Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Evelyn Henson, artist and creator of the lifestyle brand, Evelyn Henson. Her mission is to spread her mantra of living a brightly decorated life through her unique, bold and colorful art.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career.
I grew up in Columbus GA as one of five children and now reside in Charlotte NC. I grew up with a love for all things creative— some of my childhood hobbies were things like redecorating my room, making cards and stationery, or designing patterns on my computer. I never thought much of these hobbies as anything more than that, but I now work as an artist by selling my work online. Through my art, I seek to create gifts for a brightly decorated life, where we celebrate the little things and spark fun wherever we go!
2. What prompted you to start your own brand and online shop?
I needed a creative challenge. I graduated from college with no idea of what I wanted to do except that I wanted to be surrounded by art in some way. I had gotten into painting and decided to list a few original pieces and prints on Etsy. My friends had been encouraging me to open up a shop, and I figured if I couldn’t make it happen with no commitments, then I never would! Luckily, my little Etsy shop outpaced my unsuccessful hunt for a “real” job, and I decided to pursue art full time a few months later.
3. Your mantra is all about leading a “brightly decorated life.” Where did this concept come from?
The concept of a “brightly decorated life” came to me about a year and a half into starting my business. After hundreds of illustrations, it occurred to me that one of my biggest inspirations as an artist were little things in life (in addition to my friends and family who offer me love and support of course!) I’ve found that small things like flowers, pretty coffee cups, and old books have the ability to bring us happiness if we stop to appreciate them. Everything’s brighter when you stop to smell the roses, and I want my art to be a reflection of this philosophy.
4. What is your brand’s most successful form of marketing? (in terms of getting the word out there about the online store and obtaining new customers)
5. What changes have you seen in the digital world, both with your online store and marketing your brand, since you started the business?
Instagram has been a major tool for me from the get go, and it’s crazy how much it’s continued to grow as a platform. I’ve also started using snapchat recently—which I never would’ve thought could be something I would use in business 3 years ago.
6. What is the biggest challenge you face as a business owner?
Because I love and care about my business so much, it’s hard to stop working sometimes. I have a never-ending to do list! Especially since art used to be something I would do in my free time, it’s challenging for me to step away from my work.
7. Do you have any 2016 business goals? If so, what are they?
One of my business goals is to give more to customers and the community. I want to teach classes and design products that give back. My art goal is to get better at figure illustrations (My current muse is Audrey Hepburn)!
8. If you could put one of your paintings in any place or a mug in any one person’s hands, where and who would you choose?
Oprah? Mindy Kaling? I would freak out if Mindy Kaling had one of my mugs…. Or maybe someone fictional like Hermione Granger or Elle woods? I can’t decide! Maybe a gallery wall of my art in Elle Woods’ office when she takes over the Capitol.
9. Did you receive any words of wisdom before starting your business?
Make a schedule. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
10. What advice do you have for those looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?
Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to learn new things. Love what you do. Take the leap.
More on Evelyn: