Today we’d like to introduce you to Sandra Marshall.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have been an artist/entrepreneur my entire life. I love the idea of creating something from nothing. As a child growing up in New York, my parents fostered my creativity. They didn’t buy me everything I wanted instead I would make it, or raise my own funds to buy it. They were genius! I was always busy thinking up new ways to earn some money. I was born an artist and loved painting, drawing, sculpting and creating. Again, creating something from nothing.
I am a graduate from Arizona State University with a bachelors in Elementary Education with a concentration in painting. I felt this would be a well-rounded degree. Right after college I taught for one year and started my own portrait painting/mural business. I was busy working as an artist. I left teaching to focus on my art full time.
I painted all around the world selling my work, and co-created a company called ‘Porta-a-Porta’ where we would bring aspiring artists from the U.S. to Italy to learn to paint. This lasted for a few years before I got married, and had children.
We built a studio onto our home in 2015. We were doing art parties and classes and we were very busy. One afternoon I took my eight year old son, and ten year old daughter shopping. We were strolling through the plaza and they found an empty storefront. They both told me to call the number on the window because this would be our new studio. I told them they would pretty much live with me there if we opened it, and we would not have much free time. Opening a business is tough! They told me to call anyway, and got my phone out. Three years later we are still here, and yes, we pretty much lived there for two straight years until we found more help. Be…An Artist has been a magical place since day one. We are expanding now too! It felt so amazing to have our kids watch our business come to life. It has been no easy ride, but it has been a wonderful experience. They get it, and they understand the value of a dollar. I think this is a great gift for them to see they could work hard and how rewarding it is to own a business. They also understand it is a LOT of hard work!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Has it been a smooth road? Absolutely not! So many bumps and sleepless nights. It still isn’t smooth, but boy is it an adventure! With an artist mind I can’t stop dreaming. New ideas pop up all the time and the sleeplessness if mostly due to excitement! Finding help has been my biggest challenge. We need artists/teachers/and business minded professionals all in one. It’s a tough combination I have found. I have met some great people along the way, and have been lucky to have a good group working with us.
I also struggle to ‘let go’ of our baby. It’s really hard to go away. It is like you are leaving someone behind, and you worry, worry, worry and hope things are going great. I have also had to stay behind on family vacations because my help would cancel at the last minute. You pack, get ready to leave and you get ‘that’ call, “I can’t come in.” I have to stay back because I can’t cancel a bunch of parties. This has happened more than once. It is an awful feeling. I get sick now with the thought of going away. I try to have backup, but I am never settled. The show must go on!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Be…An Artist – what should we know?
We specialize in art events. Lots of painting events, but we combine different arts at Be…An Artist studio. We have a full stage and sound system and have live comedy nights, indie film screenings, theater, and performances. Our parties are over the top and are very interactive. We actually dry our paintings using parachutes! We always welcome guests up on stage to sing their favorite songs, or to perform their favorite act. There is never a dull moment here.
We are so proud that this place brings in all ages. We have two year olds who come to create, as well as ninety six year olds.
We are always adding new ideas, and we keep it fresh. People come to paint and they think they can’t even draw a stick figure. They go home with an amazing work of art and a special memory. We do lots of team builders, and corporate events as well.
Kids birthdays and events are top on our list! When a child comes home from Disney, and tells you they love the studio more than Disneyland, we know we are doing something right. We like it to be magical for them. Magical for everyone. We even have leprechaun villages all over the studio! The kids love this. It is special to think they will have this special memory and a work of art to remember that special day.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The qualities that make us a success is that we go over and beyond with everything! We treat our customers like they are number one and show them we appreciate them. We are honest and our passion shows. We love what we do!
- $18.50- $28.50 for our Open Paint Adventure Lightroom Experience using original traceables for our canvases.
- $12-$30 for our pottery painting
- $16 for our Comedy Nights BYOB and no painting on these nights
- $250 for parties of eight and $25 for each additional painter. Two hour party.
- Custom in home or on location parties start at $300 for eight people.
- Address:4025 E. Chandler Blvd. Suites 6 & 7
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