Updated: Apr 12
Meet this month’s Featured Artist, Arielle Valdez, creator of Arielle Custom Designs. Arielle is a growing artist based out of Orange County, California. In this exclusive interview she outlines the origins of her company and offers advice to aspiring business owners.
Why did you decide to start your own company?
Previous jobs have made it clear what I do and do not like in a workplace. I've always told myself that if I ever had a business of my own I would do things differently. I like the idea of having my own company, having control over the designs, products, etc.
“Not to mention having an art business is something I’ve dreamed of having for years…”
I struggled with knowing how or where to start. When I first started my company, I was aimed on building my portfolio as thoughts of attending art school bounced through my head. Now, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to start the business i’ve always wanted.
"One can speak poetry by just arranging colors well" - Vincent Van Gogh
Who are some of your inspirations?
Some of my favorite artists are Vincent Van Gogh and Dimitra Milan. Even though their art styles are very different they both give me a dreamy, majestic feel that I can’t help but feel entranced by. Van Gogh's art, especially his paintings, has inspired, and continues to inspire me since I was very young.
I’ve been following Dimirta Milan’s art journey for several years now. She is especially inspiring and relatable because we are only a few years apart in age. To see a woman the same age as myself pursue the passion that she loves and to do so everyday, making a living from it, is especially encouraging.
What does the future of your company look like? What are your goals?
It’s been a long time dream of mine to own my own art studio where my artwork can be designed and created. It’s something that I plan to achieve one day. I would also like to transition to having art prints become the primary income source for my business. I enjoy challenging myself with different art mediums so ideally I would like for my prints to be varied from gouache and oil to digital art.
Tips for aspiring business owners?
One of my biggest pieces of advice is to simply start your business. Go out and do it. I was incredibly scared in the beginning. I was working full time, exhausted at the end of every day. I was afraid that no one would like my art or that it would be a waste of time and money. Anxiety was a common feeling when I would think about my business.
Set realistic goals and work towards them every single day, even if its just for a few minutes. Have a hardworking mindset and don’t forget why you’ve started your business. Avoid giving attention to thoughts of failure or reasons why things might not work out. Don’t give yourself the option to fail & surround yourself with people who encourage you. Get clear on why it is you want to start your business, whether it be passion or the pursuit of a work schedule that you have more control over.
You may feel like there's so much you still have to do or maybe that you don’t even know what you should be doing. There are plenty of things you will learn along your journey that you’ll wish you would have known earlier but like I said before, the most important step is to actually take the initiative and start. I myself am still learning so much each day. Growth is such a wonderful part of the process.
But the most important piece of advice that I can give to aspiring business owners is
"Do not compare you and your business to others..."
Thats a mistake I often made and each time it would only result in me feeling less than I am, discouraged. While we can all learn a lot from each other, comparing others’ success to your own is never a good idea. We are all on different timelines. We all work hard and everyone’s success will look different. Remember that one persons success is not your failure.
What does a typical day look like?
Since I no longer work full time I have the ability to put all of my focus into my business. Each day consists of painting, marketing, packing orders, or design research. Alternating every few hours between painting and marketing helps me stay creative and i’m able to return to projects with fresh eyes. During the day I also take AP College Art Course and French lessons online.
When designing a new sticker sheet, I like to make a mood board using photos from pinterest or instagram. Mood boards help me to establish a color palette and strong theme. Sticker sheets can take anywhere from a few days to a week to complete.
Talk to me about TikTok Marketing:
There are many things to say about TikTok. Honestly, I absolutely love TikTok. It’s become an easy way for me to market my business and share them to a large audience. The TikTok algorithm, however, is always changing and can be difficult to figure out. I’ve learned that with TikTok, timing your posts is everything.
One tip I can offer is to always be engaging with your audience. Reply to comments, add hashtags, keep up with popular sounds, etc. Following other small businesses and encouraging them through likes and comments is an awesome way to show support. Keep in mind that followers aren’t everything & learn to pat yourself on the back!
Shop Arielle's Designs on her Etsy: @ArielleCustomDesigns
Follow her on Instagram: @ArielleCustomDesigns
Follow her on TikTok: @ArielleCustomDesigns