Acing An Artsy Business
By WONG SWEE MAY
Arts is never a better choice for most of the people. In the opinions of most of the parents, it is better to work in other field than art field. But, you know what, there are a lot of people put there doing art entrepreneurship and has better reputation than you. Let Ella, Chuinny, Ryu, Suha and Inkotori tell you their routes towards art business.
Starting by Ella Mohamed, an art entrepreneur who sells the handmade A5 sketch books that I often buy.She said, “I have involved in art and calligraphy entrepreneurship for 1 year. This is actually a part time business. I started this business because of the requests from followers who love my works. I honestly think that they became a strong invisible force which pushed me to start this business. Besides, my customers are only locals, but I do hope to make it international once it is ready. Since I am still studying, the income I got from this business is used as allowance and also to support my studies. So, the money I earned is not really enough to support me. It is actually hard to maintain this business as there are a lot others with better talents and reputations. Nevertheless, I did try my best to improve and showcase my works regardless of the competition. This business bloomed out from passion. This was the reason why I held on. In my opinion, doing what you love soothes your soul. It is also pleasing to your client love the products you poured your heart into.”
Next, Chuinny. She sells the best pins out there. She mentioned that, “Selling art products is a part time business that I am holding for 5 years. I would do it on any free time that I could find. It was something that I always wanted to do and try. Thanks to my family and friends who kept on encouraging me and also doing the same business, I finally gathered the courage to try it out. From there, it has been a journey! At the moment, it helps me out financially, but not fully 100% yet. Involving in art entrepreneurship is not easy. I have faced some challenges such as the stress, deadlines, financial problems, online presence, inventory and storage. Plus, it is hard to estimate interests. Nevertheless, it is a hobby; something I like doing, a side income and also something that connects me and my friends and other people from various places in the world no matter online or offline.”
Ryu said, “I have started it when I was very young. 13 years – my commitment in art entrepreneurship is quite long. Even though I had experience for13 years, I still have a part time job that I do for annual income’s sake. However, my art does take up a bigger percentage of my time than my part time job. I started this business by telling my parents about my dream to pursue art as a career. They told me that I can pursue art but I will need gain knowledge of business as well. They wanted me to not only be good at art, but also learn how to market myself and make a living from my passion. My earnings from this business could not support me fully yet. But I am reaching the financial goals I have set for myself. I think I will be able to live off solely from my art earnings a few more years later. I tried to work at a normal job before. A regular 9am to 5pm job at a desk. I hated it. I realised nothing gives me more hope to live, more drive to excel than my art. This drives me to move forward everyday with my art and business. Other than that, it is also the pure passion I have for art. To me, involving in art entrepreneurship is not hard. It takes effort like any kind of work or business. It is all a matter of perspective. It is all just good time management and being able to balance out a healthy work and personal life in between and you will see results.
Suha’s Kyoto sketch zine sale was very well and now she is focusing on her second sketch zine. She mentioned that, “I have involved in this business since I was 14 years old. I told my parents that I wanted to do art and the deal was that I should learn how to make money if I want to pursue art. I think I am somewhere in the middle, currently in the transition in making art entrepreneurship full time. My art business is not able to support me currently. Like any business, it takes a few years to establish a proper foundation. For now, I have a part time job while working on my art as a business. Nothing is truly easy if done right but I have to say that it was easier than I thought it would be. I would just say, “Just do it”. Making mistakes is the best way to learn more about yourself, the situation and move forward. My friends and family have been playing big roles in supporting me. However, the most practical thingthat kept me going is having an end goal with a specific date. Even if youfall short, it will take you forward and you just have to keep going.”
Inkotori said: “I started doing art entrepreneurship 2 years ago. I am only doing it part time at the moment. Art started out as a hobby but as my skills improved and I posted my art online, people started asking for commissions. I wanted to earn side income. Especially during university time, I was busy with my studies and could not leave my dorm much. In a sense, art was a formidable way of earning some income without leaving my room. The earnings I get is enough to pay for food or extra items I want to indulge in for the month.This business mainly revolves around the size of one’s fan base and how an artist keeps up with trends. My inspiration for holding on is the stories of other artists before they made it big. It is most likely the case that most artists have had to suffer before they found success so the key right now is persevering.”
So, you should try taking art courses if you really love it, but do not forget to learn some business skills too. Their success should be your inspiration. Lastly, do follow the entrepreneurs’ Instagram at @ellamohamed_ @yichuin @ryufromleupus @cloveraureate @inkotori if you are interested in their arts!