We had the good fortune of connecting with Erica Goldstein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erica, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
When I started my business, The Blank Canvas Co., back in 2014, it was truly just a means to re-focus on creating. I sort of fell into it. I graduated from Business School in 2013, moved back in with my parents, and felt like I needed to bring back a creative outlet to balance work and the gym, so I picked up my brushes. I started casually posting the finished canvases on Instagram, and people started inquiring about purchasing them. From there, it all spiraled into place.
By late 2015, I moved to Boston and found myself constantly inspired by beautiful murals, colorful coffee shops, and local pop-ups, like SoWa. By 2017-2018, my business took a totally different turn. I started taking it seriously. I started leaning into my niche – empowering women – versus focusing on painting everything for everyone. And when I really honed in on bringing this personal passion into my designs, everything took off in a big way. My pieces naturally rolled off the brush, my confidence began to soar, and I felt like my work was actually making an impact on the collectors who were purchasing my canvases.
It inspired me to take more risks, like signing up for those big markets (SoWa, Boston Women’s Market, New England Open Market, etc.) and speaking on panels at women’s events. Leaning into my motivations has opened up so many doors for me as an artist and has allowed me to feel like I am staying true to myself while also empowering, inspiring, and motivating other strong women. I truly feel like that’s what I’m on this earth to do, and I feel so lucky to have the ability to do this every time I sit down to paint.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Something I’m really proud of is starting, running, and growing my business while working in a full-time, demanding marketing career. Don’t get me wrong – there’s been moments, weeks, and months where I’m over capacity and totally exhausted, but it’s really shown me how far I can push myself. More importantly, my Business Marketing degree & professional experience has helped me understand how to take my art business to the next level. It’s helped me pair operations & analytics with creativity and the “fun stuff.”
It hasn’t always been easy, especially when it comes to my work/life balance, but my passion for sharing my mission to empower women energizes me when I sign off from my full-time job at 5pm, or 8 pm – depending on the night 🙂
The biggest lesson that I’ve learned (most recently, actually) is to not overcommit myself. I have a tendency to want to do it all. What I’ve learned is you can do bits and pieces of everything, but you also need to keep self-care a priority! If you’re no good for yourself, you’re no good for others.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh, I love this question! For anyone who knows me well, they know that my fiancé and I build out excel spreadsheet itineraries any time we go out of state (I know, nerdy). But, it’s a great way to scope out cool spots, get excited about exploring a new city, and track which spots you’d like to go back to on the next trip.
If a friend was visiting me in Boston, I’d make sure they got a little taste of everything, including:
– My favorite coffee & pastries: Brothers & Sisters (Brookline), Tatté (all over), Reign (Dorchester), and JaHo (Downtown)
– The dopest bars with the most interesting cocktails: Drink (Seaport), Yvonnes (Downtown), Little Donkey (Cambridge)
– Delicious veggie-forward or tapa-style dinner spots: Field & Vine (Somerville), Toro (South End), Metropolis (South End)
– The most delicious brunch sots: Citrus & Salt (Back Bay), Lincoln (Southie), and Frenchie (South End)
– Dancing (always): Middlesex (Cambridge), Trillium (Fenway),
– Breweries: Night Shift (Everett), Trillium (Greenway), and Aeronaut (Somerville)
– Outdoor activities: Picnicking at the Charles, walking around Back Bay and Newbury Street, and popping into small biz artisan markets & boutiques in the South End (#shopsmall, always!)
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, my family! My grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, and my sister have ALWAYS believed in me and seen my artistic talents, even before I did. They not only come to my markets and events, but they share honest feedback and business ideas with me. They’re invested in my success and having their support means the world.
My fiancé, Ryan. He encourages me to take risks, even when I’m scared, and wakes up at 6 am on Sunday mornings with me to set up my tent at my outdoor markets. He is my rock, and the most support partner through this crazy entrepreneurial journey!
Professionally, there have been so many people, groups, and organizations that have guided me through this journey. To name a few: Paige from Paige Lindsey Designs, Cara & Africa of the Boston Women’s Market, and all of the incredible vendors I’ve met across my Boston pop-up markets who have been crushing the entrepreneur life for years.
Kelsey Converse Photography & Discovering Earthlings Photography