CCAD grad shares 3 tips for making mugs & breaking the internet


Lalese Stamps (Advertising & Graphic Design, 2017)

A career that builds on your artistic and business prowess. That’s the goal, right? 

If you’re looking for tips on how to launch your creative career, we have just the thing for you: advice from none other than Lalese Stamps (Advertising & Graphic Design, 2017), a Columbus College of Art & Design alum who has broken new ground—and the internet–with her buzzy, limited edition coffee mug designs. In 2021, her company Lolly Lolly, a small-scale ceramics design and production company, moved from Columbus to her hometown of Milwaukee (and into a space 5x larger than before). Also that year, Stamps was featured sharing the secrets of her success on the Washington Post’s website. 

Of course, it should be said that her success wasn’t guaranteed from the outset. “It never really crossed my mind that it was even a possibility to be an entrepreneur. It always scared me. The people who I saw as entrepreneurs were rarely Black. They were rarely women,” Stamps, who is both, shares.

Check out highlights from that piece below, and find the full piece right here.

No. 1 Challenge yourself

A 100-day project is a popular means for artists and designers to push themselves to innovate and create new work in a limited time. With her #100DayProject, Stamps made 100 different black mugs, with 100 different handles, in 100 days. The resulting works resonated with tastemakers from the likes of Dwell, The New York Times, and Marie Claire.

No. 2 Master the art of running a business

Talent and persistence is one thing, but entrepreneurs need business acumen to soar. Stamps admits that transitioning from a full-time job at an ad agency to running her own enterprise was “a bit of a shock.” She had to dive into payroll, hiring, copyright, and trademarks, “all of those important things that come with running a business.” 

No. 3 Divide, conquer & push yourself

Social media has played a key role in Lolly Lolly’s success, but these days, Stamps has handed off social duties to an employee, giving herself the space and time to focus on the heart of the business: making new, one-of-a-kind ceramics. And she’s not coasting on the popularity of past works—Stamps is continuing to push herself creatively, learning new techniques such as slip casting and mold making. 

Understand that success comes in many forms

Personal financial success is only one piece of the puzzle for Stamps, who envisions growing her business’ impact beyond trendsetters’ kitchens and offices. She hopes to expand on her work mentoring emerging ceramicists and she plans to create scholarships for other young entrepreneurs and creators of color following in her footsteps.

“Being a Black woman, and being in the position that I’m in, I know it’s not just about me anymore,” she said. “It’s about a broader community of people who can see what I’m doing, be inspired by it, and be motivated by it.”

Shop Lolly Lolly online, or follow it on Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok

Learn more about CCAD’s Advertising & Graphic Design and Fine Arts majors or apply here.