By Louise Brook
I have been running my own business for 3 years now. I’m a wife, mum of two gorgeous boys and a self taught artist with an obsession with how colour can transform dull into a statement piece.
I had been a nurse for 12 years and on maternity leave and was ready for a change. It all happened out of the blue, I was frustrated with the lack of interesting furniture available in Adelaide and stumbled across chalk paint. A paint that you could put straight onto furniture with no priming. I attended a day course, learning the basics and painted a pair of bedside tables. Thrilled with the result I put them on eBay and sold them within 24hours. That was it, I was addicted.
All these dreams filled my head, having my own business, creating designs. I spent hours on Gumtree imaging how I could transform a piece, then hours on YouTube learning painting techniques. I started buying small pieces; coffee tables and vintage chairs, and spent days designing them, prepping them and painting them. I learnt quickly from my mistakes and became a perfectionist, wanting a perfectly finished piece. I then sold them for little more than what I paid for them. I was desperate to do another piece, I just wanted to move them along so I could start again.
Not knowing where to start with building a business I made mistakes. Spending money on fancy business cards only to waste them dropping them into letter boxes, hiring a stall at a local market, with everyone buying their fruit and veg and wondering what I was doing there with all this bright furniture. I even did a lay-by option, but my home became full of furniture with people extending the payment plan and then cancelling. Donating too many things for free; scared to say no. I was spending more than I was making, this dream was not going anywhere.
Luck then found me, I sold a piece to a journalist. She was such a lovely lady, we got chatting and after hearing my story she asked to meet for a coffee. Meeting her, I learnt all about how to run a business and the wonderful world of social media. Full of new enthusiasm, I had a plan to follow.
I built up a large Facebook business page, beautiful website and managed to get a story in the Sunday Mail. Posting frequently, sharing styled photographs on Instagram, and keeping up excellent communication is a must and a large part of running an online business. I also started selling pieces for a price that values my worth and offering custom work, my dream was coming true. People were becoming more aware of my business and it was becoming successful.
I have learnt many lessons over the years. Not seeing competition as the enemy, supporting each other and sharing ideas, you build a creative community; a friend to chat to on Instagram when you're still up painting at 1am.
Another lesson I learnt was learning to switch off business mode and have full attention on your family and self. I had not read a book in 2 years. Do things you enjoy, look after yourself, take a break and you will keep your passion for your business… your creative juices will flow freer!
Developing Onebeautifuthing has given me a skill and a understanding of paint. Using paint in different ways, I also created beautiful abstract art. Being able to put gorgeous colours together and then seeing it hanging in someones home is really exciting!
I really have to pinch myself, it’s amazing to have built up my small business from scratch. Selling a piece of artwork or furniture that you have created and seeing them being loved is a dream come true!
Louise Brook is a self taught artist, developed by a passion to create beautiful things. Founder and owner of Onebeautifulthing, an online shop that sells abstract art and painted vintage furniture. Believer in 'dreams don't work unless you do'. Loves laughter, sunny days and exploring the world! Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.