Noelle Sharp

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Noelle Sharp, I am an artist/designer and the owner of APORTA Shop. APORTA Shop is a home decor, apothecary, art, textile retail company/store located online and in Missoula, Montana. I have been weaving professional for 8 years and have a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?

Recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses and reaching out to the people who have the strength you don’t have for help/collaborations. Also, no one if unreachable (ok maybe the Pope or Obama). If you want to work with someone find a way to get in touch with them and ask them.

What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.

One of my favorite mistakes was a weaving mistake which ultimately lead to my most sold products. The mistake was made when finishing a sample which lead to the woven worker bandana scarf. This scarf reminds me that even though mistakes can be frustrating and hard they can lead to really positive events or ideas.

Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?

Products, people lives and all industries will be more socially, environmentally and globally conscious. Society has awakened it’s consciousness and now we need to design and live according to what is best for our planet and our environment. This includes how we interact with material possessions. Opportunities in creating spaces and products for people who need help will be on the forefront of peoples work and thoughts.

What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Some recommendations I have heard is to have my products made overseas, to not have a retail store front and to go back to school and get an MFA or I wouldn’t be successful. All proven wrong by what I have achieved.

In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?

Saying no to business ideas other people have about my work, saying no to collaborations that don’t excite me, saying no to spending time with people who don’t give me energy.

What is the one book you recommend most often and why?

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön because it saved my life and I still find life lessons in it.

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

I would absolutely not compare yourself to anyone, unless you absolutely know you want what they have (which you should also question why you want that!). Social media influences the way we think, the way we act and the way we live. Try your hardest to be true to your journey and your dreams. Absolutely take risks and don’t fear fear.

What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?

“If you don’t do it one day, you will be one year older when you do.”

This quote says a lot, not just about living for today but also recognizing that you cannot get every single thing done in one day. Live the best you can for today, do the work on yourself and in your work but also remember to slow down and enjoy yourself.