Turning Passion into Profit – Job Loss Inspires Thriving Art Business
Summer Elisabeth is an artist located in St. Petersburg, Florida. She worked as an art teacher as well as teaching adults with special needs and disabilities until COVID hit and shut everything down in 2020. Although Summer lost her career, she did not lose her creative spark. She began drawing portraits of her family and friends whom she could not see due to COVID restrictions and sent the portraits to them. At the same time, many iconic buildings in St. Petersburg were beginning to be torn down by modern businesses forging toward “progress,” so she started drawing these places out of nostalgia and to honor their memory. Little did she know, this artistic hobby would soon turn into a full-blown creative career, and her coloring books—featuring these iconic, bygone places—would begin appearing in shop windows all around her city.
The Challenge of the Art
When Summer was asked about the most challenging part of her art journey, she responded frankly with “the people.” She explains that it’s hard to know what people want and are looking for since it constantly changes. “The challenge of my art is trying to keep my finger on the pulse of what people want,” she said. Although the idea of these coloring books started off as something she was creating for her own nostalgia during lockdowns, the idea quickly grew into how she could best serve her audience with this unique, creative idea.
Summer’s Decision to Start a Small Business with Coloring Books
What began as a creative release during lockdown soon turned into a small business idea with the potential for massive growth. Summer wanted to present all of her images in a format that was easy to look at and, more importantly, easy to color, making coloring books the obvious and best choice. What Summer did not realize was that her art was helping to facilitate people’s memories of these places, encouraging them to share stories and bringing families together in a time of mass separation as they looked through her books and remembered these areas as they once were.
Other Challenges Summer Faced
One of Summer’s main challenges with this project was funding, as she was laid off due to COVID and lacked a steady income. Before she found PrintingCenterUSA, the quotes at competing places were completely outrageous, and they were not as willing to work with her throughout the process as she had never undertaken anything like this before. While she wanted to shop locally, the prices were simply too costly to do so. So she started to look online for a professional printing company and found PrintingCenterUSA.
Why She Chose PrintingCenterUSA
When Summer found the PrintingCenterUSA website, she was “immediately hooked.” She was very pleased that it wasn’t just an automated bot on hand to help but a real person ready to help her out and make a true human connection. “Not only was their website easy to navigate, but their customer service was outstanding, and the quality was unparalleled,” Summer notes. Between the prices, high quality, and ongoing support, Summer was able to proceed with her dream of publishing her first coloring book and bolstering her small art business thanks to PrintingCenterUSA.
Solving Summer’s Challenges
One of the ways that PrintingCenterUSA helped make the process go more smoothly for Summer as a first-time publisher was by offering a virtual book (or what we call an instant proof) to look through before purchasing. She also stated that her experience with the PrintingCenterUSA team was invaluable as she could bounce ideas off of them, and they would help her with things she had no idea about, such as formatting.
“Anytime I had an issue or question, someone was right there to help me,” Summer says. “I even started knowing the representatives on a first-name basis!” She goes on to say that the quality of the products has exceeded her expectations, and it makes her proud knowing that she is putting a quality product on the shelves and in the hands of her customers.
Results of the Partnership
As a result of this collaboration, Summer has printed three coloring books with PrintingCenterUSA, and she is currently finishing up her fourth book! PrintingCenterUSA “really held my hand and helped me every step of the way,” Summer states. “In fact, they’ve helped me more than any company I’ve ever worked with. A personal touch is a must for me, and PrintingCenterUSA provides all of that and more!” To sum up the biggest reason that she would recommend PrintingCenterUSA, she says they are “everything you would ever want in a company to handle all of your printing needs.”
Looking Ahead for Summer
Last holiday season was when her business really began to ramp up, so as of now, she is continuing to prepare for the busy season ahead while finishing the details for her fourth coloring book. Moving forward, Summer hopes to branch out into other cities and draw their iconic buildings and venues as inspiration, including other places she’s lived such as New York and Miami or even small towns in the United States.
But for now, you can find her coloring books in local stores around St. Petersburg, Florida, and she also has a thriving Etsy shop for those interested in checking out her work. Ultimately, Summer’s story is the perfect example of how utilizing your perseverance, creativity, and flexibility in times of need can set you on an entirely new path that leads you to the entrepreneurial life of your dreams.