So as you all know I love to support local and started a segment where we could share, learn and inspire!
During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses – many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time – and shed some awareness and love to all.
I recently discovered the most awesome new business, Pawtraits, who are doing pet portraits! What an awesome gift for friends and family. Here is their website. So you give them a photo of your pet and they superimpose it on to your choice of body! I mean what a really thoughtful gift for someone with a pet? or a treat for yourself!
We spoke to the lovely #girlboss Chana, founder of Pawtraits and she had this to say!
You have just started a brand new business – Tell us about it and what products you will be selling?
I run a custom pet portraits business called Pawtraits. I originally started the business to enable myself to work remotely.
I have always had a great passion for creativity and animals so much so that I studied and graduated into the creative industry.
I always wanted to be able to be independent and open up my own business so what better way to do so than to open up Pawtraits which incorporates all my skills and passions.
Pawtraits offers pet lovers the opportunity to turn their beloved pets into masterpieces. We offer canvases in various sizes as well as digital artworks! We work with all kinds of pets, all shapes and sizes. We love a challenge so the crazier the pet the better!
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own businesses – I know it’s early days but perhaps some insights?
Pawtraits launched in March so we are still ironing out things and learning about ourselves and our clientele. I guess a few things that really stood out for me the most are the following:
1) Having to learn patience, businesses do not grow over night and a huge amount of effort has to go into everything you do. One needs to understand that growing a following and presence on social media definitely takes time and hard work.
2) Social media management is actually quite difficult when it is a one woman show! I have loved being able to design my own brand and aesthetic but a lot of time and hard work goes on behind the scenes and into each of my posts. Managing Instagram and Facebook can be quite a challenge but I am getting better and better at it!
3) Be prepared for anything and learn to be flexible and resilient when facing difficult situations. It definitely took a lot longer to gain traction because of the global pandemic but even though this was the case it gave me the opportunity to grow my social media following and slowly make a name for myself which has really helped me gain clients and lots of new pet friends in the Instagram world.
Where do you see your businesses in 5 years?
I see my business as picking up quite a following and creating a buzz in South Africa and Worldwide, after all who doesn’t love their pets! So far we are mostly focusing on South Africa but in the near future we would love to expand our audience overseas which we have started slowly doing already. I am aiming to expand my brand to include new templates as well as lots of different printing mediums. I wouldn’t say that is the 5 year plan though, more like a 1 year plan at the moment. Bigger and better things are in the works!
What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
I would say the best thing is to just go for it! If you have a skill that you believe would add value and is something you’re passionate about, it is definitely worth investing your time into and growing it into a business. When you love what you do and you’re able to be surrounded by positivity everyday it makes owning your own business so worth it!
One thing that really helped get my business off the ground was being able to identify a way that I could incorporate my skills and passions without huge startup costs. Being a small business owner can be quite daunting and the best way to ease some of the stress is by starting up your business without having to take out massive loans or incurring large costs.
How has lock down affected you?
I have definitely felt the effects of the lockdown on my business even though we are solely based online. When I originally launched it took quite a while to gain clients as well as a following, during this hard time people are tightening their budgets and are they are not able to spend on luxury items.
That being said I learned that the lock down has been an opportunity for me to bring some positivity and some laughs to social media and to people’s homes through my canvases and digital art.
As my followers grow I see more and more people enjoying the things I post on my accounts and I have gotten incredible feedback from clients who have ordered through me. We need happiness during dark times like this and I am happy to have the opportunity to provide that to people through my art.