As a self-employed business woman, I decided to surround myself with positive, motivated and inspiring people. So I started a monthly networking group called 'Wonderful Women: Minding Our Own Business'. To encourage and motivate us I interview inspirational and creative business women, and so far I have picked the brains of Bernie Dexter, Angelique Houtkamp, Michelle Ward, Maureen Jann, Hayley Southwood and Rebecca McWattie.
Jess Purser owns Purrr, an Etsy shop selling her own unique style of art featuring her own fabulously wonderful women. She has opened up so honestly in her interview, and I think many creative business women can learn from her insights.
ReeRee Rockette: How did Purrr start?
Jess Purser: I guess you’d call my business a cottage industry. I love to paint, combining a love of history, literature, vintage fashion and of course, art. It began as a little hobby without much direction, and then a whole load of ideas and inspirations which had been growing in my mind for a long time suddenly consolidated and came together. I was lucky to have been introduced to Etsy when I was at a loss for both money and something ‘useful’ to do with my time.
We were living in Spain (myself, boyfriend and our small daughter), helping my mum to look after my dad who had recently been diagnosed with arteriosclerosis. There wasn’t much work around and our daughter was too young to attend school, so things were pretty difficult at times. Then my friend Jo (herself a rather stylish vintage-loving beauty!) told me about Etsy and suggested I could do ‘something arty’, so I gave it a go, made and painted a few things and opened my shop ‘Purrr’ (which comes from my surname ‘Purser’) tried out a lot of different styles and spent every spare minute creating, researching, perfecting. Now we live back in England, not far from London and I’m working hard on developing the business further. I feel very comfortable with little vintage-style paintings I’m doing at the moment, but am also fearful of getting too stuck on an idea. Have a style – yes, but keep an eye on yourself so you don’t go stale!
ReeRee Rockette: Do you find it challenging to have a business mind as well as a creative one?
Jess Purser: Yes. Massively! I really dislike and find it hard to keep up with all the paperwork which goes along with having this kind of business. On the outside, being an ‘artist’ appears to be very much an ideal, almost lazy lifestyle, lying around, flapping away at a canvas but if you’re to earn a living from it, it’s anything but! My house (ahem, ‘studio’) is piled high with paper receipts, printing paper, invoices, my daughters’ drawings, my own drawings and notes, books, inspirational magazine clippings, endless to-do lists...you get the picture!
ReeRee Rockette: What have you found most challenging running your own creative business?
Jess Purser: Keeping up with life! Then again, I think we all have that problem, don’t we?!