Today we are introducing you to Kerri from Melbourne VIC who spent lockdown turning her hobby business into a small art business.
Kerri started Koori Art Designs 6 years ago, making original, small-scale artworks to digitally print onto items such as pens, notebooks, and most recently, reusable coffee cups. She was surprised to see how popular her products were and recognised an opportunity to make this into a serious business venture. Over the last six months, she has developed her product range and started working with her Many Rivers business coach, Frankie.
“Frankie has been absolutely brilliant and really helpful. She has been able to work around me with my crazy schedule and she’s really flexible. We have a very beautiful partnership. We went through my cash flow step by step. We broke down all the costs and the prices that I am selling my products and discovered I am underselling myself.”
Read Kerri’s story.
My business is Koori Art Designs, and it has been operating for nearly six years. It was very low key just as a hobby business. I would make art for myself but have too much stuff leftover. I would sell them at markets and school fetes. I didn’t realise how popular my products would be! I did smaller pieces of artwork then, hand painted bookmarks and some woven products. I have really developed my business in the last six months, including increasing my product range and spending more time turning it into a serious business venture.
Now I take some of my original, small-scale artworks and then have them digitally printed onto other items such as pens, greeting cards and notebooks. Most recently, I started selling bamboo reusable coffee cups featuring a couple of different designs of my artwork. I also weave earrings and bowls.
Working With Many Rivers
I worked full time as a Koorie Engagement Support Officer for the Department of Education and Training. I knew I wanted to start this business, so I have been putting money aside from the sales of my items over the last 6 years. The business started as art therapy for me. After work, I would do art to take my mind off some of the stresses at work and it grew and grew. It helped me to stop overthinking and stress.
I have dropped back to 4 days of work, and then on Fridays, I work on my business. At the weekend I can go to the markets to sell my products.
I was part of a program called Dumawul through Dja Dja Wurrung, who are my Traditional Owner group. They had some funding for the Traditional Owner members to develop their businesses through a 12-week accelerator program.
It was an ideal time during COVID-19. They had different types of support available such as introducing us to Frankie, my local Many Rivers business coach. It was almost my lockdown project, just like many other people. It gave me time to develop a whole new range of artwork.
I always knew that I wanted to try to have a business and the Dumawul program provided me with this opportunity a lot earlier than I expected. I’m so glad that the opportunity has come along, and I have learnt so much. It has been amazing how fast we have developed this dream.
Working With Many Rivers
Being able to analyse what I want out of my business. When I met with Frankie, I had this long-term dream to have a physical shop. After sitting down and looking at a business plan, I realised that this 5-year plan might blow out to 10 years. I revaluated what I want to achieve right now. Frankie always says that the business plan is not set in stone. It is a moving document and an ongoing plan, so things might change, but in the meantime, I can focus on what can I do and my short-term goals.
We went through my cash flow step by step. We broke down all the costs and the prices that I am selling my products and discovered I am underselling myself. Frankie helped me have more confidence in what I am putting out there and my prices.
Frankie has been absolutely brilliant and really helpful. She has been able to work around me with my crazy schedule, and she’s really flexible. We have a very beautiful partnership.
Having more confidence in myself and recognising that my product is worthy. People will buy it!
I reckon it’s that self-doubt. Frankie challenges me in a really good way and asks me why I think that way. She makes suggestions to help me feel more positive. It is good to have her pushing me from behind.
Ordering my new range of products such as the bamboo cups which are being delivered today. Even the process of ordering and marketing is all new.
Biggest Change Since Becoming a Small Business Owner
The confidence in myself as a person, and as a businesswoman. I have a lot more confidence in just putting myself out there.
In the long-term, I would still love to have a physical shop but that could be 10 years away, who knows. The next short-term goal is to develop a website!
Thanks Kerri for sharing the story of Koori Art Designs with us. We can’t wait to support you on this journey to achieving your business goals. Follow Koori Art Designs on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated.
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