In the lives of successful entrepreneurs that I have studied, there is one recurring practice that has also made a huge difference in my own life. This practice is the act of being grateful – Every. Single. Day. I make it a daily habit to note down the things that I am most grateful for in my life – from the seemingly mundane moments, to the extraordinary. When you have a lot of gratitude in your life, it makes it difficult for stress and anxiousness to persist. Although all of my gratitude notes are often done in the privacy of my journal, every now and again, it’s nice to be able to shout from the roof tops the things the I am most proud of. In this blog, I share the top 10 highlights of 2017 that I have achieved in my small art venture; Ave Mariabell Designs.
- Over 100 sales on Etsy, with 10 x 5 Star rating reviews!
When I first made my Etsy store live last year in March, I remember always refreshing the page, wondering when would the day come that I’d see the hundredth sale come through. This month, I received the first sale over 100 on Etsy, and I couldn’t be happier! When this is totalled with my offline sales, the numbers reach beyond what I could have imagined when I first started!
- Working with Square Inc.
To kick off my business, it was essential to have a payment platform to enable credit card purchases during outdoor markets in Toronto. I started using Square which provides a card reader, that inserts directly to you cell via the headphone jack. This has revolutionized small businesses by empowering them to make transactions on the go. I never imagined that I would one-day work with Square Inc. directly! I started working with Square early 2017 to design their staff t-shirts that incorporates their logo with my Toronto Skyline in an abstract way. Watch out for the final product by following my Instagram page; @avemariabell.designs.
- Love Toronto Collaborations
Love Toronto is an Instagram account dedicated to sharing the creative content of talented individuals in our community. They support emerging artists, designers, photographers, and entrepreneurs by providing them a platform to share their work. I have been so fortunate to work with Love Toronto – not only as a featured artist on their Instagram page, but I’ve also had an opportunity to collaborate with them on their latest apparel; check out our YYZ code tee below! Follow them and keep an eye out for more of our collaborations!
- Meeting like-minded local artists.
Through their Instagram platform of over 100,000 followers, Love Toronto has allowed me to meet many talented local artists. I believe that one of the steps to creating a name for yourself in the community, is to cultivate relationships with other local artists who are also establishing small art ventures. I love networking with locally established businesses, because it is an opportunity to seek guidance and create friendships from those who are on the same journey as you.
- Love Toronto and Friends Pop-up
With the help of Love Toronto and other local Toronto artists, 2017 was the year that #LoveTorontoandFriends pop-up markets came into fruition. Since starting my art venture, I have joined as a vendor in many Toronto art markets such as City Fest, Waterfront Artisan Market, Withrow Market and even smaller charity markets such as the Holiday Arts & Crafts market by Toronto New Life Wellness Place. However, I’ve always wanted to organize my own local market and Love Toronto has made that possible. We plan to organize more #LoveTorontoandFriends pop-ups soon, so keep an eye out!
- Airbnb Installation
During one of many local Toronto markets that I participated in 2017, I was fortunate to connect with a local Airbnb owner who requested my biggest wall decal order yet – a Toronto Skyline decal spanning 9 feet long and 3 feet high. This was installed in a chic, Canadian-themed apartment in downtown Toronto. I am so happy to show case my work right in the heart of Toronto.
- H-Bar Art Installation
A good friend and fellow artist, from @Studio324 connected me with the owner at the trendy “H-Bar,” located at 859 Queen Street West in downtown Toronto. The owner is an art enthusiast, who supports artists by allowing them to display and sell their art on their walls. My laser-cut wooden skylines, fit so well with their rustic décor and solid timber walls, and they have been on display there since October 2017. If you happen to be out in the nightlife of Toronto, make sure to drop by and have a look!
- Arts Market – Voted Best Unique Gift shop
I am a proud to be apart of the Arts Market team since November 2016. This year, Arts Market was voted in Now Magazine’s – Best Unique Gift Store category in their Readers’ Choice poll! If you are looking for an in-store location to sell your art in Toronto, without the burdens of owning real estate, I highly recommend Arts Market. Arts Market gives artistic entrepreneurs a permanent place to sell their wares at the most affordable rent possible.
- Project City Love Launch
This year I officially launched the Project City Love fundraising campaign which aims to raise funds to send volunteers to help build homes in villages around the world. A portion of all proceeds from Ave Mariabell Designs has always funded the #ProjectCityLove campaign. However, because the business is only growing, often those proceeds are limited and need to be invested into the development of product and services. This has made raising funds difficult, which is why I made the decision to launch #ProjectCityLove on the GoFundMe platform, and I am so excited to see it’s growth in the year ahead!
- Winning the Nook Start Competition
One of the biggest milestones I achieved for my art venture this year was winning the Nook Start 2017 competition. @NookStart is an exciting 10 week, online, entrepreneurial competition to help aspiring artists to sell their products beyond an arts and craft market. 4 winners of the Nook Start competition won free retail space for a whole year! I am so proud to be one of four very lucky candidates who against a total of 30 applicants, came out on top! In September 2017 I set up my space at the Design Nook location, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to continue to grow my business with the wonderful Nooks team in the year ahead.