Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Catalina Reasoner, Owner of CELIStial Art, located in Columbus, OH, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

At CELIStial Art, we dream of the most unique and charming handmade ornaments and figurines to celebrate people's most cherished memories. With these unique, found-object ornaments and figurines we make today, we hope to spread the joy we experienced in our childhood, the magical moments we created with our children, the importance of cherishing family, and the significance of celebrating every magical moment of our lives.

At CELIStial Art, we believe in preserving memories. We hope that our unique Memories should live in every corner of our homes and be passed along to future generations. We imagine mantles all decked out, remembering a special life moment. And Christmas trees becoming live scrapbooks of families' special occasions. And simple curio cabinets filled with nostalgia. So, we hope our ornaments and figurines will help our customers celebrate their own magical memories.

At CELIStial Art, we believe in the joy of creating memories together with friends and family. We believe in baking together, decorating the Christmas Tree together, and crafting together. So, we offer a unique collection of craft kits that will provide our customers with hours of wholesome entertainment as they create unique ornaments and collectibles for their home and holiday decorations.

At CELIStial Art, we believe in the potential that common materials have when you dare to push your creativity and imagination. And we believe in giving used materials a second life. So, our ornaments and collectible figurines are handmade mostly from repurposed and recycled materials. Materials were collected from second-hand stores and garage sales. Or gifted by friends, friends of friends, and our own customers, who love to see how we transform found objects and whatnots into our unique figurines and ornaments.

At CELIStial Art, we believe in magical worlds, enchanted forests, and fantasy realms. And we believe in fueling the imagination of children of all ages. And we believe in making the impossible possible and the common extraordinary. So, we explore the most cherished classical children's books and fairy tales to create our unique figurines. And we imagine our own fantasy world inhabited by our own fantastic creatures that we embody in our unique figurines and ornaments.

Thus, our customers are collectors and lovers of books, art, and music. Our customers believe in their inner child, and they allow their imaginations to soar, create, and reimagine worlds. Our customers cherish family time, traditions, and memories. Our customers care about protecting our planet, and they believe in social justice.

Tell us about yourself

I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, in a family of five children, where art, literature, and music were our daily bread and butter. Growing up with a medley of German, Venezuelan, and Colombian holiday traditions and in a home where creativity was encouraged daily, my imagination saw no limits. I found inspiration in every corner of our house. Its windowed walls invited in nature and light. And the light, ricocheting off the walls, created a magical, ethereal realm in which I could dream of princesses, dragons, and knights.

My fascination for Christmas ornaments started at an early age. Making handmade ornaments with my mother and siblings marked the beginning of the holiday season, long before the arrival of the first Advent Sunday. Figuring out what materials to use for the ornaments was fascinating but coming up with the ideas was even more exciting. Each of us would make ornaments to commemorate an important happening in our young lives. And, of course, just like I did with my siblings as a little girl, my children and I would also spend time making handmade Christmas ornaments in preparation for the season.

So, in 2012, when my youngest child, Michael, graduated from high school, I decided to put my passion for Christmas ornaments and collectible figurines into action. And so, the following year, I was one of the artists at the 2013 Columbus Winterfair. I started with two very traditional collections, The Nativity and Santa Claus. In the following years, I participated in more shows and continued expanding the ornaments collections. Doing shows while at the same time working full-time at my "day" job was not an easy thing to juggle. So, I had to find another way to put my product in front of my customers. So, in early 2019, I contracted a local company to build my website. And so, was born. Since then, I have had time to crystalize CELIStial Art's vision and brand better. So, early this year, 2022, I partnered with Emily Journey & Associates, a local website consulting company specializing in WordPress and SEO, to redesign the website. Also, I partner with Making Design Matter, a local marketing company. The new CELIStial Art website launched in early September, just in time for the upcoming holiday season. And I am happy to say that CELIStial Art has now become my "day" job.

There are many things that motivate me each day to do what I do. But in general, they are the little things that keep me going. Sometimes, it is a package in the mail containing dozens of antique wooden spools that a customer sent me just because they know I used those to create my figurines. Other days are a walk through the park after a heavy rain, when mushrooms sprout here and there in the woods, revealing a hidden world of fairies and gnomes. At times, what gets me going are childhood memories triggered by the aromas and flavors concocted in the kitchen. Or a book from my childhood that I found at a garage sale. Or the smiles of my customers when they step into the whimsical world of CELIStial Art as they enter my booth at an art show. All these little things spark an ocean of ideas that get added to my To Do list. And so, my list of new projects grows every single day. Ideas for new ornaments and figurines. Ideas for new collections. Ideas for new tips to share with my fans. Given my achiever nature, I thrive on having a To Do list. Whether they are concrete tasks or vague ideas to explore, keeping my To Do list full fuels me every single day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been transforming my business model from being centered solely on local art shows into one centered mostly on online retail with just a few very exclusive art shows. In the beginning, I had an Etsy store, but I really wanted to have my own online store. And for that, I had to build a website. Building a website is not an easy task. I have been playing the role of copywriter, photographer, and website product manager, on top of being the designer and creator of the ornaments and figurines. Luckily, I have wonderful partners. There is Eve, from Emily Journey, as my Developer and Website Manager. And there is John, from Making Design Matter, as my Editor and Marketing Strategist. I had worked with John before, so partnering with him was an easy decision. But finding a good technical firm that also understood my product was not that easy. I was incredibly lucky to have found them and established a great working partnership. And I have my Shipping Manager, Steve, my adorable husband. A website is an ever-evolving product that requires a clear vision and roadmap. Fortunately, I have worked all my life in Information Technology as a business systems analyst. Thus, creating a website roadmap that is true to CELIStial Art's vision, as well as one that addresses my customers' needs, is something I am awfully familiar with. Nevertheless, maintaining the roadmap is one of those never-ending tasks that end up on my To Do list, which keeps me constantly busy and forever motivated.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner has been balancing my full-time job as well as my business, family, and friends. Since I started CELIStial Art ten years ago, evenings, weekends, and holidays have been filled with creating "little people," as my husband likes to call my figurine ornaments. Thus, a sense of guilt has constantly been lingering in the background as I felt neglecting family and friends. Luckily, I have an incredibly supportive husband who rallies behind me. At times, I felt spread so thin that it was hard to reach that peaceful state where creativity could flourish. Thus, ideas would get stuck or lost among the clutter of the other dimensions of my life, especially my "day" job. I recently retired from my "day" job, so that sense of guilt has eased a bit. Although CELIStial Art is in a growth stage, thus its demand for my time has increased as well. So, the hardest thing for me is to find that sweet spot where there is a good balance between family and work. Especially since creating my imaginative characters, figurines, and ornaments, has never felt like work to me.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

The first tip, I would say, is to believe in yourself and dream high. Continue expanding the idea to take it to new heights. The sky is the limit if you truly believe in what you are doing, especially when it comes from the heart, from within you.

Second, I would say to stick true to your vision. It is easy to get distracted by other possibilities, channels, or outlets that might bring easy revenue, but if those are not in line with your business's core values, principles, and vision, your initial idea will lose strength and eventually will stop being that one that ignited your desire to have a business. With that said, always make time to rethink approaches and direction. There will always be multiple opportunities ahead of you. Always choose the right ones for your vision and purpose. Being true to your vision also includes finding partners that fully understand and buy into your vision as well. It is the only way to build a cohesive team.

And finally, the third tip I would say is to deeply get to know your customers, what they need, and what they want. Understand who they are and cater to them. Do not try to reach potential customers that do not understand or believe in your product or services. It is a waste of time and money.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

My mom was a fascinating woman, clearly ahead of her time. My mom used to say that life started when you were in your sixties. I never quite understood what she meant until later. She was an architect with a master's in city planning. In her sixties, mom went back to college and obtained a master's in literature. And, in her eighties, she published two books of poetry. Her third book remains unpublished, as COVID and renal failure robbed her life at 93. Following my mom's example, I recently closed the first chapter of my life as an IT professional, and I am starting to write my next chapter with CELIStial Art. A chapter as an entrepreneur, technical product owner, creator of magic, and archivist of memories. A chapter dedicated to the growth of CELIStial Art. And I am sure there is a writing chapter someplace in my future. And who knows, perhaps multiple more are waiting for me. Life is still young and filled with excitement to uncover! But for now, I am focusing on making my vision for CELIStial Art a reality.

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.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.