I love to support local and started a segment where we could share, learn and inspire! It is so important to support local and share your findings with others.
You all know I love art and enjoy sharing local finds and this is no exception! This local lass has taken the art world by storm and it is only her side hustle! Alexandra is a self taught artist and her work in absolutely stunning. I came across one of her pieces called “Swimmers” recently and fell in love with her work from that moment on.
We chatted to the lovely Alexandra and she had this to say to us!
Tell us a little bit about your business.
Afrillustrations started when I begin to renew my passion for art as a hobby.
It was a way for me to gradually get back into expressing my creative side and this meant starting from a place I was most comfortable with – illustrating detailed drawings with ink, specifically, the humble little bee.
As my confidence grew I extended to paints and was immediately inspired by my love for the ocean.
Since dusting off my brushes, this creative hobby has grown into a small side hustle.
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?
In terms of art & exhibitions/galleries, I’ve learnt to always scope out the location first before making an agreement to have your art displayed and commission added to your price. If you’re not happy with the space, don’t waste your time.
I’ve also learnt that commission requests means you should also be asking for a deposit before commencing work. As much as I don’t want to force a sale on someone who is not 100% committed to a piece, you need to know they will continue with the purchase after you’ve put the work in to making a specialized piece.
Finally, as much as you’d like to see your small business grow fast, you need to realize that your budget in the early stages is very important. It’s difficult to come to terms with the fact that your ideal packaging or presentation of your product may not be achievable just yet.
Keep to what you can afford until you grow and can comfortably re-evaluate these details. I can translate this issue into frames.
Framing can be expensive and unfortunately not many people see the advantages of it. This is why all my pieces come unframed unless requested as at this time in Afrillustrations growth I can’t support the immediate expense of framing without confirmation of a sale.
Where do you see your business in 5 years? Once we have gotten over the effects of the lock down.
My future goal is to be able to consistently sell larger art pieces and be partnered with hotels/restaurants/resorts/interior designers and share my art in spaces that compliment my pieces. Think Bali resort vibes. I’d also love to be able to hold a successful exhibition at a renowned gallery. Hopefully the latter will be before the next 5 years!
What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
Just do it! Be smart about your money and be patient. Growth takes time. Also be present on social media and as accessible as possible. The way you present your brand makes an immediate impression on potential customers so take the time to get that shot & edit right. That being said, your amount of social media followers doesn’t always correlate with sales, you need quality (repeat customers who are actually interested in investing in your vision) followers of quantity.
Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worth while?
Afrillustrations allows me to better my artistic skills while still making a profit. I can directly communicate with customers and nothing feels better than seeing the excitement they have for my art. It truly motivates me to see happy customers sending pictures of my paintings in their new homes.
My side hustle growth is also largely managed by myself and as I still have a full time job this is very important to me. I would never want Afrillustrations to get to a point where it does actually feel like work and my passion has been lost.
How has lock down affected you, your business and your team?
Crazily enough, my art picked up! This year has had the most sales ever seen since starting my art again in 2018. I want my art to emit the feelings that summer holidays give – tranquility, warmth & positive energy. I guess that’s s what my customers needed during lockdown.
The only hiccup was shipping, I prefer to give customers, especially international customers, a shipping quote before finalizing a sale as shipping can get pricey. Off course shipping was prohibited the first couple of weeks which put a delay on sales.