Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Krystle Marriott, Owner of Change The Art, located in Hamilton, ON, Canada.

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

Change The Art is a local Hamilton-based art business. I provide paint parties and therapeutic art-making services in the area. My goal is to help children between the ages of 8-17 process their emotions through art. I also enjoy supporting women in the act of freeing up their inhibitions and teaching them to dream again by reviving their inner child through art. My customers have been local hospitals where programs are run for youth who have a lived experience with mental illness, women's groups, and mother's looking for ways to help their kids explore art and heal emotionally in a fun way.

Tell us about yourself

As a child who grew up in poverty and with little guidance, I had to mature at a young age. I never really got to be a child. My dreams died before I had a chance to develop them. There are many others who feel the same way, both young and old, even if they don't have the means to express it. I want to help people recover their sense of innocence and zest for life so that they can dream again. Most importantly, I want to help people regain their childlike wonder and awe in the majesty of their Creator.

I first started my business as an artist, painting images to help myself heal emotionally. The act of painting reminded me of gifts I had long forgotten about. After experiencing a major mental health crisis and being diagnosed with Schizophrenia, I was lost with no sense of purpose or direction in my life. I didn't know who I was or what I was here to do. I knew that I wanted to make a difference and help others who were struggling with their mental health as well, especially vulnerable children. In doing so, I believed that God would bring some beauty out of the tragedy I experienced.

Because of my experience, I want to remind people, through art, how big their Creator is and that all things are possible when they open their hearts to Him with that childlike faith and wonder, expecting good to come out of even the messiest parts of their lives. Art seems to be the most fun and enjoyable way for me to do this through both the artworks I create and the paint parties I facilitate.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner who is an artist is having had people report to me that they have experienced breakthroughs and healing in their emotions. That, to me, makes this all the more worthwhile and exciting. Also, I was recently recognized and awarded a Canada Council for Arts grant. These awards are difficult to receive, so I feel very grateful for this recognition of the merit and value of my work. This is a great achievement for me.

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

For me, one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is pushing past the mental health challenges that make running a business even more challenging. Not having the stability of a regular pay cheque and the peace of mind that it brings is hard. Running a business requires a measure of faith that can push you out into vulnerable places, but when you do take those risks, the reward is far greater than the sacrifice.

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

  1. Never give up.
  2. Don't be afraid to try something new.
  3. Don't look back. No regrets.

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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