Today we’d like to introduce you to Denise Day.
Hi Denise, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I have always been artistic from the time I was a child. As an introvert, I use art to express myself. I won awards in art from elementary through high school. I graduated from a private university with an associate degree in communication design and entered the workforce but it was a couple of years before I landed a job even remotely in my field. I started working as a graphic designer in a print shop. I worked in printing for several years, then an ad agency, and finally an in-house marketing department for a local college. I won several graphic design awards but still felt unfulfilled. Design and art are my passion. I went back to college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and marketing.
I love working on the computer but longed to get back to working hand-on so I began painting. My full-time position doesn’t allow much free time to pursue art professionally, so I began to look for other ways to create. I heard about the paint and wine industry and knew right away that was something I wanted to do. I took a part-time job at a local paint and wine franchise to gain knowledge and experience. I loved working there but I didn’t get to decide the designs I painted or my hours. I was still working full-time as a graphic designer but I knew that this hobby would turn into a passion. I bought the supplies needed and started slowly offering paint parties to friends and family.
I knew I had what it takes to start my own business, so I began to take the next steps. I partnered with a local arts center to offer public paint parties once a week. Because I didn’t have a location and couldn’t afford one my business had to be mobile and I had to take the party to the people. I began to reach out to businesses and offer in-home parties. The business was starting to slowly grow. I still worked full-time, so I wasn’t able to market and grow my business as much as I wanted but referrals and advertising in community groups helped gain attention. I also do not have the time to create all my own designs, so I joined several memberships to use licensed designs so that I have many design options and can focus on scheduling parties.
When COVID hit my business came to a halt. No more in-person parties, no more classes at the arts center. I knew I didn’t want to give up on what I had already worked so hard to build. I had to pivot. My graphic design and marketing skills allowed me to quickly start offering online videos with paint kits delivered locally. Although my fear of public speaking had minimized with teaching in-person parties, speaking in front of a camera terrified me. I have a very distinct southern accent that always got in the way of my confidence. I joined a paint party membership group that offered training on everything paint party business-related. This helped me to take the plunge and offer video paint instruction and a few lives as well as marketing tips and a community to reach out to. I missed my regular customers. Speaking to a camera just wasn’t the same as the interaction I had with my in-person parties.
Finally, I was able to slowly start offering in-person parties again. My customers began to come back and I realized just how much I missed them, not just as customers but as friends. I continue to try to grow my business, but the friendships I have made with some of my customers are priceless. Many of them comment that these classes are therapy for them. I also have some customers who want even more instruction and harder classes as their skills have grown. Teaching these classes brings so much joy to my soul. Creating makes you happy and when my customers realize they can create something, it makes them happy.
If I had more time, I would put more effort into online parties as well, but I only have so much free time. I would love to one day open my own storefront, but even if that is not possible I will continue to do what I do. One day, I would love to have the resources to go to the hospitals and bring a paint party to kids that are having to be hospitalized for treatment that are able to sit up and paint. I would love to do this for other organizations as well. I believe being able to create something could offer hope and encouragement.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have struggled with finances. The saying “you have to have money to make money” is so true. Especially when I wanted to expand my offering of not only canvas painting classes, but other materials such as ceramics and door hangers. Even with wholesale accounts, there is a minimum quantity that must be purchased and I don’t have the money to buy all the supplies I would like. That is one reason I put almost everything I make back into growing my business.
COVID, of course, caused by business to almost die. With no more in-person parties, I had to become creative in ways to still offer classes. I began to offer recorded video instruction with paint kits delivered locally. I don’t have the resources to get into offering to ship with the expenses but plan to eventually.
Working full-time also doesn’t allow me the time I need to grow. I can’t afford to quit, so I continue to do what I can and save money.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I work full-time as a graphic designer/marketing consultant for an in-house marketing department at a technical college. I have been a designer for over 20 years. I love the design and have worked in the printing industry and an ad agency. I follow many graphic designers on social media and am inspired by many people in the graphic and marketing fields.
I suppose I am most known for my creativity and my determination. I love challenges and have lofty goals. I have won several graphic design awards and am constantly trying to learn something new. My red hair and southern accent definitely set me apart and the fact that I am short. I feel like I have to work even harder to be taken seriously and seen as a professional.
I am most proud of being able to share my talent to help others. Many people come to me to help them design something, create something for them, or teach them. I have offered free design services to my church and friends. My family brags about me to others and many of them reach out to me to paint a mural, paint commissioned artwork, or design something for their business.
Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
I love that Easley is a small town but with many of the big town businesses. Many small mom-and-pop businesses are in the area and most people love to help support them and encourage others to as well. Easley is a great area that has a small-town feel but is a close drive to larger cities. I love that it is also close to the mountains and not too far from the beach.
I don’t know that there is anything I don’t like other than some roads with potholes.
- Canvas paint parties range from $25-$35 per person
- Kids paint parties range from $15-$25 per person
- Paint kits range from $20-$35
- Specialty classes such as ceramics or door hangers range from $25-$50
- Custom artwork varies
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.daydream-art.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/daydreamartparty/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daydreamartparty
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/daydream-art-easley?osq=daydream+art
- Other: https://www.behance.net/sandideniseday