Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lourdes Mancini, Co-Founder of Opalco.art, located in Somerville, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Opalco.art is a collaborative effort between my partner, Evan Tingle, and me. We collaborate on the different video game and anime-inspired stickers and prints and sell them on our website. Our customers are typically fans of the video games or anime that we create art of, and we love sharing our nostalgic art with them! It's also heartwarming to read product reviews from parents who purchased our art for their children!
Tell us about yourself
My name is Lourdes Mancini (pronounced Lordz), and I technically have been dabbling in digital art for over ten years. I was not sure what path to follow regarding a career, as I did not feel I fit in with what other family members decided to pursue. My mom is an accountant, and my brother is an uber-smart engineer. I grew up undecided and unsure of what to do with my life, and working retail jobs quite literally, well, sucked. During those unsure years, I was posting my artwork online and began to receive comments asking, "Do you have prints for sale?" I mentally shrugged, responded, "Sure!" and so far, have been slowly but steadily growing my selection of artwork for sale. It began to be clear to me that this is what made me happy, selling something I made and worked very hard on and receiving comments about how happy the customer was with my art. I had never felt empowered that way with anything technically regarded as "work," so I am extremely motivated to continue my education artistically and grow my business at the same time.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My personal biggest accomplishment was when one of my followers asked to interview me for a school project regarding running an art business. I want to be a resource in the future and help others with art-related tips that helped me get better. Having someone personally reach out for my opinion tells me I'm going in the right direction!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Some can argue that owning a business means you get no breaks, nada. While I can agree it's slightly true, I think choosing a business path within my passion makes it easier to continue to work. My personal struggles mostly come from fear of failure, but I'm pretty sure owning a business comes with that struggle for anyone.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
All I can really give advice on is art-business related, so here are my tips pertaining to that:
- Take social media marketing courses! Educate yourself on modern marketing, and use this knowledge to your advantage. Social media is free and a very easy way to get your brand out there.
- Set goals 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years away. When you have specific goals in mind, it becomes less overwhelming to you. This method helped me deal with my fears of failure! As long as your goals are reasonable and realistic, it will keep you on track.
- And finally, become a master at whatever product or service you will be selling. Down the road, you'll be able to curate and potentially sell information about what you've learned about your craft/product/experience. Don't be just "okay" at something, be the best you can be with a genuine effort to get there. As long as you put 100% of yourself into something, there's no true "failure" to worry about. (Don't forget a healthy amount of blind-optimism, a crucial ingredient in almost all small business owners.)
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.