Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in arts but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Laurie Canfield, Owner of Sunshine Sunflower Studio, located in Phoenix, AZ, USA.

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

Sunshine Sunflower Studio offers a variety of art and clay classes for all ages, birthday parties and private events, and a gift shop featuring goodies by local artists and makers at our brick-and-mortar location in the Melrose district, as well as mobile workshops throughout the Valley. We are also working artists who create our own handmade pottery, which we sell at local retail locations, pop-up markets, and online. Our customers are usually people who are interested in experimenting with a new art medium and would like an opportunity to "get their hands dirty" and try out a new hobby.

Tell us about yourself

I have always loved art since I was a child, and after graduating with an art degree, I wanted to share that love with others, so I became an art teacher. After working in public schools and community arts for 14 years, I finally opened Sunshine Sunflower Studio with my husband, Wayne, in 2020. Helping people of all ages explore their creativity and create what is in their imaginations excites me about teaching art every day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

None of my educational or professional experience is in business, so I would say teaching myself how to run a business and having it be successful. It's like putting together a puzzle without the box showing what the end result is supposed to be, but it's exciting to me. Learning how to run the business end of things keeps me engaged in figuring out how to constantly improve to meet the goals I set for the studio.

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

The biggest struggle is wearing every hat at the studio, from creative director to custodian, and trying to balance those jobs with taking care of my family and home. My goal for 2023 is to learn to delegate responsibilities to others so that I can run the business more effectively and efficiently.

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

  1. Just do it. There will never be a perfect time, and you will never feel ready. Do your due diligence, put together your business plan, and then go for it.
  2. Be humble enough to be willing to learn, persistent enough to work hard, and brave enough to be willing to fail.
  3. Create multiple income streams, so you're not dependent on one single source of income for your business.

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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