Are you an artist? Do you want to build your own art business? if yes then this episode is really for you.
Alli Koch is an artist, author, and lover of all things black and white. She is best known for her floral designs and inspiring murals, which you can find all throughout Texas and beyond! She has over eight best-selling art books, including her best sellers “How to Draw Modern Florals”, and “Bloom”. When she is not painting them she is either riding scooters in the neighborhood with friends or drinking sweet tea and doodling in bed.
When I first started painting cameras and gloves, I thought to myself, “OK, how do I prove to myself, my family, and everyone else?” that I am like a true business, and I knew that I couldn’t sustain what I was doing with just making little cards and canvases like that because you would have to sell so many or do wholesale or something like that. I just didn’t know that world back then; that was seven years ago when I started.
And in this Podcast episode, we asked her everything about how she created her own six figure art business.
So before you start listening to this podcast episode, let me share with you some of the insights of the episode. So keep on reading to know what you will learn from this podcast episode.
In conversation with Alli Koch
Before, like at the beginning of the story you mentioned, you just started art as a hobby. What were you doing before that? Were you anywhere interested in the arts, like jewelry or drawing? Were you the artsy kid before that?
Oh no.. So I graduated from a college in Texas with a marketing degree. I could not find any job whatsoever. It was kind of like the Hunger Games when I graduated like all my classmates were going out for the same jobs, and I, at the time, just didn’t have enough experience within the marketing field, so I always kind of took the “I’m going to be a nanny” route or something. I turned to a mom-and-pop shop that I’ve grown up with, and I helped them, so it wasn’t like I never worked in the corporate world ever, which is really weird to think about, but because I didn’t have that corporate world experience.
It was hard for me to get a corporate job at the time. I was really defeated. I was like, “Oh my gosh.” What’s wrong with me? If people would just give me a chance, I know I’m so good at it; they have no idea what they’re missing, and
I was just not looking back like I now know why I didn’t get those jobs because I wasn’t made to.
So when you’re talking about the black and white artwork, let’s also talk about how you found your style, which has become quite iconic for who you are today. Was this something you were familiar with, or were you very different? How was it?
Yeah, so that also evolved. I did start off with a lot of, like, pink and glitter and gold and all this stuff, and that’s what was really trendy at the time. When I first graduated from college, I was looking at Hobby Lobby and all these signs and thought, “Oh, I can make that,” so that’s what I did, and that was really popular at the time, but only for the first couple of years after college. I was by myself a lot. My friends all had 9–5 jobs, but I didn’t, so it was just me and my cat, and I really got to know who I was; my wardrobe changed, but I didn’t, because I think like that.
when you’re around other people. You definitely tend to attract what they’re wearing or what they’re doing and things like that, and so when I wasn’t and it was just me, I started to really find myself in what I personally liked, and I found my style. Looking around, I asked myself, “What am I personally buying?” What am I styling my house as? “What am I comfortable in?” It was really just neutral black and white.
I’m really drawn to textures and things like that, so I would do all of those canvases for other clients who were. pink and glitter and I’d feel drained afterward like I just loved it and it was exactly what they were looking for. But for me, I was like, “Oh, this isn’t that great,” or “I stopped painting on canvases because I hated painting on canvases, and so I slowly just quit.”
Over time, I decided, “OK, I’m not going to paint on canvas anymore; I’m only going to do paper or wood panels,” and I gradually added that to my business until I was finally making my own art. It was only black and white stuff, so I would have someone make that stuff for me and post it on social media. and people were drawn to it. So everything, in every aspect, that I am doing and have been doing stems from creating it for myself first.
When it comes to business, I think that’s something that you have a lot to share about because you grew from knowing nothing, and from that, you’ve built this business and become who you are. You’ve also become widely popular on the internet. Let’s talk about that side of your work.
I think a lot of people realize that. when you have an art business. It’s not just painting every day; there are multiple days where I do not paint a single thing, like, for example, today, when I was on my computer all day long doing invoices, emails, and follow-up meetings. Things like that So it really is more than probably 50% of the work, which is just the business side of it. Yes, designs for similar proposals exist. But you have to design and then send proposals and emails back and forth with our visions. There are many times when I feel inspired to be creative. It just feels like what it says it is. It’s work. But again, I really enjoy it; I love Excel sheets and making to-do lists and sending and answering emails, and things like that. But yeah, I have so many artists like that. “Oh, I hate the business side,” artist friends who are like, “I want my business to grow by,” are like,
“Okay, if you want your business to grow, You’ve got to grow the business, meaning you’ve got to grow the actual business side of things. Um, and you can’t if you absolutely despise it, obviously.
Other means of hiring an agent or a manager—they’re going to take a cut of things—meaning you can only focus on the creative side. So that’s also an option, but I truly do think that I’m able to grow my business faster by doing it myself.