In December 2019, the ThriveNorth program successfully completed its five-year mandate. Managed by Futurpreneur Canada, the program helped young entrepreneurs in Northern B.C. launch and grow their businesses by connecting them with resources, financing and mentorship.
Addicted to making big, life-changing decisions, Tara Dias did just that when she took the leap into entrepreneurship to start her business, Happy Little Clouds Art Studio based in Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
Tara always had a dream to combine her love for art with her background in early childhood education—she felt that a business like Happy Little Clouds would bring art to the educational table in a different way. “I wanted to allow people to explore their creative side, but also help children develop motor skills through art,” Tara explained. By using colours, composition, shapes and textures in a fun, safe, non-judgmental environment, Tara creates a space that inspires and encourages creativity.
Although Tara was more than ready when she launched her business, that doesn’t mean she didn’t face road bumps along the way. Many aspiring entrepreneurs have an idea but they just don’t know how to make it a reality. Finding an affordable space to rent in Prince Rupert, learning to use accounting software, and figuring out a way to get noticed on a tight budget, were all things that Tara had to overcome to get Happy Little Clouds off the ground.
On top of the initial hurdles, determining what the people of Prince Rupert were looking for, and when, was critical in helping Tara make sure that she could properly manage her inventory, which would be key to balancing her budget and managing debt. “I try to avoid building up my inventory on credit and tend to only complete cash-based transactions,” Tara shared.
Even after learning to navigate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Prince Rupert, there was still a risk that Tara had to take when she decided to start this business in Northern British Columbia. “It was difficult to determine if a venture such as this would work in a small town,” Tara explained. “The north is more affordable in comparison to bigger cities, but providing services to a niche market in a small community is a unique challenge.”
Despite the risk that Tara took to pursue her passions in Prince Rupert, she explained that the resources in her community like the Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures, ThriveNorth and Hecate Strait all provided her with a supportive environment that helped her as a budding entrepreneur.
Becoming an can be intimidating, but with the right community, resources, and support, you’ll be sure to fly. Tara wanted to leave aspiring entrepreneurs with two pieces of advice:
1) Trust your gut and go with the flow.
2) Don’t be afraid to reevaluate your vision and try new things to increase business.
To learn more about Happy Little Clouds Art Studio, click here.
Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Creation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada
Photo Credit: Mike Amback, www.fromthetreehouse.ca