Paint a Dress for Success: An artist's journey
As an independent photographer and small business owner, the creative wheels never stop churning. From innovative marketing ideas to challenging myself to dive outside of my comfort zone, my journey, however isolated it may feel at times, is not embarked on alone. Where does an independent artist in Asheville find inspiration, financial backing, and most importantly, an enormous group of loyal supporters tirelessly rooting in their corner?
In harmony with the campaign, Stina hosted a “Paint a Dress for Success” fundraising event on Saturday, March 14th, at 310 Art Gallery. The events featured models adorned in blank garments created by Stina as community supporters took to paint brushes and were able to leave a personal creative mark via paint.
It was visually representative of the vital role Stina's community plays in her success as an artist. Through their strokes, guests not only pledged financially to the Mobile Boutique, but visually as well.
The event concluded with an intimate fashion show highlighting the elegance of local models and Stina’s beautiful designs. I sat down with Stina to get a personal peak behind the curtains of the Mobile Boutique and to see what success means to her.
Abi: Tell us how you first got involved in fashion and design? Any mentors that have helped shape your vision and passion? How has Asheville contributed to it?
Stina: I came to fashion from a fine arts background in sculpture and fibers, but I was always a self taught sewer and fashionista; making and designing clothing and costumes from an early age. I first modeled for a friend in a local fashion show, and was like- I should be designing, not on the runway! I have always regarded my colleagues as extremely important in my growth as a fashion designer, but my sculpture professor in college was the creative mentor that helped me define my life as an artist. James Nestor stressed the importance of living my life artistically, not just making art. Asheville helped me find my niche with making custom clothing and costumes; I created my business here because they were in demand.
Abi: What is the inspiration behind the Mobile Boutique and how is it unique?
Stina: After renting several studios in the River Arts District, I decided to go mobile. There are trucks all over the country, and traveling is second nature to me. (I have lived out of an art car while traveling through Mexico.) My mobile boutique will also include Renegade Seamstress services, sewing classes and all designer handmade clothing and accessories. Many Mobile Boutiques carry imported clothes like big box stores. I strive to offer amazing customer service and tailoring, and quality unique, local and regional products. In time, I want to represent several other local clothing and jewelry designers in the regional market.
Abi: Your Paint a Dress for Success event was fantastic, original and brought together so many artists from the community. Tell us more about how the idea materialized and how do you feel like it was a success?
Stina: This was a reinvented concept for a fundraiser; as I had on two previous occasions, costumed myself in white and had paint available for people to paint my clothes. The concept of a 1$=1minute of painting was an accessible and fun way for people to enjoy themselves and donate to my kickstarter campaign in person. The 5 transformed by paint outfits I had designed from up cycled white garments were then silently auctioned off after the runway show. I was surprised with how many artists came to paint, and enjoyed watching the collaboration process. The event was a great success- I would do it again! Perhaps a larger scale, gala style painting for an event as entertainment, (see my top reward tier for pre-buying a fashion show of this nature).
Abi: You have launched a Kickstarter fundraiser for the Mobile Boutique. How is it going and how can the community learn more about you and your venture?
Stina: Yes I launched the ARTeries by Stina Mobile Boutique Kickstarter late last month. After this weekend's success we have crested over 20%. With less then 2 weeks to go, I need a backer miracle. The best way to learn about the venture is to follow this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arteriesbystina/arteries-by-stina-mobile-boutique. Watch & Share the video about my sewing and local fashion business venture by local videographer, Marshall Hammer.
Abi: Do you have any other fundraising plans in the works?
Stina: Wow! no. A 36 day Kickstarter campaign with a promo event has been the biggest marketing push of my business career. Fundraisers are exhausting, especially for a single parent, working part time, and keeping up with current commissioned projects. Fortunately, I have had the most amazing support team to help me build success together. It has been an amazing educational experience. After the campaign closes, if unfunded, I will investigate taking out a business loan to purchase the mobile boutique vehicle.
Abi: What three things are key for entrepreneurs, especially independent artists, to be successful in Asheville? What has been your biggest learning experience?
1) Educational resources are your friends; find someone with the answers. SCORE at AB Tech, at the Enka Campus, has great free business courses.
3) Staying motivated when times are tough, listen to a great podcast like Entrepreneur On Fire Business Podcasts - Daily podcast interviews with today's most successful Entrepreneurs.
Asheville is a great launching point for creative businesses.
#1 importance: Define your niche, and get out in front of your target customers!
Abi: Where will you be six years from now?
Stina: In 6 years...I will have explored most of the US with the Mobile Boutique, and will be traveling the last summer with my daughter before she heads off to college. I will have plans underway for getting my Mobile Boutique to cross the ocean for Europe.
Have you checked out my Kickstarter? Every Buck helps buy the Fashion Truck. Thanks for your support!
Wishing you all the best, Stina Andersen
* With just 8 days left of the Kickstarter campaign, I encourage everyone to lend a hand to Stina and the Mobile Boutique!
All the best,
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