If I Had Known Sooner - Lessons Learned in Business

June 04, 2023

As a Retired Production Supervisor, HS Business Instructor, Professional Artist, former business owner of A Toast to Canvas, LLC, and currently Founder/Creator of LaHairCards - there are many experiences and stories to tell. 

Other business owners and myself, will share what we have learned.  This may save you, not only time, but mistakes that could be prevented from what we learned, through trial and error.  Below - Lessons Learned... with more stories to come:

Signing the Contract Too Soon

What was I thinking - or was I?  On a whim, I, Holly Seon-Wilson, opened up an art gallery called The Village Gallery in 1994.  It lasted only 9 mos.

I was young, it was the early 90's, had the money, and just wanted to own a small art gallery. Even though I was very nervous, the owner had no hesitation in having me sign the lease....I didn't realize at the time that it was a rushed deal. My eagerness came across as confidence, but, along with having tunnel vision, that only masked the nerves, which deterred me from asking the necessary questions beforehand.

Turns out the turnover rate for businesses in that area was very high. Only businesses providing a service like the cleaners, hair salon, and a tax preparation company seemed to fit well. Still, my small gallery was filled with beautiful artwork with many artists participating on a consignment basis. They did not have to be there, only to volunteer if they wanted to.

It was realized after the fact that the demographics of people living nearby were either of low income, transients, and/or disabled elderly on fixed incomes who had no interest in art or just could not afford it. 

To make matters worse with this oversite, was when an elderly man was seen peering in the gallery window.  I desperately wanted someone to visit, so I  went outside and invited him in. Worst mistake... as he overstayed his welcome, his incohesive talking was non-stop. The smell of alcohol was obvious and very unnerving. Although he meant no harm, it was then that I realized having the only exit being the front door, was not good. With no rear exit leading out - that warm, fuzzy, and secure feeling of working there was not meant to be.

As you can tell, taking the time to do the research, join the local Chamber of Commerce, take necessary course(s), and definitely ask the right questions beforehand... an informed decision would have helped in deciding whether or not to sign the contract.