Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in interior design but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristi Dammann, founder of Bristle & Whim, located in Saint Paul, MN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a muralist! I’m passionate about creating large-scale murals that bring a sense of joy and beauty to the world. My goal is always to create work that makes people feel happy and brings them together, creating a sense of community. There are so many different types of businesses and people I dream of working with someday that I would say my customers fall into the category of anyone who wants to add a colorful statement to their home or business.
Tell us about yourself
I got my degree in Interior Design from the University of Minnesota. Over the last nine years, I have worked a lot of different jobs, trying to find the right fit for me. At the beginning of the pandemic, I started creating murals in my own house as a way to bring some color and joy into my home. Eventually, someone asked me to create a mural for their space, and I felt such peace and an overwhelming feeling of “this feels right” during the entire process. I have that same feeling and excitement with each new mural, so much that it doesn’t feel like work. That feeling and the joy I’m able to spread to others through my work keeps me motivated.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I’m participating in a mural festival in Green Bay later this month, and that feels like a pretty big accomplishment. Green Bay is my hometown and where my creative journey began. Growing up, I never thought being an artist was a worthwhile career, and here I am 10+ years later, going back to create a permanent, large-scale piece of art that will hopefully bring people joy for years to come.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It can be a slow and discouraging process, especially today when it seems like anyone and everyone is turning their hobbies into a way to make money. There’s a lot of difficult and sometimes boring work that goes into the back end of owning a business. As a creative person, it is hard for me to get myself to do that work.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- There are going to be days when you want to give up, but if it’s something you’re really passionate and excited about, it’s worth fighting for.
- Focus on your own path and don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be someone who is farther along on their journey, and sometimes it can feel like you’ll never be good enough or never get to where they’re at. We all have our own paths to forge.
- Set boundaries. It can be difficult to separate your work and personal life when you’re working for yourself, but you need breaks in order to be your most creative and productive self.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I love connecting with other small business owners and supporting each other. If you have questions or need a cheerleader, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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