We had the good fortune of connecting with Flannery Cronin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Flannery, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I am lucky to have been raised by parents who were entrepreneurs, so starting my own businesses was always a goal. But it took me a lot longer than I expected to find a focus. And once I did, it was such a weird niche product that I was extremely nervous. So I started out slow and safe. I had a full time job but dedicated my nights and weekends to honing my skills. At the time there were only a few really well known artist doing contemporary stained glass, so my only goal was to create a product that was very different from theirs. Since I am a lover of functional art, the lamp seemed like a good place to start! I set a goal to make a dozen or so lamps and sign up for a holiday craft fair in NYC. This was my first time showing up in public to sell my goods, and I sold out! That gave me enough encouragement to dive in head first. A few months later I gave notice at my day job and began transitioning to dedicate myself full time to my business.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It took me awhile to find my confidence as an artist, and I am definitely still learning everyday. It’s really interesting to reflect on, because in the first few years of business I was in survival mode. Working all nighters, pushing myself mentally and physically to the brink. And it’s pretty much impossible to do good creative work when you are coming from a place of depletion. But once I started working smart -hiring help and prioritizing a healthy work balance- the creative part came back stronger than ever! And now I had more skill to bring these ideas to fruition. So I started working on larger scale projects which caught the eye of architects and interior designers which opened a door I hadn’t known existed.
Lessons I’ve learned along the way – the biggest one was to figure out how my company needed to be function in order to survive. This is different for everyone, and there may not be an identical company in existence to reference as a guide. There wasn’t for me. So it took awhile to figure out, but once I did I used that as a touch stone for all decisions to come. It helped me to define my wholesale terms, my production style, who I collaborate with and who I don’t, etc.
Another important lesson is to listen to my intuition. This one takes practice! You have to learn to identify when your gut is telling you something that your mind hasn’t figured out yet.
Learning to say “no” in a way that doesn’t close the door is a big one too! Which brings me to my final one…
ALWAYS BE POLITE! I think this is so important. Not only in customer service but in all professional matters. Whether its the supporting staff of a trade show or your UPS delivery person, or random people writing you on instagram. It’s a small world and everything comes back around. Learning to be polite but also stand your ground is a big one.
And as for what I want the world to know about my brand story, honestly just that we are truly a small business creating a handmade product. I only have five employees, and every single lamp is made with careful detail to attention. It means a lot to us to think each one will go on to light the happy homes of our customers for years to come.
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 wow! A week in New York, where to start!
Well our home base would be Greenpoint (where my studio is located), so my itinerary would be mostly around there with little trips to the city.
Quick and indulgent breakfast from Bakeri. I love the scrambled egg and cheddar biscuit with a smoothie and coffee
Walk over the Pulaski Bridge to the MoMA PS1 gallery
Lunch at home
Then back for an early dinner at Achilles Heel, my favorite!
Breakfast at Cafe Mogador in Williamsburg
Then mosey around the neighborhood shopping before taking the L to the city
Go to China Town, get our aura’s photographed at Magic Jewelry
Walk through Little Italy up to East Village
Then have lunch and drinks at Little Frankies
Probably order in for dinner that night
Today we get up early and head to the Upper East Side!
Jelly Donuts and coffee from Orwashers Bakeri on 78th (you may think you dont like jelly donuts, but you do)
Then have a day at the Metropolitan Museum
Street food for lunch, walk around Central Park
Treat ourselves to a fancy cocktail at the Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle before heading hom
Cook a nice healthy dinner in
Probably cook at home this morning and linger over coffee
Academy Records for some vinyl digging
Then take a tour of my work in Greenpoint!
Big lunch at Anella’s where the largest hanging lamp I’ve ever made hangs
Walk to Diamond Lil for delicious cocktails, and to see the stained glass dividers I made between their booths. The Mother’s Milk Cocktail here is *chef’s kiss*
Then a night cap at The Palace where I did three large windows!
Greasy Pizza for dinner
Definitely time for a classic NY bagel today for breakfast
I’d probably send you off to do more touristy but important sight seeing in the city on your own today while I got some work done haha!
Probably send you to the Museum of Natural Science
Then go to a movie and dinner at Nighthawk Cinema
Skinny Dennis for drink after
Brunch at Glasserie -the mezze treatment with fresh grilled flat bread is amazing.
Midday beers and nachos at Commodore in Williamsburg
Then dinner at Mesa Coyocan
Then Piano Karaoke in the city at Sid Gold’s request room !
If it’s summertime- take an early ferry to Rockaway Beach.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh gosh, so many people deserve a shoutout in my story! But the first obvious one would be my brother, Dakota. I was really hesitant to go full in on this idea for awhile, and he really pushed me in a loving way to be brave. The name Dakota actually translates to “friend of all”, so as you can see I named my company after him!
But also, my partner of 11 years Tim is really the biggest day to day supporter. He chooses to stay in the shadows but has been there every step of the way. He built all my display fixtures, helps work tradeshows, built all the work tables and shelves in every studio space Ive ever had, and so much more. Having a supportive partner is such a gift!
Photo Credit: George Underwood