Today we are introducing you to Mim who is the small business owner of Mimmim Designs, an art business based in Darwin NT.
Mim creates her bright, eye-catching art on canvases, then digitalises it and gets it printed on different products such as sports uniforms and ecofriendly nappies. Recently, she collaborated with another local artist to complete a three-story mural wall. Mim’s husband said that he has never seen Mim so happy as when she started her own business. Next, Mim has her eyes set on holding her own exhibition and running art workshops!
“I wanted to do something that I was passionate about and make that my full-time job. Life is precious and I knew I would be more motivated and happier doing something I love.”
Read Mim’s Story
My business is called Mimmim and I am a Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri person and also have roots in Asia and Europe. I do Aboriginal intuitive and abstract art and I celebrated three-years since my business started last week.
I paint on canvas and then take high-quality photos or get it digitalised so that the print can be put on different products. These include bed sheets, ecofriendly nappies, sport uniforms and work uniforms. One of my recent collaborations gave me an opportunity to have my designs printed on bags, purses and luggage. I also just finished a large, three-story mural wall. We came up with a sketch and then painted it on the wall. The lady, Kaff-eine, who I collaborated with on this mural was a great mentor too.
My husband and I founded the Balunu Foundation, a program working with Indigenous, at-risk youth. We have school programs and we also run cultural healing camps. I had been working there for 10 years before I decided to start Mimmim Design. The experience of setting up the foundation helped because I had some ideas about how to create a business. I continue to volunteer casually at the Balunu Foundation and my husband still works there.
My brother recommended me to Many Rivers as he was also receiving support from a Many Rivers business coach.
Mimmim Designs was something that I wanted to do and something that I was passionate about making my full-time job. Life is precious and I knew I would be more motivated and happier doing something I love.
Working with Many Rivers
I have received a lot of support from Kat (Many Rivers business coach). Being able to freely talk with her and her ability to really grasp my ideas was a huge support. She will do anything that is possible to help my ideas come to fruition. We meet at cafes or wherever I choose, and it is a pleasant and relaxed environment. Kat gets so excited about my ideas, and it gives me even more confidence and excitement about them too. She helps me believe and she knows a lot about how to get things done to get a business started. She has also taught me a lot about how to network.
The biggest help is that she is really hands on with me in writing submission for grants and creating my business plan. I’m not the best at these kinds of things. Kat will sit beside me and do it with me which is something I am really grateful for. This is a lot more support than if she was to tell me to go and do it when it is not my strong point. She knows this is not my strong point, so she gives the support that she knows that I need. It is the most support I have ever received from any business coach.
Kat has also assisted me in getting a large grant from the Aboriginal Business Development Program Funding. She helped me set up a meeting with them and she was there at all the meetings with me. She really has been the best support.
Time management! When you work for yourself that is something you definitely have to work on. You have to guess how long you think a project will take, especially for commissions. At first, I did a lot of commissions at first to get myself out there because there is high demand for this type of art. I am at a point in the business where I can pick and choose what feels right. I don’t take on much commission work anymore because it stunts my creativity.
The biggest success of my journey with Mimmim Designs is how my art has been received so positively and to see my artwork on all these different canvases and products. The fact that people are willing to pay for it is incredible. It’s gone a lot better than I expected. The types of people I have met in my network and my supporters, that’s what makes me happy.
Other business people that I am friends with and my network has made my business journey so far very enriching.
The biggest change would have to be that my husband said he has never seen me be so happy than when I went into business. I am a different person; I am so much happier and more confident.
Right now I am not at the point where I can support myself financially just yet but I have the support of my husband. It is all worth it because of where I am. I will get there!
Getting that grant is going to help me open up a small shop gallery at my studio which will take Mimmim Designs to the next step.
Future Goals for Mimmim Designs
I would love to have my own exhibition and continue to create my paintings and sell them. I’d like to look into getting more products made with my designs on them. Down the track I would love to run art workshops. There are a lot of possibilities for where I could go next.
Advice for Small Business Owners
Whatever your passion is, just keep doing it and talk about it because when you talk about it, that is how you form networks. You never know what opportunities can come out of that. That is how I feel that my business has naturally grown. If it is your passion – why not keep doing.
Thank you Mim for sharing your business journey. We look forward to working with you as your business journey continues. Make sure to check out her artwork on Instagram.
We love to encourage people to take the first step towards kick-starting their small business ideas. If you have a business idea, please take the Small Business Self Assessment and see if we are right for you.