Tomorrow October 18th marks the 2 year anniversary of the grand re-opening of the Ian Russell Gallery in its new location, and the birth of R.L. Charpentier Photography.
2 years and I’m still here! Wow! 🙂
I’m pretty amazed that in this economy I haven’t completely imploded yet. Sure, I’m close to implosion, but the nails are dug in and I’ve been busting butt to stay in business. And the past few months tell me that I may just have that opportunity!
How it all started
Arriving in Prescott March of 2007 I learned quickly that not everyone appreciated an industrious person. With each resume rejection it became clear to me that I was going to have a tough go of making a living in my new “home town.” I loved the excuses too. Over qualified, you won’t stay in this town long, you used to make too much money (how do you know what I made), you’ll get bored here……. On and on. It made me think that hiring managers and HR folks in the area appreciated mediocrity above skill. Something right out of Atlas Shrugged!
So, I became concerned about my prospects of remaining in Prescott long term. Finally I found a “hold over” job (no resume required) in order to give myself some time and figure out my next move.
The summer of 08′ Sadira introduced me to Ian, and Ian liked my photography enough to hang it in his old gallery. Pretty cool. Never showed my work in a gallery before!
In talking with Ian that summer I mentioned that an old hobby of mine was print reproduction. Nothing fancy, but I had been making prints back in New England, and color matching was definitely of interest to me. Well, not long after that conversation Ian received some Giclee’s from his old printer that just didn’t match. And he got in touch with me to tell me that I should do print reproduction in this town. Okay, truth be told there was some cursing during the conversation because he received unusable reproductions for a show. Not happy.
After months of debate I did make the decision to give the business a whirl. Being a former economist I knew (and still know) what we were in for economically. Starting a business now isn’t the brightest idea, but I went forward with it anyhow………
And here I am today!
2 Years In And Not Completely Destitute
Over the course of growing the business in the past 2 years I’ve been living off of my savings. From the first month forward the business has mostly paid for itself. I did have the random month here and there where extra canvas, inks, and rent had to come out of my savings as well. Never a fun feeling. But all in all, the business covered itself.
The recent new change has been the growth in my print clientele. That growth has been a growing signal in my mind…..I think I’m going to make it. If you’ve ever been a small business owner then you understand. If you haven’t, it’s hard to explain. But I see the corner I’m turning, and it’s exciting!
When your business actually starts paying you it’s something! Growing a business for two years in a down economy, hearing from every person passing through the door that times are tough, getting tougher, etc, can get you down. It can even make you give up! But I think in my case I’ve hung in long enough, put forward the work and effort, and I’m seeing the seeds I’ve sewn for 2 years starting to pop through the dirt!
To all of my clients who’ve been there for the whole growth process, Thank you! To all of my new clients who have recently joined up with me, Thank you! You guys make my business, and without you I’d have nothing to print. 🙂 That would be dull, wouldn’t it? And to the other businesses here in town (you know who you are), and to my vendors who’ve helped make this all work…..Thank you!
So, what am I going to do on October 18th?
Nothing. I’m staying home. My shoulder locked up yesterday and I’m hurting pretty bad. So, I’m going to do laundry, cancel my workout, lie on the couch and catch up with myself!
What will I do on Tuesday?
Back to work! Getting into my 3rd year of running R.L. Charpentier Photography & Giclee Reproductions. I’m looking forward to another year of growth, printing for amazing painters and photographers, and meeting more clients every day!
To all my clients and supporters out there, I can’t say it enough times. Thank you!
Gosh, I actually teared up writing this! 2 years went by so fast. I hope to write about my 5th, 10th, and 25th anniversaries someday as well! Thanks again everyone!