I've shared before that my portrait business essentially fell into my lap...which I know not too many people have the privilege of saying. I owe the start of my tiny business to my dad in 2015, showing my artwork to a buddy, who asked if I could illustrate his children as a Christmas gift for his wife. I slowly got 1 or 2 more commissions each year after, until this past year when I really started molding and building this as a business, and my portrait illustrations have taken off.
I'm infinitely grateful for those fortunate building blocks...but at the same time: so what. Who cares that it happened upon me, the real question is what have I been DOING to keep it going? Why do clients keep coming back? How do I treat my clients and the artwork I'm creating for them? What do I care about most for my business, and what do I want it to represent?
Compassion. Giving. Kindness.
I thought I wanted to curate a list of core values that define my brand, but in writing this I've realized that all of the things I do always lead back to compassion. Growing up with a pet as my absolute best friend, I know how much they mean to us....I also know how devastating it is to lose them.
Having strong, wonderful relationships with the people in my own life, I feel the love in the portraits you hire me to illustrate.
Whether someone hires me or not, I give every client and inquiry the most care and warmth that I can, because every person deserves that.
I'm genuinely anxious before every portrait delivery, hoping that my illustration not only lives up to their expectations, but also gives justice to the human/pet it is honoring.
I put my heart and soul into every thank you note, every interaction, and every portrait.
I give back whenever I can - to animals, to the community, and to desperately-needed social justice.
I have 0 business or marketing background. All of my extracurriculars and schooling revolve around art and community service. So I had to figure out how, when, why, and what to do for literally...everything. Marketing, content planning, bookkeeping, communications, web designing, curating, administration, & more. But whenever I was stuck, I would just go back to what I always know: I want to bring joy, healing, and warmth through my art. And that is what I will always do as I continue navigating and growing my art child.
What are your personal or brand values? I invite you to think about them and reflect on how your actions are (or maybe aren't) reflecting them.