Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts and craft but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristina Vanderwater, owner of Bouncing Off The Walls, located in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I create signs and resin art for nurseries, kid's rooms, homes, and businesses that are deeply meaningful and timeless. My signature Northern Lights series has something for everyone, from name signs for a child's room to a mountain piece for art collection, making Bouncing Off The Walls a great one-stop-shop for gifts!
Tell us about yourself
I am currently in my 16th year in business, and in that time, things have drastically evolved and changed. I originally started out as a mural painter until I started my own family. At that point, I had to adjust, and I began creating art for children's rooms, mainly wooden wall letters. Over the years trends, I refined my products to the main sellers like large fancy script names and hand-painted signs, but then in 2020, I made a big change when I tried resin for the first time. I created my first resin sign without prior experience and immediately fell in love. Fall of 2020, I was asked to create a large sign for the Yamnuska Wolf Dog Sanctuary in Cochrane, Alberta, and it was my first attempt at Northern Lights. To say the sign was a hit was an understatement, and it led to an entire Northern Lights resin collection that is primarily what I do now. I eliminated a lot of products from my website that a lot of others were doing and decided to take the leap more into fine art combined with my past products to create items like no one had ever seen before. It was a scary leap to try something so new, but I'm proud to say that 2021 has been my best year I've ever had and that motivates me to keep going, think outside the box, and listen to my gut!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Starting a business is tough! I honestly feel that my biggest accomplishment right now is that after many years in business, I'm finally creating unique artwork and products that I want to create instead of just making things to pay the bills! When your heart is in it, it shows in your work!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest part of owning a business is making sure you have some downtime. I have a hard time NOT working because it always feels like if you stop, you'll get behind, and there's no one else to pick up the slack. The pressure to always be responsive to customers and social media is huge these days, but it can take a toll, so setting boundaries and taking time off is something I try my best to schedule in but also something I find difficult to do.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't focus on competition or what others are doing. Do what you do best and put your energy into what you can accomplish, and you'll be better off not only success-wise but mentally as well.
- Create boundaries and don't be afraid to say no! With family, friends, and customers. If you don't, you will wear yourself too thin.
- Know your worth and be confident about it even if you don't feel confident. Too often, I see people set prices low or give things away for exposure or just to get a sale, but you're not doing yourself any favors. Set the bar high, and you will attract customers who value you.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Be authentic. Always. It's what the people want!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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