“Let your hardships make you stronger. Resilience is everything,” Elizabeth Sutton says of her advice to fellow women entrepreneurs. The 31-year-old artist would know –she began her career quite unconventionally, having been blindsided by a series of hardships including a divorce, near-bankruptcy and a miscarriage—all within the span of a few years. Adding insult to injury? “It was all very public,” she says. But rather than crumble, Sutton tapped into her sense of resilience—and a nascent artistic talent. “I picked up a paintbrush one day and started painting. I put the piece up on Instagram and somebody reached out to me saying that they were interested in purchasing. And that's how my career got started.” Her effervescent, rainbow-colored pieces are happiness in canvas-form and make a strong argument for the power of positive thinking. Bubbly yet bold, they often feature inspiring words in glittery, all-capitalized font. You can’t help but feel empowered looking at her work – now that’s a #AObossbabe.
A Boss Babe is a woman with confidence, who loves herself and realizes that she can't be her bossiest, best self without putting herself first. Being focused, fulfilled and happy—that's step one.
To be honest, self-care is something I'm working on. I think anything you do that makes you strong, confident and unafraid to be uniquely you is a form of self-care. So even though I don't necessarily have time to get a pedicure, I have a fulfilling career and I love my children. And that, to me, is my self-care. The one thing I do regularly, though, is I meditate for ten minutes every day. Headspace has changed my life.
L-O-L. My typical day is organized chaos. I wake up anywhere between 4 and 6am. I get myself dressed and dress the kids, feed them breakfast and hop on my emails quickly before we rush out the door. Typically, after I drop them, while I'm driving back home, I'm on the phone with my assistant going through my to-do-list for the day. When I get home, my day is very busy. I’m constantly multitasking because my paintings take anywhere from 50 to 400 hours each so I’m in a meeting or on the phone, usually with a paintbrush in my hand.
Ideally, my Zen zone, my meditation and my self-care is just painting – doing nothing else but painting. But I’m a businesswoman and so I do business while I paint. I’m usually on calls on my headset or speaking with my team – I manage 18 people – while I paint. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I do miss the days when I had just started and I could just paint, but the phrase starving artist exists for a reason. You have to have hustle as well talent.
For me color is life. Color is energy. And my life was honestly in a very, very dark place. And that's how my career got started. I got married at 21 like a good, Jewish girl and was an Upper East Side princess who hosted-16-people-for-dinner-on-my-terrace-on-Tuesday-night type of thing. And then we lost all our money and I picked up a paintbrush. My aesthetic is very much about resilience, strength and tapping into positivity to move forward. I really think you are a product of what and who you surround yourself with.
I grew up in Brooklyn, then on the Upper East Side, so I have been exposed to the arts my whole life. I can't even count the number of times I've been to the Met, MOMA, the Frick, and the Guggenheim. I love Warhol, Basquiat, Keith Haring…I could go on.
Work hard. Talent does not replace hard work. I also think most artists don't necessarily have enough business savvy, so I would say to find an advisor who you trust and can collaborate with on developing your business model.