Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nancy Beliveau, Graphic Designer and Illustrator of www.you-color.com, located in Montreal, QC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is www.you-color.com, and we offer coloring and reading books on different destinations in the world. My customers are travelers, tourists, hotels, or just someone who loves to color and learn. (usually between the age of 12 and 80 years old). Especially girls and women, but I have seen men also interested in my books.
Tell us about yourself
I am a French Canadian from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, who is bilingual and has Dutch roots. I have always been an artist, doing murals, greeting cards, paintings, and birdhouses, but I worked in the corporate world for over 20 years in administration roles and customer service. In 2015, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and was having a terrible quality of life, always in pain...getting depressed. All spheres of my life were not going well. Relationships, work stress, and being bullied at work because I was one year off of work for this pain. My stepson was also going through his mental health problems of psychoses and schizophrenia. I knew that I was the only one that could change the way I was feeling inside. I searched Google for how I could help myself relax. Coloring mandalas came up...Then my memory of my art teacher telling me that I should do art with a lot of details because I was good at it. Anyways...I started to do my own coloring pages to color and would share them with family and friends. Then I started to take courses on how to launch a website and expose my drawings to anyone who would want to color. In 2017, I went to Holland and visited my family; when I came back, I was a changed person. I didn't want to live with the stress of work. I was 47 years old, and they were reorganizing my department at work, and I felt a deep sense that I didn't belong anymore. I worked for an amazing company as for the salary and benefits. People thought I was going through a midlife crisis. But on September 11th, 2017, I made the decision that I would work my ass off to start my own business. In 1 year, I created 7 books on Canadian cities. I went back to school in Entrepreneurship, in marketing, and in e-commerce... all while creating my books. It was quite an achievement. I launched www. you-color.com in October 2018. In January 2019, the Pinnacle Hotel in Vancouver asked for 100 books for their VIP customers. And that gave me the idea to sell to hotels...so before the pandemic, I worked really hard to make these marketing packages for Hotels, and I was about to send everything out when Covid-19 happened. The tourism industry hit hard, worked odd jobs here and there to help pay the bills; then, in 2021, I went back to school with the help of the government to become a Graphic Designer to help me work from home and continue to work on my business. Now, I am launching my Ukraine books in French and in English and will give 50% of the profits to Red Cross for one year. I am represented by Jean Pelletier at the Red Cross.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Persevere and give back. I am a passionate entrepreneur and the proud owner of two successful online businesses, you-color.com and beliveaudesign.com. My expertise lies in selling coloring and reading books that feature some of the most beautiful destinations in the world. At you-color.com, we offer a unique and relaxing activity that has been proven to help people unwind and tap into their creative side. Our latest offering includes a comprehensive 70+ page coloring and reading book that showcases the breathtaking country of Ukraine. As an individual who strongly believes in giving back to the community, I am thrilled to announce that You-Color will donate 50% of the profits from this product to the Red Cross for an entire year.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Lack of time and lack of money. Not able to do everything - like social media, I need to work harder on these.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Must love what you do.
- Must be patient and keep at it.
- Must believe in your product or service.
Where can people find you and your business?
Website (You-color): https://www.you-color.com/
Website (Beliveau): https://www.beliveaudesign.com/
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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