Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fine arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Pamela Johnston, Owner of Totally Toronto Art, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

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

Totally Toronto Art provides residents and visitors to the city a wide array of gift products that celebrate Toronto and the work of artist David Crighton. David's art is a well-recognized brand in Toronto. He has lovingly captured our beautiful landmarks and neighbourhoods since 1973. People love his art, and they love to give products made with his art as gifts. We offer a wide range of landmarks, iconic businesses like Sam The Record Man or Massey Hall, as well as neighbourhoods such as Roncesvalles and The Beaches, to name two.

Tell us about yourself

I met the artist at a party and immediately recognized his artwork. The year was 2012. As an artist, David is a well-known brand throughout the city, and his art appeals to a broad population. I was looking for something to do in E-commerce. I had a hunch that an online e-commerce business that would make his art accessible to a broader audience would be a success. And so it has been! The joy that I bring to people day in and day out, providing them with unique and personalized gifts to surprise their loved ones, keeps me pumped every day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment has been creating a website that is easy for my clients to navigate and find the perfect gift for their occasion.

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

As an online retail business, it's challenging to wear all the hats required to reach your audience with a clear and targeted message that lets them know that we're in the business of gifting your special memories to loved ones in Toronto.

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

To be successful as a solopreneur or small business, take it slowly and have a clear game plan. Your foundation is critical. Don't just throw yourself into sales and marketing. You have to learn who your target market is and how you're going to reach them. Also, you are the only person who needs to understand what you need to do and what is the most important thing to do now in launching your store. Please don't get caught up in all the offers from companies that promise that they can help you with the x, y, and z plan. Please don't pay for help until you have some experience trying to do what you're hiring them to do and what your expectations are for that spend. You've worked hard for your money. Unfortunately, there are NO quick fixes.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I can't stress how important it is that you do the prep work to launch your site before you go for the sales.

Where can people find you and your business?

Websites: &

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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