journey?
In high school, I had big dreams and plans to go to art school and study fine arts. At the last minute, I changed my mind and decided to study business. At the time, I wasn't quite sure why I would give up my passions to study business, but it felt right! It is so cool to look back and see how my life has unfolded and how important my business knowledge has been for me as I have worked to run Hosanna Revival!
Do you have memories from your childhood that directly correlate with your profession today?
Oh yes. Growing up, I was quite "crafty". Always sewing, always finger painting, always drawing. My sweet mama is a graphic designer, and when I was 8, she taught me how to draw a face with correct proportions. She is so patient, and so talented. From Second grade until sophomore year of high school, I was fascinated with the human form. Stubbornly, I stuck to creating only graphite and charcoal portraits of people. Because I loved all things "artsy" I decided to register for a general painting class as sophomore. Turns out, I love to paint with my whole heart. I was still stubborn and refused to paint anything other than portraits and the human figure. I laugh now seeing that the majority of my work now is mostly florals and landscapes, two things I hated to paint when I was younger.
When did you realize that taking your profession full-time was the right way to go? Was there a specific turning point?
I had felt in my heart from the moment I started Hosanna Revival that God wanted me to be "all in" with this business. It needed all of my work time, all of my attention, and all of my heart. For eight months as Hosanna Revival grew, I worked as a full time student each day, and from 7pm until about 3 am each night, I would paint. This work load wasn't healthy and I finally started to believe what I had known in my heart all along: it was time to jump in head first. This was such a tough battle against the world. Every other influence in my life told me that I needed to finish school (the strongest influence being myself). I had to discern what was right for me, and what path would give me the most "life" and align with the will of my creator. About a year later, I could not be happier pursuing this little dream of mine. I have full intentions of finishing my degrees. In the present season, it was so clear to see that school could wait, and Hosanna Revival could not. So I went for it.
Do you have a favorite piece/project that you’ve completed?
I don't think so. Each Bible I paint is so special to me because it is impossible to not feel the heart of its future owner while I work. I really love the Barcelona Bible theme of mine. It is bold and joyful and makes me smile.
What has been the biggest struggle you’ve experienced as a small-business artist/maker?
The hardest thing to swallow for me has been copying and imitation. By creating an entirely new market of hand-painted Bibles, in the beginning I used to struggle a lot whenever I would see anyone starting a new custom Bible business. Since I had spent months and months dreaming up Hosanna Revival, I would feel so cheated - I felt like my baby was being stolen and mimicked without the blink of an eye. Looking back, it feels like more of an honor that I got to create some-what of an industry. Now there are hundreds of women out there painting Bibles and I can see the shared beauty. With the original mission of getting as many people as possible to love and read the word of God, I can see that my mission is advanced greatly by others jumping on board. The new struggle has become trying not to be hurt when I see my designs being replicated and mimicked. Due to the immense amount of heart behind any artists work, watching it be recreated and sold never feels good.
How do you stay self-motivated (especially if you work from home)?
Some days it is hard to get work done! Especially when my roommates and friends have other plans and dangle fun invitations in front of me. My two methods are:
1. Change the scene. I try and do "computer/administrative" work at a coffee shop or somewhere cool. I know I will be stuck in my room when it comes time to paint, so I try to get out whenever I can.
2. I remember what it feels like to work for hours when I’ve spent time procrastinating. When I remember the stress that I could avoid by working hard, it is easier to crank things out in the present moment.
What do you have planned for your business in the future?
Talking about future plans for Hosanna Revival gets me SO excited! Right now, my main job is getting the Summer 2017 line of Hosanna Revival Bibles into stores! If anyone knows of any cool boutiques that would love to have my Bibles, feel free to share in the comments below! I am already dreaming up what designs I will include in the Winter line for this year, along with a few new exciting product launches!
Do you have any advice for someone who is hoping to pursue the profession you are in?
Running a business that surrounds your handiwork is hard because it can feel so very personal. I would suggest finding a purpose or a mission early on, and trying hard to not waiver. It will help you to remember why you started when the waves start to come. Knowing your mission will help you make decisions around bigger dreams, new products, employees, websites, and anything that might come your way in the future. When you have a mission, it can help you decide how much of your time this business can have, and it will prove to you that it is so worth it.
One last question: now that your “hobby” (as some people would say) has become your job what do you do for fun and relaxation when you’re not working?
That is a great question! I have found a lot of joy in my mornings. So, can "breakfast" be a hobby? I love to be still in the morning, and spend some time reading, drinking coffee, making beautiful parfaits, and chatting with roommates.