Daniela Aguin Interviews Creative Entrepreneurs

The following interviews were conducted by Daniela Aguin. The goal was to identify if creative entrepreneurs began with a business plan and if they think plans are necessary.

Mousumi Tanha

What was the name of your company?

-“It was Ruptan…which is a combination of my sister’s first name and my last name. It was located in North Dakota”.

Did you have a business plan when you started your business?

-“I did not have a business plan…not really…it was a clothing business…I got the idea at a party when people were talking about clothes and jewelry and it came to my mind, “why don’t I do something like that?” We don’t have any Pakistani clothes here and people were very interested because there were no stores at all there that sold something like that”.

Do you think business plans are important?

-“Of course I think business plans are important. I realised it takes a lot to start a business. You have to think about your strategy, your price range… however, I did make one later on but the first couple of months I was kind of floating around and had no idea what I was doing or getting myself into. It was very difficult to do without a business plan”.

How did you generate revenue?

-“So what I was doing was…I would go to websites and order in bulk and they would give me a discount and then I had to come up with the business plan because I had to think of pricing…profit was GOOD!…I stopped doing it because it took a lot of time…they sent me samples, videos and I had to go through every single piece. It was more than a full-time job and I have a family as well. If I had a partner then maybe it would have been easier. Maybe in the future, I will do it for fun. I was also working from home so maybe I will open up a store next time. Doing it from home is a hassle….a lot of your house becomes a store and it does not become fun for your family.

What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

“Do not waste your money, save it….never take out the profit, keep rolling and let it grow…make sure you know who you are going to launch to…if you are a shopaholic, this works really well because you will get tired of shopping and end up not liking it anymore and will save money.”

Kathy Chamberlain

Did you have a business plan when you started your company? 

-“Actually, yes. My father made me do it. When I was a senior in High School I took a random business law class because I was, at one point, thinking about becoming a lawyer so that class helped me with the structure of the business plan”

“Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

-“ Yes I do think that business plans are important but I think what was more important was the road map that would help me pay my bills. I think what’s more important is your vision and your mission. Be driven!”

How do you generate revenue?

-“For my nonprofit, we have generous donors. In fact, we a have a generous supporter who gives us $10,000 and helps us pay for leotards, shoes…”.

What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

-“ Get out there and network as much as you can and be very aware of the people around you…I was once told by the man who helped me with my non-profit to “go with the flow and flow with the dough”…so not only do you have to establish your business where people are but where people have the money to support it. I would also suggest to network in different communities…I would also say watch what people do not what they say”

Can you tell me a bit about your company?

-“I have two…I have my personal business (Chamberlain School of Ballet) that I established in September 1977 way before you were even born and then established and founded a non-profit organisation called Chamberlain Performing Arts…the non-profit is basically governed by a board of directors and I serve as a board member and  artistic director/founder.”

Susan Epstein

What is the name of your company? 

-“Dance Pathways”

Did you have a business plan when you started your business?

-“I had a plan but I would not call it a business plan. It was not a business to generate profit but to re-position myself in the dance world”.

Do you think business plans are necessary for entrepreneurship?

-“Yes, I think plans are necessary but some business plans can be too traditional and structured…I believe that someone should have goals, strategies, tactics, but I do not believe in “mission statements” but a clear vision that you can articulate and a five year budget because it takes longer than three years to get established. After two years you can always revise after progress has been made. I look at the budget as the road map to the tactics.”.

How do you generate revenue?

-“It’s not a business meant to generate revenue but I generate revenue by speaking like I’m doing here at SMU and creating a program at Gibney Dance. I’m in my second year of this plan but I do not want to be on the road always so I chose to make a program at Gibney Dance.”

What three pieces of advice can you offer developing arts entrepreneurs?

-“Be clear in what you want to achieve…do your research and know what and who your competition is…market that what makes you unique”.

What has been the most difficult about having a company?

-“Keeping up with technology…staying relevant…staying confident about the purpose. Nobody else is doing what I’m doing..I see that I am unique but sometimes I have to convince people”.

What has been the best thing about owning a company?

-“Talking to young artists…it’s refreshing to talk to emerging artists and seeing them has been motivating and awesome!”.

Daniella Aguin is a dance major and arts entrepreneurship minor at Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of the Arts.

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