Mary Lou Stropoli

Entrepreneurship Center Logo | NicheBoards also available on Amazon Handmade

Mary Lou StropoliI launched That Art Girl in 2017 as a way to boost creative expression for everyone. I’ve found my typical customer is either a stuck creative and/or a parent to a creative child. I developed a line of fun and hip designs (called NicheBoards) that are line drawings printed onto sturdy wooden boards.  They can be painted and/or colored anyway you like to create your own art piece, then hung or stood on a shelf to be displayed with pride. It’s the next generation coloring page and a way to bring the paint and sip party home. Creativity is not only a great way to spend our time, it’s also a fantastic way to keep minds active and elastic.

What drives you to be a business owner?

I’m an independent spirit with a varied skill set. Not only do I have experience in the business world, I’m also a naturally gifted artist and a certified art teacher. I’ve always sought to merge all parts together to be my own boss. The thrill of bringing an innovative product line into the world that encourages creativity in all that I encounter is about the best way I can imagine to live my life.

How has the Entrepreneurship Center at WCC helped with your business goals?

The Staff at EC at WCC (Kristin, Erin and Claire) was welcoming and encouraging from my first visit to their office. Not only was I encouraged to participate in the Business of Being an Artist Series, they went out of their way to contact me directly if an event came up in my chosen field. The seminars that I attended were informative and well-presented. I look forward to part 2 of the Series.

If you could offer one piece of advice for fellow entrepreneurs or prospective entrepreneurs, what would it be?

If I could offer any advice to fellow or perspective entrepreneurs I would confirm something you probably heard a million times before: plan on working far more hours to get your business working than you ever imagined. Also plan on wearing every possible hat imaginable. In my case, not only am I Head Designer, I’ve also served as Copywriter, Webmaster, Social Media Coordinator, Head Shipping Clerk, Chief Sales Manager, etc. The list goes on and on. Half the time I had no idea how to tackle another aspect of the business while another need presented itself. When that happened, I took a deep breath, stepped back from the crisis aspect of it all, and slowly taught myself how to do it. Even if I had to fake it. The truth, despite the stress, responsibility and frequent eye rolls you’ll receive from family who don’t understand what you’re doing, you won’t want to be anywhere else. Your business is yours alone to be tended and developed like only you can do. It’s your vision; stick with it, through all of the inevitable obstacles that will come your way.