Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in fine arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Carole Watanabe, Founder of Carole Watanabe at Chez la Vie Gallery, located in Sebastopol, CA, USA.

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

For the last 50 years, I have made my living making and selling my art, running my own galleries both in the United States and in France. I have also taught art at my own art school in France and founded Art Heaven, a bi-weekly art school in California.

Tell us about yourself

Creating beauty of any sort and in various media is what motivates me to paint, sculpt, do massive mosaic murals, and make leaded glass windows.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

To have always thrived doing what I love. Art sales have allowed me to create galleries, art schools, and artist communities here and abroad.

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

Having the ability to say NO to art commissions that are not fun. Also having to do the accounting & record keeping! Luckily I have always had good assistants to help me with those jobs.

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

  1. Do something you are passionate about, and don't let the joy of doing your business slip away.
  2. Grow a close-knit support system to encourage you and help with networking.
  3. Determination and persistence are what wins in the end. If it doesn't work, try it another way till you succeed.

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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