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Creative Entrepreneur Speaks About Successes

Chynna Lockett

Artists are good at finding creative ways to earn money. Some have a tough time picking just one. A local artist makes a living through music, photography, video and coffee roasting.

Sioux Falls is home to a black building with two doors. One red and one yellow. It houses a studio called The Breaks Coffee.

The inside is split into several sections. There are photo lamps and reflectors, musical instruments, a coffee roaster and large tubs of aromatic beans. Wes Eisenhauer pours himself a mug and takes a seat.

“This is a place where I run my photography and video business. We play music. I’m in two bands that are active. So we rehearse and get ready for shows here. And then we also own a small coffee roasting company so we roast and package whole bean craft coffee out of here as well.”

35-year-old Eisenhauer has spent most of his life in South Dakota. He lives in Sioux Falls with his wife and two daughters in a house that they built. He describes himself as a creative entrepreneur since he is constantly working on self started projects.

“I’ve always been just kind of a flailing mess and that’s how I’m comfortable. So I’ve always had my hands in five different things and whatever I can do to avoid the monotony and keep myself entertained. I have this drive to create things and luckily I’ve been in a position to where this community is supportive of our endeavors and I’m lucky enough to do it for a living now.”

Eisenhauer says his hip hop trio, Soulcrate, is behind most of the work he does now. They’ve toured the country and released 10 records. He says being a part of the group thought him a lot about creativity and business.

“Being in a band that was going for it, I guess kind of thought us how to do a lot of things ourselves. Being our own management and our own designers and the people who worried about the art work and pressed the records and threw the events—it really thought us a lot about just making things happen yourself.”

He walks to a section of the room crowded with a drum kit, microphones, and a record spinning station.

“This is a part of a verse from a song I recently released called zoomed out. It goes…”

Eisenhauer says it’s this music that got him interested in photography. He started taking images of the band and making videos.

“I was just captivated by how powerful a tool the camera was. It just grabbed me and I took off. It really just kind of snowballed from there. And yeah, I’ve been running my own photography business for the last two years.”

Now his photography helps pay the bills and gives him the freedom to make music.

Eisenhauer sits at a computer and pulls up photos of two boys in bright sneakers and cowboy hats. Their faces are covered in shadows as they stand tall in the street under a cloudy, pink sky. He says this is the type of scene that makes him want to grab his camera.

“To me, that’s like what does it for me for photography. Just the act of making yourself available to these situations that are happening around you all the time and just being willing to go out and document and be part of it I think is a huge appeal to photography and video to me.”

Credit Chynna Lockett

When Eisenhauer was younger he had another passion. That took him to culinary school where he studied French cuisine. Now, he just cooks for his family and says roasting coffee is way to dip his toes back into the business of food.

He pours beans into one pound bags.

“These all come from a place called Café Imports out of Minneapolis.”

He started the coffee business with a partner who roasts beans.  The final product gets distributed to a handful of local stores.

“That’s another thing I think is great about Sioux Falls and South Dakota in general is there’s a lot of room for this stuff. People want this stuff to happen. There was room for more craft coffee to happen here. We can find an old building in a neighborhood we want to be in and afford to do this. It’s unique to our area.”

Eisenhauer says it’s sometimes a challenge depend on creative ideas for money. He realizes they can take a lot of time to make happen.

“I’m very comfortable with putting myself out there. And you’re not always going to be right and you’re not always going to onto something. And everything can’t be a home run. But you have to try a lot of things and eventually those things hopefully rise to the surface.”

Eisenhauer says living in Sioux Falls surrounded by a supportive community is what makes so many of his ventures successful.