Anchors Aweigh Art Studio is a full functioning artist studio located in the heart of Wollongong. Run by owner Trina Collins, the business not only caters as a space for artists to experiment and learn but also facilitates a number of workshops and provides art services such as screen printing, digital design, murals and more. Anchors Aweigh also has it’s own art supplies shop set up to ensure that the artists in the area are fully equipped to create their work.
Trina has a long history as a critically acclaimed artist working under the name Poncho Army and was working at one point as an artist in residence for the Wollongong City Council before deciding to branch out and create her own business. Working in a number of traditional jobs in the past, Trina wanted to ensure that she could continue to earn a living as an artist and not have to go back to a job that may have been unfulfilling.
Several years on, the art studio has grown at it’s own pace and has captured a loyal following through word of mouth and from Trina’s passion for art. The incremental and organic approach of building the business feeds into the grass roots, authentic artist lifestyle that compliments the whole purpose of Anchors Aweigh Art Studio.
It’s been a slow burn, but it’s a sustainable slow burn. This has meant that Trina gets to do what she loves everyday and best of all make a living from it.
What did you get out of this episode? Here’s what I learnt;
1. Finding opportunity in your environment – When realising that her residence with the Wollongong City Art Gallery was coming to a close, Trina needed to think quickly about what she was going to do next. Whilst still in residency and having the opportunity to utilise a free studio space, Trina began running workshops to teach others about art which set her up to transition out of that space and move into doing her own thing.
Keeping Trina’s story in mind, are you working or living in a temporary space at the moment? While it might not be perfect for what you want to do long term, how can you maximise the location that you have now that can set you up for bigger and better things down the track? A temporary office, workshops, storage, creative space and more. Focus on what you can control rather than what you cannot.
2. Creating income from a personal need/problem – Trina needed to purchase art supplies for her workshop and at the time the materials needed were not readily available in the area. Trina was able to set up some wholesale deals with suppliers to address her own problem of obtaining the stock but also made the decision to sell these supplies to her local area as a retailer. This decision has brought in an additional revenue stream and value add to her business.
3. Word of mouth can cut through the noise – Advertising and marketing can be a dirty business. We are bombarded with hard sells on a daily basis at such a volume that we often pay little attention to them. Word of mouth as many of us know is an effective way of gaining trust through recommendation and grabbing the attention of your target audience by cutting through the noise. This is always a hard thing to kick start but as Trina said in our chat, she surrounds herself with extroverts who go out there and talk about her business in a positive light which builds trust and loyalty.
4. Start small, patience is key – One of the best things about Trina’s story is the incremental progress and growth that was made by reinvesting her earnings back into the business. Trina didn’t take out any loans and has been playing the long game to keep the overheads low and ensure that she is working within her own lane. While this might not be ideal for everyone depending on their business, there are a lot of us out there who can happily start off small and use time to our advantage by gradually building our business dollar by dollar.
Location – 104b Church Street, Wollongong, NSW 2500