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Photo provided by Art by Elisa Kruger LLC

Startup Corner: Elisa Kruger, Art by Elisa Kruger LLC

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Minimally viable product …
Through guided watercolor and paint pouring parties in a fun and comfortable setting, I can unlock the creativity within others and make art more accessible for all ages and stages. My art for sale hanging in community businesses shows myriad possibilities of what is waiting within all of us to come out on a canvas.

Problem solving …
Paint. Empower. Repeat.

Hurdles overcome …
My biggest hurdle has been believing in myself. I only discovered my talent and passion for creating art late in 2015.

I have been in sales for longer than I care to admit. Most recently, I was a sales manager with University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center. I was painting every evening and weekend and was selling my art every opportunity I got. I decided it was time to take a leap of faith. In October of last year, I gave a two-month notice and let them know Dec. 31 would be my last day. I’ve been working on my art full time as of Jan. 1.

Seed money …
Since I do not have a brick-and-mortar business, my overhead is low. Someone surprised me last year with a check for $1,000 because she believed in me and wanted to be the first to invest in me. This gave me the courage to take the leap of faith and chase my dream. My website got redesigned to start booking paint parties and help others unlock their artistic side.

Next phase …
From the beginning, I have wanted to paint and convert an old school bus to offer pop-up art, for all ages, on location. I envision not only having birthday parties, girls’ nights, team building, etc., but also coming to festivals, day cares and so on. My works will be featured at BookMarx on Walnut Street on March 1 for First Friday Art Walk.

Pivot …
Shifting from wanting to sell enough paintings to pay the bills to providing an experience that will allow anyone to create not only something beautiful but also create memories.

Biggest mistake …
To believe in myself much sooner and not spend two years just thinking about it.

Best/worst advice received …
Best: A friend gave me the book, “Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves,” by Christy Wright. It really helped me to overcome my fears.

Food for thought …
Positive energy begets more positive energy and support. Once I started believing in myself and wanting to share my love of painting, doors started to open and momentum continues to build. But I had to get out of my own way first.

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