Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fine arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Janna Willoughby-Lohr, Owner of Nickel City Wax and Wane, located in Buffalo, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Hello! I'm Jenn. I own Nickel City Wax and Wane, a small community arts studio in Buffalo, NY. I invite you to show up to the studio unapologetically as yourself and without judgment to every creative experience I offer. I believe it's so important to create from a thought process of; it's not WHAT we end up with but HOW we got there. I strive to bring out the creative bone in everyone's body they claim not to have and to see/feel the value in what they create! I work with people of all ages and all walks of life. My studio is for everyone.
Tell us about yourself
I am a Creative Arts Facilitator, which is a fun way of saying I went to school for art therapy but am not licensed/registered as an art therapist. I have been in the adaptive art world for 18yrs. During the day, I work with artists who are differently abled and/or have physical differences. At night and on weekends, I run my community arts studio!
I run classes and workshop series that are fun and unique. People tend to get scared off by the more traditional art forms like drawing and painting, so we do as many creative experiences as we can that are out of that norm, that entice even the people who think they don't have a creative bone in their body. I love to bring in local artists to teach their passions! We have classes in things like stained glass work, needle felting, embroidery work, resin and polymer clay jewelry, sublimation, paint parties, and so much more! I am always blown away by what these local artists want to come in and teach.
I started a kid's entrepreneurial art camp where the young creatives in our community can come to learn what it takes to start and run their own creative business. We host a mini makers market at the end of the nine weeks where the artists get to sell what they have been working so hard on for three months! I coach creatives from forming their concept to maintaining and growing their side hustles and small businesses as well. My WHY in life is to empower the people around me to see how incredible they are, to see that they have a voice, that what they have to say is important, and they deserve to be heard. I help people see their strengths and worth and learn to love themselves unapologetically through creative expression!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Watching people open up to who they are and push themselves and then seeing their pride when that light bulb goes off, and they see how incredible they are and always have been!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The imposter syndrome sometimes creeps in. I used to think it was that I wasn't good at things like bookkeeping, website design, or accounting, but you can find people to help with those kinds of things. It was battling those intrusive thoughts that I wasn't good enough at what I was doing or that I didn't deserve a seat at the table when in fact, I was more than capable and more than worthy. But battling those kinds of thoughts that can sometimes paralyze us, create fear and doubt, and even sometimes stop us in our tracks, it's those thoughts that are the hardest thing about being a business owner. But once you realize that you can figure anything out and that you deserve the life and business you want, it gets easier and easier to let those thoughts go and to believe in yourself and what it is you are doing.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Know your WHY! Why are you doing what you are doing? Once you know, you're why the rest can be figured out! Be authentic and true to who you are, even when it is hard! You will never regret staying true to your values. Know your worth- work with a therapist if need be, but this will help you stick to your why and your values; it will help guide your decision-making for the better.
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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