Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Rees.
Hi Amy, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
To say it’s been a long journey is an understatement. I found my passion in hand-building pottery during my first marriage in the mid-1990s. But I’m already getting ahead of myself. I am an only child who was born in Queens, NY (NYC). My parents decided to move to a small town outside of Syracuse since it is where my mom was from and where they both graduated from college. This is where I spent most of my childhood. A week after graduating from Ithaca College School of Communications, I got the call that I’d passed my first and final interview at CNN. I packed up my dad’s old Subaru wagon and drive myself from Syracuse, NY to Atlanta, GA to begin my adventure as an adult. My time at CNN was a whirlwind. It is seven years that I will never forget! Working at CNN in the late 80’s early 90’s as a twenty-something was like a dream come true. I’d say it was a cross between grad school and working at a start-up all while being part of a giant coed fraternity. I have been fortunate enough to maintain a few of those early friendships and one of those women is a major influence in my life today. I would go so far as to say she is a “chosen sister”.
After leaving CNN I started on a career in sales. I also got married to someone I thought was my soulmate. Unfortunately, he and I were not on the same page and perhaps he was too young to settle down. His interest in sports (playing, watching, and betting) was stronger than his interest in me and so I found myself alone in the evenings and weekends as a 26-year-old newlywed. A friend of mine knew I was bored and lonely and suggested I join her pottery class at Abernathy Art in Sandy Springs. My pottery teacher, Red Weldon Sandlin, was amazing in so many ways and that’s when I found my passion – hand building with clay. After taking all the beginner classes where I learned how to make coil pots, pinch pots and throw slabs, I had the chance to start exploring and creating many different styles and techniques. Working independently but alongside other women around my age and older, I realized I was surrounded by creative, intelligent, and independent women. This new community brought me a strong sense of comfort and belonging. I found myself at the studio multiple nights of the week. The Abernathy Art Studio was the one place where I didn’t feel so alone; the place and people that helped me build back my confidence and positivity. It also helped me get the courage to leave my unhappy situation and start over. One day in the studio in the mid-90s while going through my first divorce, my first “face plate” was born – Zelda. The first of many to embody a collection of women with different looks, names, and stories. The women around me had been such an inspiration to me and before I knew it, I was selling these 12” x 12” ceramic plates in local stores. It was a fun hobby at the time. In the meantime, I had remarried, had two amazing daughters, and dropped out of the workforce. I actually worked at Abernathy Art Studio for a short time while I was pregnant. Over the next several years, while raising my daughters and volunteering at the school, I still found time for my pottery. I continued tweaking my designs and ended up creating appetizer-sized versions of my “face plates”. Still hand-built, but not quite as three dimensional or fragile. Unfortunately, my second marriage failed as well and so I had to get back to a full-time career in sales to help support and take care of my daughters who were in 3rd and 6th grade at the time.
Fast forward to 2020, my daughters are in high school and college and I am remarried to a wonderful man. One I happen to have known since 3rd grade, but who was living his own parallel life working in Manhattan, Completely oblivious that so many years later we would end up together. As we all know, 2020 did a number on a lot of us who were in sales. What made it especially difficult for me was that I was selling advertising for the movie theaters at the time. The completely shut down movie theaters. So I regrouped, did some soul searching and realized I didn’t WANT another corporate sales job at all. Then one day, my husband Jim reminds me that our neighbor, Jennifer Luong, is in sourcing. She was in corporate sourcing and supply chain for many years and had recently started her own business as a fractional COO. Maybe it was a coincidence or timing, or maybe it was just meant to be, but before I knew it, my sample plates were on their way and Personality Plates™ was created!
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My life in general has not been a smooth road or a straight line. Going through two divorces had me questioning everything about myself over and over again. Trying to make money in a variety of commission sales jobs to take care of my two daughters, all while trying to give them equal time and energy and be a good female role model wasn’t easy. I’d go so far as to say physically and mentally exhausting in the early years. Thankfully I had many friends to support me emotionally and my amazing mom living in town to help me with the girls after school. I wasn’t ready (or willing) to take a risk on myself until my daughters were older and I had some financial security.
Again, these women… my support system… are the motivation behind Personality Plates.
Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
Personality Plates™ are limited edition sets of four appetizer/dessert stoneware plates that are not only decorative but completely functional. These “ladies” were created with a fun, colorful, and unique design that is full of personality. They are mass-produced to ensure they are food safe, dishwasher safe, and microwave safe. Each collectible set will include an insert card that will tell a story or sentiment about that particular collection, which makes them the perfect gift for the special women in someone’s life.
The first set of plates released this year is Sisters – First Edition which was created in honor of my passion for friendships and a tribute to the women who supported me throughout my life. Some future collections include a special edition of Personality Plates for Mah-Jongg Ladies and Christmas 2022. I will also be collaborating with several artists to create a diverse collection of plates which will be available in 2022-23 as well.
In addition, AmyWynne Designs, LLC will make a donation each year to different organizations that help women. Part of my mission is to help support women who don’t have a strong support system like I was fortunate enough to have.
Sisters – First Edition will be available in March: SPECIAL PRE-SALES OFFER of $49.95 if ordered by Feb 25
- SPECIAL pre-sales price of $49.95 if ordered by Feb 25
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.personalityplates.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amywynnedesigns/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmyWynneDesigns
- Youtube: https://youtu.be/W3xDRt8y-dQ