Meet Christy Clement, franchise owner of KidzArt and Club Scientific. Christy was able to combine her love and affinity of crafts with her background in preschool education when she opened KidzArt in July 2010. She also launched Club Scientific this past July. This isn’t Christy’s first foray into the business of art. In 2008, she and her mother owned a small craft business making headbands and picture frames, where she was able to get a good introduction into the “business” side of starting a business. When she’s not busy running her studios, Christy and her husband David spend time with their two children Ally and Nate. They like to spend time outdoors swimming, sailing, snow skiing and spend a lot of time at the ball field watching Ally and Nate’s baseball and softball games.
1. What is the most interesting thing about you or your business? Probably getting to work with kids. Kids are hilarious and say and do the funniest/craziest things. Since I have been doing art for so long I have been used to working predominately with girls (something that needs to change!). It was a very interesting switch this summer because my Club Scientific camps were predominately boys (again….should change!). I think on the first day of science camp we used more band-aids and ice packs than I’ve used in art camp over a span of 4 years! But, overall, I just love getting to hang out with kids in a fun environment. I love seeing them around town with their parents. My husband makes fun of me because whenever we go somewhere someone recognizes me or vice versa.
2. What makes business ownership worth it to you? The best part is making my own rules. I can make the business as big as I want or keep it small. I decide what I want to take on and what needs to wait for a better time. If I have an idea, it is up to me to implement it – I am not dependent on anyone else to make something happen. Owning my own business feels like an accomplishment (most of the time!).
3. Describe your typical day. There isn’t a typical day! For instance, this morning I had a marketing meeting at The Prep. Then I did inventory of science supplies for a few hours. Tonight I will work on a newsletter to send out to my customers. Beginning in September, I will teach art classes Monday through Thursday but I will also have to work on marketing, finances, making sure my teachers have supplies, picking curriculum, planning upcoming events…it never ends! During the summer I have more of a regular schedule….camps!!! My day-to-day jobs get pushed to the side during this time, which is why I take August to get everything up and running again.
4. Would you ever trade running your own business for a 9 to 5 job? This is a great question…I just talked about this with my husband a few days ago!! I don’t think so. On one hand, it would be nice to have a set salary! Above I said it is great to call my own shots but this also means that when an idea doesn’t work it’s on me, too. However, with two elementary age kids it is awesome to be able to set my own schedule and work around their activities. I am also a control-freak so I like things to be my way!
5. What advice would you give to someone considering business ownership or entrepreneurism? Are there certain skills or traits they need to be successful? I would say that it takes patience to start a business…and money. It’s great to see a business be successful but there always seems to be something that could make it even bigger or better…which means putting more money into the business. I think being a risk taker is important but also being able to reign yourself and your ideas in to balance the risk is important. After I had my daughter I was lucky enough to help my dad with his bookkeeping at his law firm. To do this I was exposed to Quickbooks and learned a lot about the financial part of running a business. Had I not had this experience I think I would have been completely lost when I first start KidzArt.
6. Why do you think you’re successful? What does success mean to you? I feel most successful when I hear good feedback about the programs I am offering. Not only about the content, but about the connection with the students and their parents. I love that parents trust me and my staff and know their children will be safe in our care. I love when a parent tells me something their child told them that s/he learned in one of our classes. I love getting hugs from students or seeing a kid in Yogurtology with a KidzArt shirt on. I think being trusted and respected in the community and providing a quality service that I am able to stand behind is the biggest measure of success for me.