In Nora's own Words:
Questions and answers by
Nora McCloskey from Blooming Artist Studio.
(Return to Introduction 'It Starts with Family' )
1. What inspired you to open your own art studio? My youngest daughter was my inspiration. When I became pregnant I knew I didn’t want to return to work full time as was necessary with my older two children. I wanted to stay home as much as I could to cherish my last baby’s every move. I didn’t know if it could work financially, but I was determined to try. So, when she was 6 months old, I planted the seeds of my studio in a small art space in my basement. I taught neighborhood kids drawing, painting, and about famous artists. These famous artists inspire me to teach.
2. What background did you need to make your business work? My background is in Elementary Education. I have a Bachelor’s degree from Kutztown University in Elementary Education with a concentration in Art. When I began the studio, I already had 16 years of experience and had initiated an art program at St. Martin of Tours. I now have 27 years of teaching experience. While the teaching part is very natural to me, the business, record keeping, etc. is Not.
3. What were the greatest obstacles you needed to overcome to make this business a success? Staying organized and focused is the greatest obstacle for me. It’s essential to teaching, but crucial for making a business succeed. Sometimes I blame it on being an artist, a dreamer. It’s true to a degree that dreams are what got me this far. But, dreams don’t return phone calls or emails and schedule classes, birthday parties, or ladies’ nights. Sisters do. Well, other businesses have secretaries I suppose, but I have my sister, Eileen. She keeps it altogether for me, so I can focus on teaching. I jokingly call us “The Dynamic Duo”.
4. Was there a point when you thought this venture wouldn’t work? What did you do to combat that fear? Yes, there were definitely times when I thought, “This won’t work and I’m crazy for thinking it will last forever just because I want it to”. The fear seeps in when enrollment drops or programs don’t fill. But then, I work things out with my sister, and we look at some other options for filling the gaps. It’s not an option to fail. I love this place too much and will do everything in my power to not only keep it alive, but nurture it so that it continues to grow and thrive.
5. Who were your greatest support systems? My children, my parents, my sisters, my brother, my brother-in-law, my friends, my Uncle Vin, and Aunt Cathy. I am so blessed to have so many people who love me and are still cheering for me every day.
6. Is there one thing you would have done differently that may have helped with the start up? Not necessarily. I started cautiously on a shoestring budget: buying only what I needed and using much of what I already had to create a cozy homemade studio. The supplies were added little by little so I was able to keep expenses under control.
7. I always ask people their favorite book. Would you recommend a book for my website? Me and Emma by Elizabeth Flock