I sat down with artist and illustrator Iza Bułeczka. Who has worked for magazines like Cosmopolitan and Design Milk. To learn more about her inspiring path read the interview now on the blog.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
I’m a Polish artist and illustrator living in Berlin. After trying out different styles and directions in my career I found my very favourite subject to draw — WOMEN! It is very much connected to the fact that I am a woman trying to identify myself in the world: in society, art, and business. Since it’s hard out there, I use my art to remind us all that women are strong, wise, and amazing. At this moment, my days are dedicated to three main aspects of my career:
Taking commissions for editorial illustration for magazines and blogs, as well as private sales
Selling prints in my online shop and design markets all over Europe (e.g. Design junction in London, FindersKeepers in Copenhagen, Targi Rzeczy Ładnych in Warsaw)
Teaching painting and illustration by giving workshops
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
I picked up a pencil as a kid and haven’t let it go since. My intention is to make art useful and present in the lives of ordinary people. At first, I tried fashion design and costume, then switched to graphic design (which led me to Berlin). After giving, it some thought I realized all I’ve ever wanted was to draw and make up characters and stories. How surprised I was to discover that it’s actually possible to make this my job. This is how I became an illustrator 3 years ago.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
Yes, it is. As mentioned before, I started my creative journey by exploring different creative fields – fashion, graphic design, and briefly wood design. I’d say my favourite one, before discovering illustration, was designing and making costumes for stop-motion animation puppets.
WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
I’d say- focus on why you want to do this. You don’t need a beautiful logo, killer website template or whatnot. Stop being a perfectionist! Instead, pay attention to what you can do best and do it! And follow Marie Forleo 🙂
MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW DID YOU DEALT WITH IT:
I started my business having no business background. Of course, you can find many free and paid resources online, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The “starving artist” myth is no help at all. So I started simply focusing on single tasks. Then I started experimenting to check what works for my business and what I enjoyed. Then again, I niched down to be better at those things without spreading too thin. There were many hard moments- negotiations, pricing, complains. I learned that EVERYONE makes mistakes and I have to know how to fix them in the first place and try not to repeat the same ones over again.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
I am very proud that I was selected to present my brand in numerous design markets all over Europe. My works were highlighted by titles like Cosmopolitan and Design Milk, that proves I offer a great quality product. What melts my heart, however, are messages from the clients. People write to me that my illustrations are symbols of strength and pride for them. It gives my work so much more meaning and is the reason behind what I do.
HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
I focus on the most important thing at the moment and try not to have too much on my plate. I plan ahead time for projects as well as quality time with my friends and family. I love my work, I can’t live without drawing, but balance is essential for me, and I keep on working on my habits. It’s important to listen to your body as well and accept things that are changing. Good quality sleep, walks, alone time or…doing absolutely nothing may look like wasting time, but are essential for my well-being and readiness to kick ass 😉
I AM INSPIRED BY:
By so many things and people! I do have my business gurus (Marie Forleo, Hilary Rushford, Sunny Lenarduzzi, Ola Budzyńska, Sorelle Amore). But I’m also inspired by stories, music, pictures on Instagram, walks, everyday life. As an artist and entrepreneur, I have quite a lot of “inspiration files” in my mind.
WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
As an ex-pat, being an adult and finding my artistic voice and business model has not been easy and have actually made me question my identity and capability. For a very long time, I did not feel empowered, not until I met a group of strong women in Berlin that helped me find my purpose by encouraging me to express my feelings through art. To give myself some support I started drawing what I have called “Patrons” – strong, proud women I aspire to become. As it turned out, people loved the idea and found my illustrations an inspiration for themselves. This is the story about how I became best known for my geometric pictures of women.
HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
I was born ready 🙂
DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?
I did write it, but probably because of the lack of experience it wasn’t very helpful. I do it differently today.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMEN BUSINESS OWNER?
It seems to me those leadership roles are a challenge for everyone, regardless of gender. If we are talking about women, it is worth mentioning the repentant stereotypes (greedy, bossy, weak, humorous) which are harmful and untrue. I have met with people who didn’t take me seriously, who diminished my abilities and didn’t see value in my work. Now I know that I don’t want to work with them and I look for different clients, in different places. On a positive note, women are very motivated and resourceful. There are many meetings, organizations or even groups on Facebook, where women exchange advice, offer a “leg-up” and support each other. This gives a great sense of community and belonging.
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
I’m not sure if you can call it a business tool, but I love masterminds! And having an accountability partner was a game-changer for me. After all, all the decisions are made by me but it’s inspiring and motivating to share your doubts with other entrepreneurs I trust.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
Put your phone away and get down to work!
For more additional information about Iza’s painting and illustration, workshops hit the link 🙂