8 Women Who Followed Their Creative Hearts Right to a Creative Business!

Artists Feature image - Print Ark

It's our first birthday here at Print Ark and what an amazing  year it has been! To celebrate we are showcasing some gorgeous small businesses, and celebrating the the wonderful people behind them. Sharing with you their talent and introducing you to some amazing women and their journey of how they decided to follow their creative hearts to start their creative businesses.

We all made the decision to follow that creative little spark inside of us. One that just wouldn’t go away.

Jane Harris - Pick a Pear Creative

Jane has worked in the wholesale printing media industry for 23 years, selling paper, self adhesives, label products, packaging, and sign and display products. She dropped back to part time in 2007 when she started her family and her friends kept telling her she needed to share her creativity with others.

“I did stop doing art for years as life got so hectic. It was when my second child started school that I went back to art. I didn’t realise how much I missed it until I started again. I’m so happy I did as I love creating and building my little business.”

“The passion and drive I have to creating new pieces of art gives me so much happiness. When you love something so much, it really does show in your work. I get so excited when I see my art works hanging in homes and offices. Art is my outlet to get lost in my own little world and to create something original and new for people to love. Looking back and seeing what I’ve achieved is very surreal. I sometimes say to myself…. oh wow I actually created that.”

Mandy Dollery
How You See It Art

Mandy Dollery - How You See It Art

Mandy spent 30 years in hospitality, working her way up the corporate ladder, but wanted to be doing something more creative. She always liked painting, but never thought she could make a living from it. She took a chance and quit her job to study graphic design.

“After leaving my job I knew I had to earn money while I was at school, so I painted my heart out to create a collection of limited edition prints to sell at the markets. It was difficult at the start, finding the right market to suit my product took a few goes, but then it just started to take off! Now I’ve graduated with an Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design (I even won Student of the Year at the Gordon!), I am still attending markets, exhibiting and doing custom orders. I freelance as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator, work part time at Evolution Design Agency as their Graphic Artist and volunteer at Encompass in Marketing and Communications. So basically my biggest challenge now is getting through my ‘To Do’ list each day and remembering to eat!”

“Now that I am doing what I love my life is very fulfilled and rewarding. I love seeing people’s faces when they respond to my funny characters, or someone’s excitement when they receive a custom order. It is so rewarding to hear peoples’ kind words when I’m at my markets selling my prints, and I feel incredibly privileged when some of my customers come back again and again. I am working more hours per day, but I’m doing it for me and I love every bit of it. And I’m my own boss, so that’s a huge bonus!”

Christina Cerqueira

Watercolour Artist

Christina Cerqueira - Watercolour Artist

Christina is a watercolourist who works in retail.

She says “I am art 🙂 I decided to start a business making art because I love it so much and I wanted to spread art to as many people as possible.”

“It means everything. I love making my art and connecting with people. Bringing people happiness through my art. Also, it means a lot to me to have my children see me doing something I love and I know that they can aspire to do anything they want to.”

Jess is a graphic designer and web developer who started her ‘side hustle’ when she became a mum.

“I was still working part time but wanted to be able to earn money while I slept - a business owner's dream! It wasn't long before that dream was a reality. Waking up to new orders and hearing wonderful feedback from my customers was truly fulfilling. I really enjoyed being creative outside of my "day job" and having my own side hustle.”

“The transition from full time worker to full time mum, part time worker and business owner was definitely a huge shift! The biggest challenge was time management.”

“The supportive community of like-minded women on Instagram was really what helped me start. Big-hearted brand reps, fellow biz-mums and even "competitors" were always ready to support and give guidance.”

Sara McLeary- Fine Artist and Illustrator: Sarah was a pharmacist before having two children. Becoming a mother, she rediscovered her passion for art with her Nanna, an artist herself, being her greatest mentor.

“It’s always scary starting a new business, but I had the full support of my family.”

“It means I can do what I love whilst earning money! And best part is I can do it whilst raising 2 beautiful children”

Rebecca Garfield
State of Eden

Rebecca Garfield - State of Eden

Rebecca studied fashion design after leaving school and spent 15 years in the product development and product management area for large retailers both here in Australia and in the UK. Her business was conceived after she drew her son a picture of an elephant for his first birthday. It felt like the perfect gift and after enjoying the process so much she wondered if this was something she could share with others.

“I didn’t make the decision to start my business straight after drawing my son his elephant but it definitely started me dreaming and doing some research on the side."

"Being financially conservative with a young family I didn’t want to quit my job or use our savings to start a business. Then as fate would have it I was made redundant in January 2017. I felt the opportunity was handed to me on a platter and I couldn’t not try. The worst case was that I went back to work but I would always have the satisfaction that I gave it a go!"

"My family has been incredibly supportive which has made all the challenges of running your own business a little easier (but it is hard!). My husband has now discovered that I can draw and no longer laughs at my being an artist!!”

My Business “means everything to me! It gives me the flexibility to spend time with my family and also chase my dream of being an artist. I love the endless creative possibilities with art and the satisfaction of creating something beautiful and meaningful to others."

Rebecca McQueen
The Good Print Shop

Rebecca McQueen - The Good Print Shop

For Rebecca, her business also brings her this balance and flexibility. She was a school teacher who started her business in September 2017 after being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

I decided on a big career change. I wanted to send little bits of happiness around the world and have achieved just that by making one of a kind personalised gifts. I print custom mugs and water bottles - I love knowing that someone will smile (or cry) when they open my package and read the personal message from the sender."

She donates money raised from selected mugs to various charities, home schools her seven-year-old and works with two rescue greyhounds at her feet. Quite a balancing act that must be!

Ruth Muller
Print Ark

Ruth Muller - Print Ark

I worked as a social worker both here and overseas before becoming a mum and this was what reignited my creativity. My 3 children definitely keep me busy, but it was this time that also gave me the opportunity to explore my creative side. I started drawing and painting again, dabbling and studying graphic design.

The idea for Print Ark was formed during this time, I wanted to build an online community for artists, no matter where they live or what stage they’re at, that would enable them to spend more time doing what they love – creating!

In reading the stories of the ladies above, I think for all of us when we were starting out businesses, there was a goal of creating an income; creating balance between other work, family commitments and doing something that fed that desire to create.

My business means that I can work on something I love. I get to be creative, meet wonderful people and see Prink Ark giving time-poor artists an audience of art lovers while at the same time providing buyers with a one-stop-shop. The best thing is, while I'm doing this, I am also available for my family. I'm in control and I can work around gymnastics, school award presentations and anything else that comes up. The perfect balance.

We all came from different professions, we live all around Australia and we've all found our place, creating and running our businesses. Perhaps you have that creative spark and are wondering if you can do it too? We say go for it! it's hard work but its so very rewarding.

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