I am a sucker for a good life story.
Put me in a room with a bunch of people and I will somehow navigate to the person with the most interesting life story (or so it seems). And being a Psychotherapist, people just LOVE telling me their stories. Which is just fine by me, because I find that to be the most interesting part of any evening.
That’s why when I recently attended a fantastic networking event by West Coast Creative Company, not being much of a networker, I hooked right into the fascinating stories of all the people around me.
I loved listening to Sky Marcano of the Mandala Sky Clothing Line tell the story of the birth and re-birth of her business. I loved listening to Deland of Counting Sheep Coffee talk about how he originally created his Valerian Root coffee for his coffee-loving and sleep deprived wife. I loved talking to Lindsay from Lindsay Fabre Photography about her many talents (aside from being an a-mazing photographer). I loved listening to how Tara from Suburble and Crystal from Sew Creative came together to create these unique West Coast Creative events where bloggers get to be creative (outside of the blogging sphere), drink wine, enjoy yummy munchies, and go home with a some fabulous goodies.
I was especially inspired by one particular person. Simone is the owner of 4Cats Kerrisdale (where the event took place). She was one of those people that was a natural at her job (and her job was not easy). She helped us create beautiful Van Gough style paintings that I still have a hard time believing I painted. I wanted to hear her story so I contacted her and she quickly became the first person to be featured in this INSPIRED by YOU series.
You’re quite young to own your own franchise, wouldn’t you say? Tell me a little bit about how you came to taking over the 4Cats Kerrisdale?
I have always been interested in art and went to university at Emily Carr to study it. My mother was the one who inspired me to start teaching. Our family lived overseas in Indonesia and India throughout my whole childhood and into my teenage years, and my mom was always teaching art at the schools we went to. I also got the opportunity to do some volunteer work painting murals at schools and teaching kids in my teenage years. It was very rewarding for me and when I was deciding on if I wanted to run a 4Cats I looked back on those experiences for reassurance.
You must have had some doubts though, I mean taking on a personal risk like that – where did find the courage?
I must admit I did harbour some discouragement inside myself before taking over the 4Cats franchise. I was 24 when I took over the business and, as an artist, was completely inexperienced in the business side of things. It was quite nerve wracking for me at first but I had a lot of encouragement from friends and family and a LOT of business coaching from my father. The 4Cats HQ was very helpful as well and provided me with a lot of one on one business and general studio coaching as I needed it. I had to push any negative feelings aside and dive in head first without fear. Also, when you are surrounded by smiling and laughing kids covered in paint every day it is really hard to feel discouraged!
You must have had a lot of support as a youngster to feel confident in taking on an endeavour like that (even if it was scary). Who were the encouraging people in your life growing up? What part did they have in you being who you are today?
My biggest encouragers have always been my mother and father. I had a couple of great teachers in high school who supported me a lot as well. My high school art teacher is someone who encouraged me a lot as an artist and made me realize how much fun teaching is! My mother has always encouraged my art backround a lot. And my Dad was the one who was confident in my ability to run a business.
What was the best piece of advice you ever got?
I think the best piece of advice came from my Father. He told me that it is not worth putting everything into my business unless I enjoy what I am doing, and the most important thing is being happy.
What lesson would you like to pass on to other young people facing a big decision like starting their own business?
I would give the same advice to others. Dont go into a business only thinking about making money. Do it because you love it and the money will come.
Thank you Simone, and thank you West Coast Creative for a lovely story-filled evening.
I highly recommend you check out 4Cats Kerrisdale – they have children and adult classes, workshops and birthday parties. They also have strike camps in case our government doesn’t get its sh-t together