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James Tucker is the founder of The Aesthetic Union, a letterpress print shop specializing in design and collaborations with a storefront and gallery in the design district of San Francisco, CA. James is also publishing a new book next month called Hold this Close featuring his poetry and art. 

In this episode, we talked about moving to a new place, the importance of apprenticeships, sacrifices made to open a business, how helpful friends can be in that process, being frugal, delegating, the block printing process, and more. Listen above or on iTunes or Spotify.

Show notes

In this episode, we talk about:

  • the idea of responsible invasion or migration
  • why SF was his refuge 
  • Chinese Benevolent organizations
  • having friends as stepping stones and gateways into cities, communities, and jobs
  • The Aesthetic Union’s business model as a manufacturing business
  • what his job looks like today now that he has a team running the manufacturing side of the business
  • the value of word of mouth business development 
  • how he got the shop off the ground in 2013 
  • the charm of Baltimore as an artist 
  • how he got apprenticeships and the role they played in building his career 
  • his experience working at a bookbindery 
  • living on his old wooden fishing boat 
  • how he bootstrapped the business w/$20k he earned and kept the business in the black by being conservative with spending 
  • the max stress period of working his ass off 
  • the difficulty of getting a loan as a small business 
  • the importance of delegation to be a sustainable business
  • print as the catalyst for people to start an art collection
  • being inspired by his routines 
  • the process of block-printing his artwork 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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