They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Mary Beth Dugan found this to be true when she turned her passion for the sand, ocean, and art into a profitable business. Now, she sells beach-inspired art on Etsy.
The Origins of Mary’s Business
‘‘Six years ago, I wanted to cut back on bartending to spend more time caring for my mom, who was battling latest age Parkinson’s disease,” Dugan shares with Woman’s World. “I’ve always been crafty and I love the beach, so creating ocean-inspired art frames felt like a rewarding way to earn extra cash. I watched tutorials on how to pour resin and experimented with materials like sea glass, sea shells, and mermaid figurines. At first, I gave my creations to my friends — then I launched Mermaid Tears by MB on Etsy.
I source the sea glass myself, hunting on the beaches of Rhode Island and Florida. It’s like a therapeutic treasure hunt for me! Typically, I spend six days a week creating art, which means everything from hand making the clay figurines to building the frames and pouring the resin. Along with Etsy, my designs are sold in several stores and seasonal fairs. I offer 11 styles of mermaids and about 17 sea creatures, all in different sizes, ranging in price from $8 key chains to more intricate $65 frames. I’m also expanding to include found treasures like portholes, clocks, ship wheels, and repurposed mirrors.
I love designing custom orders and including unique details for my customers. I’m a mermaid at heart, so the best part is that I get to go to the beach as part of my job! I truly enjoy what I’m doing, and last year, I even made $25,000. I hope to use the money I make to buy a house in Florida so I can be closer to family — and more sea glass — during the winter.”
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.