“I wish I knew how easy it actually was to start a business.” Ain’t that the truth? Christina walks us through her trials and tribulations in getting her biz off the ground…and how she’s thriving now doing what she loves most.
What business did you start up?
Danger By Design, providing artistic services to individuals, businesses and groups.
What motivated you to do it?
My motivation for Danger By Design came from a life long love of art in all forms. I’ve been interested in art from a very young age, constantly getting into trouble at school for drawing on my tests and homework. With a passion for body art and an aspiration to become a tattoo artist, I started competitive body painting in 2003, winning 4 awards in my first 2 competitions. In 2006, I became a mother and left my job as a bookkeeper. With little time and energy left to do anything that resembled work, I resigned myself to being a stay-at-home mom until my kids started school.
As our family grew from 3 to 4 with the birth of our daughter, I began thinking about what I wanted to do when I grew up. I knew bookkeeping was not something I wanted to do forever, and a tattoo apprenticeship was a distant dream. I wanted to be my own boss. But I was having trouble deciding what one single type of art I could do to generate an income.
Christmas was nearing and we were broke, so I decided to try my hand at window painting. I posted a classified ad and had the pleasure of painting several business windows for money, which saved Christmas. I decided to practice, and the next year I would start earlier and get more customers. Unfortunately, window painting is only very popular during the holidays, and the rest of the year there is very little work. It was shortly after a body painting competition that I decided face painting would be fun. So I rented a table at a local market and started on my journey. I started getting requests for birthday parties, fairs and other events, and before I knew it I was working almost every weekend. I began painting small canvases to sell at the markets while I was face painting to help generate more income. To date, I have sold 40 paintings in less than a year. I built a small website and registered my business. Now I do everything from web and print graphics on the computer to face painting and illustration.
How many children do you have, and how old are they?
I have 2 children. My son is 4 years old and will be starting Kindergarten later this year. My daughter is 2 years old.
How long have you been running your business?
It’s been just over a year since I started.
How long did it take you to start becoming profitable and/or successful, however you choose to measure success?
I’ve been making a profit since I started, but I don’t make a ton of money yet. I’m still a stay-at-home mom during the week, limiting my work to evenings and weekends. Once my kids are in school I hope to focus more on building my business and making more money. But for the time being, I measure success by being able to make the extra money to our pay bills and doing something that I love while still being able to stay home with my kids.
How did your family react to you starting your own business?
My family has been very supportive of my business. They are happy that I’m doing something that I love and that I’m finally putting my talent as an artist to good use.
Easiest part of your job?
The easiest part of my job is doing what I love and being creative. I can’t get enough of it!
Hardest part of your job?
It’s a toss up. It’s either networking and marketing while trying to keep my costs down and plan for the future, or painting wiggly toddlers’ faces.
What skill would you most like to improve?
I would most like to improve my networking and organizational skills. It’s difficult to keep my house organized, my kids clean and fed, and my books balanced while seeking out new opportunities and planning for the future of my company and family.
What tools or advice do you wish you knew then that you know now?
I wish I knew how easy it actually was to start a business. It’s not a walk in the park, but it’s also not as hard as I imagined. I think I would have done it sooner, if I had known.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?
Sticking to my guns and making this a reality! I always wanted to make a living doing what I love, instead of settling for whatever got the bills paid. I finally have that feeling of accomplishment in everything I do, and I know it’s because I’m finally doing what I was meant to.
Can you recommend 3 essential websites for moms in, or going into, business?
Favorite part of a typical day?
The part of me that hasn’t had enough coffee today wants to say “Bedtime!”, but a more realistic answer is the part of my day where I get to lock myself in my studio and put paint on canvas.
And a few more questions, considering that American Express should be featuring more mom entrepreneurs…
Childhood ambition? Artist.
Time of day you get the most work done? After the kids are in bed.
Last purchase? Besides milk? My last purchase for my business was some new face paint colors.
Inspiration? Imagination! My own, my husband’s, my kids, my friends. I love to bring imagination to life.
Least likely to…..be out late unless I’m grocery shopping or working.
My life…..is amazing and challenging and full of love.