Deborah Hickey, Deb Hickey Photography and Collage, Providence, RI: 2023 Rising Star Nominee
“The tools that CWE has given me helped make it easier for me to shape my business from an idea and to realize it’s possible growth through connection and collaboration -Deborah Hickey
What inspired Deborah’s Business?
Deborah first began her pet portraiture business during the pandemic. Friends would send her photos of their pets and she would find portraits from the early 1900s of people or families that would match their cat’s or dog's personality.
She found it a wonderful way to help with mental health by connecting with people during the lockdown and creating unique portraits of their pets dressed in hats and dresses. Deborah loved seeing the smiles it brought to pet owners’ faces and realized she wanted to expand her business to reach more people and support herself as an artist.
What she enjoys most about her pet portrait business is the connection she makes with people. She loves working collaboratively with clients by taking their everyday photos and combining that with the pet’s personality to create one-of-a-kind magical portraits that they will have for many years.
Deborah’s creations have grown in success due to word-of-mouth with friends and family. The popularity of her art significantly increased through her attendance at pop-up art festivals and social media exposure resulting in her being able to expand her business even more.
How Has CWE Helped Her in Her Journey?
As a new business, Deborah relied on CWE for help developing her business plan. The ten-week Business Planning Program Course strengthened her vision and gave her the tools she needed to reach her goals. Guest instructors were instrumental in aiding Deborah with social media, marketing, and financial planning. Additionally, Live Plan made it easier for her to manage income and expenses to help with forecasting.
All the tools provided by CWE have helped Deborah grow and shape her business and she anticipates an increase in clients and revenue as a result. As a visual artist, it is important for Deborah to be successful in her work and to support herself financially. CWE has given her the confidence to pursue her big dream of being a working artist by helping organize her business and make it more profitable.
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