Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabrielle Buxbaum.
Hi Gabrielle, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
When I started my brand Highly Authentic, it was 2020 and the middle of the pandemic. I discovered resin on Instagram and fell in love with the endless possibilities to create with it. I knew that I wanted to start a small business but I had a job serving the foster care community working long, extended hours with little free time. I started practicing graphic design on my phone during breaks and I really loved it. I eventually made a logo, threw in some graphics and created @highlyauthentic_ on Instagram! I bought resin and different materials, watched how-to videos, and started making my own trays that same night. I fell in love with making them and how versatile it was. There’s so much freedom that comes with pouring resin but there’s also a method to it. It took me months to get it and even today I still make mistakes. I knew all the trial and error was worth it when I shared my products on Instagram and Esty and had several people interested in custom pieces. Random shoppers on Esty had ordered earrings, jewelry trays, candle holders, and coasters. My Instagram followers were ordering custom ashtrays and rolling trays. I was shipping out little orders all over the country and it felt like things were really coming together.
Fast forward to April 2021, I signed up for my first art show called “A is for Art”. The event was a huge success and I got the chance to meet so many creative individuals with like-minded mentalities. From that point on, I had event coordinators reaching out to me to secure my spot for their upcoming shows! I was amazed and it felt as if I had tapped into a part of me that I never knew was there. That feeling was what I had been searching for and I went into overdrive for months. I did every market that I could just to get my brand out there. I slowly became a part of the most supportive art community here in Tampa Bay. I’ve made priceless connections and lifelong friendships from it.
In October, my childhood friend opened up a store called Lux & Lumen located in St. Petersburg. She reached out to me and asked if we could collaborate on some products for her shop. She placed a wholesale order for incense holders and vintage jars that she would be able to put her products in. I worked so hard on the order to make sure that they would sell. After a few weeks, they had sold almost every piece. It’s been such a rewarding experience working alongside of my childhood friend and learning the business from her (#girlboss).
These days, you can catch me taking product shots at sunset, working on our new website, posting about upcoming markets, preparing wholesale orders and so much more!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I think it’s been a smooth ride with some challenges along the way. In the beginning, I struggled a bit balancing my professional career with my small business. I’m very passionate about both of them but they’re two different worlds that require a certain amount of my time each day. Most days I would come home from work and start on orders almost immediately. Other days I was leaving work to make it to a night market. I felt like I was playing catch up every day trying to balance the two. On top of that, operating a small business comes with different expenses and I just couldn’t seem to make everything work. I eventually took a break from the market scene and pursued a new day job that I fell in love with. I had a new schedule and freedom to run my business for the first time in over a year. I used to feel so overwhelmed when my jobs collided but now, I’m just grateful to do both of them!
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m a St. Pete-based resin artist and I specialize in custom pieces ranging from trays to incense holders and even vintage jars. I use epoxy resin and silicone molds to create personal and functional pieces for anyone’s home and I have so much fun doing it. I think I’m most known for using pressed florals, boho designs, and incorporating cannabis-inspired graphics into my work. I’m trying to balance modern-day home decor while ending the stigma around cannabis one customer at a time. I’m proud that I took a chance on myself to create this small business so unapologetically. I get new inspiration every day and I’m grateful to have an outlet for that. I think what sets me apart from others is the quality of my work. There’s a great amount of detail that goes into the planning of each piece. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to this stuff but eventually, I find my flow. I pour every piece with intention and want it to be a light in your home.
- Products range from $15-$40 per item
- Wholesale orders $150+
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.etsy.com/shop/highlyauthentic
- Instagram: @highlyauthentic_