Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fine arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristen Herrington, Owner of Kristen Herrington Art, located in Halifax, NS, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Kristen Herrington Art is a multi-disciplinary creative business based in Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia. The primary product I create is original, fluid abstract paintings that capture life's quirky moments and memories. My paintings are vibrant, energetic, and versatile that can be custom-made or part of a collection that has brought me inspiration. I also make my own fabrics from my artwork and use the material to reupholster vintage furniture. I have recently co-authored my first book (You and Me) with my husband, who I also co-host a podcast with (Mike and Kristen). My customers are worldwide sweet souls who want unique and provocative art that tells a story.
Tell us about yourself
I worked in a high-profile government job for more than a decade. I would spend my evenings and weekends in my studio, savoring the creative outlet. I always felt at ease yet invigorated while making art; it just took a long time to give myself permission to pursue creative work full-time. I started painting at my kitchen table and have since upgraded to a full studio space in my home (our spare room is now covered in paint and filled with canvases, so we don't get much company!). I am motivated to show others, particularly young people, that being a professional artist is a valid career possibility and can make for a beautiful life.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Making art my full-time job has been such an inspiring achievement. When I realized, "hey, I can make this work!" it felt like the greatest gift. It felt like a leap of faith in many ways, but now that I call myself an artist and entrepreneur, my days are abundant in expressiveness, expansion, and creativity. A more specific accomplishment I have experienced is expanding into live painting. I have performed at corporate events, private parties, and community celebrations. I love interacting with the audience and feeling the energy of a room.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being an entrepreneur means not only succeeding at your craft - in my case, being a painter - but you also have to be savvy at marketing, accounting, social media, and so on. These periphery skills can be less fun but a huge component of a business owner's success. I'm always learning from others and fortunate to have a wide network of friends who are business owners themselves. We understand the ups and downs of this life and always support each other through these times.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Get comfortable with the ebbs and flow of income. Some months the money flows wild and free, and other months are more "restful." Artists especially need to make time for new ideas and inspirations to come in. We can't always be focused on production!
- Ask for help! Lean on your network or connect with other business owners who you admire to ask for advice. People understand the process of building a business and might have some tips that can save you time and money.
- Take care of yourself first. Entrepreneurship often means that your work is never done! There is always something you can be working on, which can make it difficult to take breaks and leisure time. This is a marathon, so be sure to look after your health and mental health first and foremost.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I have recently gone completely deaf in my left ear. While this change has been challenging, to say the least, it's these unexpected life circumstances that can bring perspective to a business owner. I have a better understanding and appreciation for people with disabilities now and will use my platform to bring awareness to others. Sometimes when seemingly bad things happen in our business or life, it takes a simple shift in perspective to use it to our advantage and help us grow.
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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