Welcome to a NEW small business chat – how exciting! Today we’re meeting Sara, a friend of a friend, who runs Sara’s Parlour Face Painting, which offers face painting and other art services in the West Midlands and beyond. Sara’s been running her business for a decade and you really should check out her website and Facebook page to see the amazing images she’s created. Let’s meet Sara and see how she’s got where she is today!
Hello, Sara, and it’s lovely to meet you. So, basics first: what’s your business called? When did you set it up?
Hello! My business is called Sara’s Parlour Face Painting, and I set up the business in 2007.
What made you decide to set up your own business?
It was a chance request for me to do some face painting from a previous client. I hadn’t done it before, but had a book on my shelf on face painting so decided to give it a shot!
What made you decide to go into this particular business area?
After completing my art degree as a mature student, I was unsure which avenue to take next. I had tried out working in various areas post my degree – including theatre design, art workshops, and graphic design. I realised after giving face painting a go that It makes people happy, that I loved sharing my artwork with people, particularly that mirror moment!
Had you run your own business before?
Yes, I had designed clothing for boutiques in Birmingham and London back in the 90s.
How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?
I worked part time alongside working for charitable organisations supporting the public, and there have definitely been skills learnt there that I’ve transferred to my work now.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
I wouldn’t change my job for the world, it is long hours behind the scenes, which requires a broad range of skills, although the public just see the fun stuff, but even if I had been told that in advance, it wouldn’t have stopped me fulfilling my passion!
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
Believe in yourself fully.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
Nothing at all 🙂
What are you glad you did?
Saying yes to every new positive experience.
What’s your top business tip?
I work in a co-working space which is brilliant, it’s a lot easier to motivate yourself when in an organised office environment, and there is so much to learn from others – so my top tip is don’t become isolated – it can be counter-productive!
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
I’ve grown, moving into full time, subcontracting work out and working in teams, and getting bigger clients due to better marketing.
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
Full time, potentially with at least one paid worker in the office so I can work on being creative!
I love the passion my creative interviewees bring to their work – although you can obviously find passion in every sort of business. I was interested to hear that Sara works in a co-working space; that’s not something I can do in my line of work, not least because much of my work is confidential. But I totally agree about not becoming isolated, and have a good community of “my” people around me. You really should click on a link to see the marvellous work Sara does, and I’ll be looking forward to her follow-up interview next year!
Finally, where can we find you?
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.