Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Valerie Wilson, Fibre Artist, based in Winnipeg, MB, Canada.

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

I am an artist. My medium is fabric. My specialty is creating fabric portraits based on vintage photographs. I teach classes and give lectures, as well as create my art.
I'm the author of two books. The first one is Quilted Faces – An introduction to fabric portraits, a book designed to help beginners overcome their fear of not getting a realistic image.

My second book, Creating Fabric Portraits, is a complete guide to creating a portrait. My award-winning work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally, from New Zealand to Houston, Texas. My customers are generally women 50 years of age or older who are quilters. They enjoy the challenge of recreating a photo in fabric and quilting it. Often, these realistic portraits are given as gifts to family and friends.

Tell us about yourself

My love of fabric and quilts began the moment I curled up beneath one of my grandmother’s quilts as a child. I've worked with fabrics since childhood, learning embroidery from my grandmother and garment sewing from my mother. In 2002, I started quilting, and in 2014, fiber art became her full-time occupation. Having been the owner of an antique architectural business. I maintain a keen interest in old houses and the people who live in them.

This is evident in my current series of vintage portraits based on those brilliant old photos depicting the way we once were. I combine a love of history and a curiosity about people from the past to capture character in fabric. My love of teaching comes from the joy of sharing what I know with my students and seeing their delight in their completed projects.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Learning all about the technology used in creating videos so I could teach online. It was a steep learning curve but gratifying in the end.

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

One of the hardest things is monitoring my time so that I don't spend all my time on my business but get quality time with family and friends.

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

  1. Get some advice from a reputable source on how to decide what you want your business to look like.
  2. Take courses as needed to learn all the aspects of effectively running a business.
  3. Get a support network of people who understand your type of business.

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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