The following interviews were conducted by SMU, Meadows student Roberto Hernandez
Interview with Alan Davila
Alan Davila is an artisan in Mexico who works with wood. He makes small figures,
furniture and even houses. He’s been doing it for over a decade and it’s been good for him. I wanted to know if he had a business plan at first. He said he did not have a plan for any of this, it was a passion that he had since little, making toys and saint figures for Christmas for his parents, etc. As his skills grew, people started knowing about his works and then they started to ask him to do things for them. “Business came out of nowhere, and it was great because it came in bunches,” he described. Following that, I asked if a business plan would have been a good idea for him. “It never hurts to plan something, or at least have an idea of how something will play out.” He says maybe it would have made his profits greater if he had a legit plan and a guide to lead his business in a good direction right away. However, he says he was able to become successful because of his work. “People liked my work and were willing to pay me so I could make them whatever they want,” and that made things work out even though he did not have a business plan. The last thing I wanted to ask is what advice he would give developing arts entrepreneurs. “Perfect your craft, do what you love, and work hard,” he said. The main thing he said was to give it your best at whatever you’re doing. If you’re planning to make a living out this, it should be something you’re excited about, so that your product can reflect it and people can be happy. The best thing about his job is waking up and letting his imagination go free and making money from it.
Interview with John Pamora
John Pamora is a Dallas-based artist who creates art from errors of technology. His art captures glitches, errors and other imperfections of machines and adds his “touch to them.” I interviewed him at UTD and asked him what was his motivation; did he have a business plan? He told me he did have a plan. He started with a printer and messed around with it to see what results he got. People liked the prints he produced and thought the concept of finding “errors” in machines, who were made to be perfect, quite interesting. He figured he was able to sell his prints of his artwork. He continued perfecting his execution and keeping his fans interested by tweaking other machines and combining those prints with other “imperfections” that were inspired by watching old movies and video games. More importantly, he always tries to be unique and adapt as technology evolves. Next, I asked if a business plan was even necessary. He said it was not necessarily crucial to be successful, but it would be nice to have a structure of what you’re going to do and how, and what you can expect. Also, he said a plan has to be open to new things, you can’t predict everything, you have to be creative and take risks in the industry. Lastly, I wanted to know what were 3 keys pieces of advice he would recommend to a developing arts entrepreneur. He said to “never give up”, “work, work, work, work, work hard” and, again, “don’t give up.” “When you start, you’re not good at it first,” he said, “but your taste is still good, just work hard until you’re happy enough with your work and it satisfies your taste. However, it doesn’t stop there, you have to analyze your work and push it to new boundaries, you’re never done working.”
Mark Kieu Interview
Mark Kieu started a clothing line, 3 Kings, to create comfortable clothes that also looked good. He’s always been into fashion and likes to be trendy. My first question to him was to know if he had made a business plan. He said he did: he thought about what his clothes would look like, what material they would be, and more importantly, who is the targeted market. The process took about a year so he can get everything thought out. “It was hard getting everything together and thinking of all the aspects of the business,” he explained that it was just something way over his head, being a rookie in the industry. Next I asked if he thinks all that stress of making a business plan is worth it. “It gave me a solid idea on how to approach it,” he said. Business plans are there so you can visualize your product and think of everything that can go right or wrong. It was really important for him to research and make something out of that data. Lastly, I asked for what three pieces of advice does he have for developing arts entrepreneurs. “Don’t get discouraged easily, be true to yourself and what you’re making and work hard until you get it right.” He says that getting people to think your product is worth buying is hard, especially in the clothing industry. “The main thing,” he said, “is knowing who you’re designing for. You just make sure all your designs reflect what they like.” He thinks working hard towards fulfilling the customer’s need and never giving up in perusing their approval is key. Also, he said to never sell yourself out, be different, and try hard to stand out from the rest of the market, “add your touch.”