How did you get started with your craft/art?
I have always been artistic...drawing, sketching, creating, even as a kid. As a young mother with more time and less money on my hands, I began to make Christmas ornaments for everyone at the holidays, painting wooden shapes and attaching hangers. Eventually, I bought a house with an old slate roof which had stacks of slate on the property. I began painting the slates and giving them as gifts for holidays, birthdays, showers, etc. Sometimes they were small slate ornaments, sometimes larger wall-hangings.
What prompted you to set up a home-based business?
Actually, I went through some difficult times a couple of years ago and painting slates was a kind of "therapy" for me. Unfortunately, my "therapy" resulted in many slates sitting around the house. ;-) Some friends suggested I sell them but I really didn't enjoy all the work involved in traditional craft fairs, so when I saw an article in a magazine on something called "Etsy", I decided to check it out...The price was right and I started designing a shop. In the warm weather, I enjoy being outside which is when I began making simple jewelry pieces and bent nail and wire crosses (Disciples Cross.) I could take all of my jewelry making stuff out on the deck and create instead of being in the house painting!
What part of your craft is your favorite?
I really enjoy doing custom paint orders. So far, I've had wonderful responses to my custom ordered paintings, although when you are painting someone's actual pet or a family member there is always a fear that you won't "capture" the subject the right way. It is great working with a customer and creating an idea and then making it an actual piece of artwork.
How have you changed since starting your business? How has this impacted your craft?
Well I definitely have had to learn about photography and some computer programs and applications that I had never dealt with before! Setting up a shop, creating banners, avatars, trying to take photos that will showcase each item....there was a lot of new stuff to figure out. Eventually, I also started a blog and learned even more about code and so forth. Not a lot, but I consider myself to be extremely technologically challenged so learning to do all this has been fun and frustrating at times. I have also learned the power of networking. It's amazing the connections you make (and friendships you build) with people all over that you may never meet in person but who are supportive and cheering for you all the way!
What is the most challenging aspect of running your business?
See Question #4! ;-)
How did you come up with your shop name?
When I initially opened my shop I had two pups who were and are the loves of my life! Big Mac and Molly, 4 yrs. and 3 yrs. respectively, are both cockapoos (cocker spaniel/poodle mixes) with a lot more spaniel in them then poodle. Big Mac I purchased after much research, and Molly I rescued only to discover once we healed her and cleaned her up that she is a "mini-me" to Big Mac...same coloring, breed, temperament! I consider them my "Angels on Earth" and without going into details several signs appeared to me telling me that AngelPups was a name to go with...so I added Creations to it and ran with it. ;-) A while back I began volunteering at a local animal shelter, but didn't worry about the temptation to bring a pup home because I knew I liked small, non-shedding dogs which are rare in shelters. But, about two months ago an 11-week old, six pound dachshund mix came to the shelter on a transport from the South and she was home with us two days later. Moxie immediately became a member of the "AngelPups Crew",,,I can honestly say that every single one of my pups picked me and in doing so rescued me far more than I could ever rescue them!
Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you see your business?
Right now I am having fun with it. It is not a full time project for me but that may change...only God knows the plans He has for me! In any event, I hope that in five years I am doing something creative that makes a difference in the world, even in just a small, small corner of the world. ;-)
How do you keep a balance between home and business responsibilities?
I don't! ;-) Some days the painting gets done, some days the dishes get done..;-) It all balances out in the end!
What is the funniest/craziest/most touching thing that has happened while having a business?
It is always touching for me to have painted someone's family member, pet, or an image that is meaningful for someone and then have the giver of the painting come back and tell me how excited the recipient was, especially when I get to see pictures! One of my wonderful customers asked me to paint her five nieces and nephews on a slate for her Mom for Mother's Day. It was daunting, worrying about whether I was capturing the images just right or not, but when she sent me the pictures of her Mom opening it and I saw the joy on her face, it was truly heart-warming!
If you could give one piece of advice to others who are just getting started with their businesses, what would it be?
Find people who are successful at this stuff and pay attention to what they do! Also, find your niche and stick with it. Spreading yourself out to thin doesn't always help. I am particularly interested in enlarging on the pet portrait aspect of my business so I've become involved with a wonderful Etsy Team called Petsjubilee. I also now have a blog (something I swore I'd never do ;-) that revolves a lot around pets and have met many other pet bloggers. Basically, find your audience or customer base and focus on them. And finally, don't get frustrated! Starting ANY business is a challenge and often there is no return for some time...but if you are doing something you love and know that you'd be doing it whether anyone paid you or not, it's a lot easier to be patient when times are slow. Did you say "one piece of advice"? ;-)
Can you give us some links to be able to follow you?
Sure! These are my links: