I first met Donna Sharam at a local networking event and was drawn to her natural vitality for life. Earlier this year, I participated in one of Donna’s Art Workshops, and had the opportunity to spend a day with this talented, lovely lady and her husband Robert. I am very happy to provide the opportunity to share Donna’s story and why she is so successful.
The story of Donna Sharam, owner of, and Artist & Designer at ‘Donna Sharam Art Gallery’.
What is your purpose in business? There are a few purposes as to why ‘Donna Sharam Art Gallery’ exists:
- To occupy and enjoy myself full-time creating with paint and colour.
- To bring colour and joy to the lives of others.
- Of course there are also the other obvious ones such as it pays the bills, I am qualified and capable to do it and it allows me to work from my home studio which is wonderful raising my children and working at the same time.
What does your business do? There are 5 arms to Donna Sharam Art Gallery:
- Artist: Creating and producing original colourful funky artworks. Each of the artworks is unique and completely hand painted. The original artworks are various sizes – from 30cm to 2m. The works are mostly in mixed media – and the colour palette is vibrant.
- Designer: Working on commissions whereby the client decides the size, colour palette and / or the subject matter.
- Product Development: Producing a range of other products such as canvas and photographic prints, art journals and greeting cards, mugs and coaster etc – all printed with the images of the original artworks.
- Art Workshops: Art Workshops run regularly meeting the needs of those who would like a fun day out painting, creating and talking about art, life and imagination.
- Live painting Events: Providing great fun, with painting entertainment at weddings, parties, special events involving the whole crowd. A fantastic visual memento of the special day is created.
Where are you based? Donna Sharam Art Gallery is based in the Byron Bay Hinterland – specifically Clunes, Northern NSW. Australia. There has been much transformation from the start 8 years ago to now. The focus 8 years ago was very much local and I worked on being a visual artist represented by local Art Galleries. Three years ago I formed my own Gallery, Donna Sharam Art Gallery. Although physically we are still in the Byron Bay Hinterland, we now head to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane each year for the big Art Shows. Also, our online Gallery reaches the whole world. Therefore I would say our focus (although still catering for the local area) has moved to include National and Global.
Tell us a bit about you and your background? I consider myself very lucky. I had a wonderful childhood growing up with a loving family in the amazing Australian bush. I have fond memories of laughter, horse riding, swimming in the creek and dressing up in crazy clothes. I moved to Sydney to study Fashion Design at Sydney College the Arts. University was great fun and ignited my creative juices. It certainly was a great learning experience. Then to work in the fashion industry with trips to China and Hong Kong, designing fabrics and finished garments.
Another step, marriage and three children. It certainly gives you a new outlook on life. It was at this time that I added a Post Grad in teaching to my BA Degree in Design and Textiles. It seemed to me that teaching would best fit with raising kids, however my creative side started itching again, and I started designing home wares which I marketed and sold through local gift boutiques and furniture outlets. Next, the best decision I have ever made, a sea change to the Byron Bay hinterland. The area just inspires creativity and here we are 2013, 8 years on with Donna Sharam Art Gallery, a successful thriving Art Business.
How do you celebrate ‘Me’ time? LOL – ‘Me’ time …… my whole life is ‘me’ time ….. I am in the incredibly fortunate position of having a ‘job’ doing exactly the same thing as I want to do in my leisure time! Even going out for coffee, lunch, a walk on the beach, even trips to Melbourne or Sydney, are all idea gathering exercises and I just love it! Even time with my 3 beautiful boys is often spent around an artwork in progress. How great to be able to work and paint, and talk at the same time.
What is your No 1 time management tip? Do the things in your business that you love and get a personal assistant to do all the rest.
What book changed your life? I mostly read non fiction. These few books have changed and inspired my life:
- ‘The Dance of Anger’ by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, changed my personal life.
- ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ – by Robert Kiyosaki, changed my financial life.
- ‘Personal Power’ by Tony Robbins, inspired me to pursue my life passion.
What inspired you to start your own business? I didn’t decide to start my own business, I just couldn’t help doing what I was so very passionate about and it grew into a business.
What difference has being in business for yourself made in your life? It allows me to do whatever I want every day.
What have been your biggest turning points in life and how did you manage these moments so that they shaped you rather than broke you? I have had my share of big turning points, however, the focus or emphasis for me isn’t so much the specific events, but rather how I have dealt with them. I choose very much to focus on and delight in the 90% of things that are good and/or working in my life (and business) rather than to dwell on or complain about the 10% of things that aren’t.
What is your greatest piece of advice that you would give others in business? Never give up. A knock back or rejection is not a signal to give up, but rather an opportunity to change direction.
What have you found to be the most effective way to promote your business?
- The most effective way is to create happy customers. I delight in giving my customers more than they have asked or paid for. I have lots of returning customers and lots who find me through the good word of others.
- Online: Website at: www.donnasharam.com. Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/DonnaSharamArt.
- Direct/visual face to face shop front. (For me, this is taking my business mobile to potential customers.)
What has been your greatest success to date in life and business? There are so many things I could say: my fabulous relationship with my husband, my 3 beautiful sons, a very satisfying working life. But I feel the greatest success in both my life and business is the feeling or state of ‘contentment’. I absolutely love my life! It is filled with joy, laughter, colour and happiness and I love sharing my love of life with others, particularly through my art.
What one piece of advice would you share with the readers? Do what you love. Don’t put it off. Don’t plan to do it in your retirement. ‘Do it now’!
Lastly, what’s next for you and your business?
- Establish the business more solidly, on a national scale.
- Continue to create, develop, test new ‘art products’. This is moving into providing these products wholesale to others in retail business.
- Create ‘licensing’ opportunities whereby the images are purchased by manufacturing companies and are printed onto home ware products on a large scale. One such opportunity has just happened with OXFAM choosing my images for their new Christmas Cards.
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About the interviewer: Teresa Bassham is the founder of Zenworkz Authentic Marketing and educates businesses to think, create, engage and optimise their marketing effort. She coaches customers in strategies for traditional and online marketing; and implementation. If you would like free how-to-do-it-yourself marketing resources or to subscribe to free e-news about all things marketing, please visit the website:
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