To pivot or to persevere? Or more bluntly – to give up or to not to give up? This is a haunting question, a question that has ramifications far after an answer has been chosen and it’s also a question that almost everyone in our community has had to face at one time or another. How do you know when to give up and when to keep trying?

Tammy Nguyen | Co-Founder, IvyMay

When things got hard and we had no where to turn, we still strongly felt like this was all we could’ve done, all the impact we could’ve made and there was always the potential still left to be had sitting right in front of us on the table. You can definitely wish for some luck, but just trust that if you keep pushing, it will work out as long as you don’t doubt yourself enough to turn around on what you’ve built so far. My business partner & I ran IvyMay out of our second floor Pacific Beach apartment without much thought into the next step of a business centered around living plants that need light, airflow and weekly watering. We didn’t have the resources to buy land to build a greenhouse but we also didn’t want to be inefficient having to hand-water every plant in a concrete warehouse as our business grew. One day, we received a notice from our landlord that we had less than 60 days to move out because our unit was being sold. I really had to fight the urge to quit then, not knowing where we were going to live and what our personal & business expenses would look like with so little time to somehow find a place for both. Read more>>

Nicole Belle | Artist & Teacher

If you’ve decided to live your life as a creative person, as a person who makes things, who gets excited about making things, who marks their happiness by how well that making is going then that is going to be your life or at least be in your life. I don’t think we ever give up. My path and how I feel about my own process and perseverance is unique to not only my situation but also my personality. I am a very forgiving tortoise. I slowly plug away at things and I don’t judge myself too harshly about my failings and off-track wanderings. I give myself lots of leeway because it is the process of creating itself that I enjoy. Read more>>

Esther Gamez | Artist (Painting, Drawing, Mixed Media)

I think this year and the pandemic really taught me a lot about my motivation behind what I do. I mean, of course there’s the work I do for pay: commissions, illustrations and other design minded stuff but then there’s my personal work. It is not a sure sell, it implies putting in money and time that is not easy to monetize or to take account of in terms of practical stuff. When the pandemic started, I was just about to begin a big solo show project but one by one every plan I had made became more difficult to do in isolation. Not to mention, the goal of a gallery show seemed to be moving further and further away (or more likely, cancelled). By this time, the creative process was almost done and it was time to create the physical pieces… I still did them. I found out that the show, the possibility of sales and everything that comes with a gallery show were not the main thing driving me to create art. They are always nice possibilities and very good for the ego and the portfolio but the impulse for making art I think, in my case, is way deeper and more primal than I thought. It was nice to find that out and it gives me a new breath to keep going. Read more>>

Renata Ottoni | Photographer

There are moments in our professional lives when we stop to evaluate our work and the expectations we generate in it. And in those moments I already thought about giving up, several times! Sometimes a bad weather or a session that was not as I expected. There are times when insecurity speaks louder and you may think your job is not so good. But I always like to remember that each session has its particularity, and so, what could be simple, can create a much greater value than I expected. That is why I try to make each session a unique moment for both the client and me. This way I know that my work was important for that family that will always look at those pictures and cherish that moment. Read more>>