This is a story about how artq came about.
Some journeys are smooth and straight and some take a lot of time - my one was the latter. Those who know me will tell you that I don't have any formal qualifications in art - and although I own quite an impressive collection of various art supplies and tools and regularly get overly excited about one of my many 'projects' I haven't yet graduated to calling myself an artist. But while I wouldn't win any creative awards there is one thing I do know and I am deeply passionate about. Or actually, there are a couple of things.
First, I care about the community I am part of. I moved back to Dunedin in 2016 (after a brief stint at the Otago Uni many moons ago) and quickly fell in love with the place and the people. Although being originally from Europe, I have never felt more 'at home' or more connected as I do here. Perhaps it was that I started my family here and put down my roots on the Otago Peninsula - either way Dunedin holds a very special place in my heart. I knew that if I ever was to start my own business from here it would be one that helps to cultivate the amazing collaborative nature of our community.
The other thing I know a bit about is creativity, design and marketing. Having started my career in advertising and design agencies in Europe I've had an opportunity to work with some incredibly talented artists and designers who inspired me on my own creative journey. Over the last 7 years I learned first-hand just how powerful great marketing and branding can be to grow business and help companies compete in today's global market. Sure, it can sometimes be viewed as as 'evil', tricking us into buying into something we don't need - but to me it can (and should be) exactly the opposite. If done well, marketing and design give us the super-powers to connect with the global community in a meaningful, positive way and allow us to tell our stories to those who care.
Now, you might wonder why I am telling you all this. Well, these two things - community and creativity were the two founding blocks of artq.co that inspired me to start on my own entrepreneurial journey.
I have been pondering about all of this for quite a long time but what triggered me to action was a visit to the Stuart Street Potters Co-operative to buy a wedding gift for a friend. As I was paying for the artwork I struck up an interesting conversation with one of the co-op members. A lovely lady, she spoke about the challenges of making a living from your passion when you are an artist.
On the way home I started thinking about that conversation and wondered whether there was a way to use my skills to help promote the work of these talented people - so they can focus on what they do best, which is creating their art.
About 15 minutes later (which is how long it takes me to drive home from the CBD - how awesome is that!), I'd already had the concept in my head. I called it artq.co - which, in a nutshell, stands for meaningful, smart art that helps build stronger, more connected communities. That is a reasonable feat - but I am totally committed to give it a go.