Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Claire Tsuruga, Owner of 2nd Seagull, located in Greenbrae, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am an artist specializing in cute layered illustrations and paper-cut art. I love listening to my clients' stories and bringing their ideas to life. This includes things like cards, family portraits, house portraits, and even custom commissions. My customers are family-oriented gift-givers looking for something special to give to their loved ones.

Tell us about yourself

I grew up in the small town of Brittany, France, and now live in sunny California with my husband, two young children, and a bunny. Since I was little, I have always loved to draw and craft. I have fond memories of pressing flowers with my grandmother for keepsakes, making noodle-framed drawings for Mother's Day, and doodling on any surface I could get my hands on. Creating and gifting have always made me happy.

In college, I studied computer graphics and 3D animation, dreaming of seeing my art in motion. After eight years as a stay-at-home mom, my passion for crafting with my hand came back. I started creating artwork for my kids, their teachers, my friends and their children. Seeing my artwork spread joy among them motivated me to start this business.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My greatest accomplishment is getting the courage to actually create a business doing something I love. In such a short time since launching, I was commissioned to work on a children's picture book, a dream I never thought would happen that fast!

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Pricing. It is hard to shift my mentality from hobby to business and to value my art and time properly.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Surround yourself with people that can help you and keep you accountable.
  2. "Done" is better than "Perfect" (a mantra I need to remind myself of very, very often).
  3. You will never have everything figured out, so don't wait to start or move forward!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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