Ladyboss Feature: Chelsea Thorson

Chelsea Thorson is a maker and owner of Make Room in Fargo – an art gallery, studio and store downtown. Through her business, she encourages other people to discover that they are also makers – either for the first time or re-discovering that creativity. She helps her students greet their inner artist.

“When someone is really shy or lacking confidence artistically, and then all of a sudden they tap into their creative self, they begin to love it! It’s the best moment of my job! It’s like an ‘I told you so moment’”, she says.

Tell us about your journey to where you are now.
It kind of starts with being in school. I was an architecture student. I realized I was in the wrong field, I didn’t like the idea of being behind a computer the whole time. After, I started becoming a studio artist. When I graduated I didn’t have any desire going to an office. That kind of brought me here to where I have my own space.

Has it been stressful?
Being a business owner is always stressful. My rent here is 10x more than my previous spot. Though, I felt the same way in the little space. Now, it’s way more money going out and coming in.

This all comes very natural to me – It’s what I know and trust. When I wake up in the morning I know I have this every day. It sounds much more stressful to work in someone else’s idea of a job. Actually, this is kind of awesome.

What was the best career advice you’ve ever received?
When of my lady boss mentors who owns Atomic Coffee gave me the best advice. I was asking her how do you know when you are ready to take the leap and purchase a new space. Her advice was: you know you are ready to move when if you lost everything you would still be ok.

Who is your hero and why?
My hero is my grandma! She is my hero because she is also an artist and she has been an independent woman her whole life – always marched to the beat of her own drum. She is blind now and still wants to make art. It’s intimidating talking to her because she has done everything. I’ll tell her about a new craft I’m trying out at Make Room and she’ll say, “Oh yeah, here’s a book on that.”

Where do you go for inspiration?
I’m inspired by my sister who is an artist, and my mom and grandma who are art teachers. I’ve loved Star Wallowing Bull since the first time I saw his work at The Plains. I got to meet him and I was like, ‘Dude you’re my favorite artist!’ He is so focused on his art for no other reason besides that he loves it.”

Do you have any go-to stress management strategies?
My big one is that I never work on Sundays and Mondays. I never work on Make Room those days. There is never an excuse to be working 8 days a week. Sunday is house day. Monday is Chelsea day. I try to make that clear with my business.

How are you taking better care of yourself in 2018?
I am trying to be my 2018 word: “Host”. My goal is to have the house looking great all the time. I want to be ready to have drop in company whenever. Last year, I felt so busy that my home began to suffer. When someone would come over, it would stress me out. I would never want to have friends over. How sad is that?

What book should every Ladyboss read?
I just got done with Business Boutique. It’s 17 chapters of EVERYTHING that you need to know about budgeting and after every chapter there is a worksheet.

Something unexpected?
I’m a musician. I play saxophone. I also just got a wooden flute recently. Here it is! I’ve been carrying it around for a week. *plays flute*

“We need to have an abundance mindset: there is enough success for all of us! With us supporting each other there will always be enough! I think it’s awesome that I have been able to get to know a lot more women through Make Room