Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Conversation with Marina of ArtPool Gallery

Marina, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me.  I just love your shop ArtPool Gallery and stop by there once or twice every time we're in St. Pete.  What made you think up the idea to open such a neat shop?

I have always loved creating, being an artist and studied fine art for my undergraduate and masters degrees. The idea of opening a shop right out of school was a dream come true and it has been a wonderful adventure for the past 10 years come April.  I always enjoy collaborating with my community so running a shop has been a fantastic process.  I have met so many amazing and wonderful people like yourself through the process.

How do you find your items to sell? 

I have been buying and selling, collecting and hunting vintage for over 15 years.  We buy items when we travel and bring them back to St Pete. I am always searching for that next best thing to bring my shoppers.  

Do you make any of your items?

Many, I make most of the jewelry in the shop.  I love creating and making unique one of a kind pieces for my stylish community. 

I feel like your merchandise is chosen with care.  Was there ever an item you put up for sale that you thought was amazing that customers just didn't go for?

Not really and if something didn't have enough spunk them I just take it apart and rework it. Nothing goes to waste here, we love re-purposing and recycling.

What advice do you have for others that are crafty and would like to try to start selling their items?

Get out and go for it.  Nothing like the present to follow your dreams.  Markets are great, etsy is an awesome resource.  Create and wear your designs, you are your best advertiser and marketer. :) 

Have you ever made something that just turned out so bad you didn't want to show anyone?  I know I have.  If so, what was it?

Nope, even weird things are good things.  Everything makes us better, even our so called failures.  Thank god I have had a loving mother who has even treasured by weirder artsy items and framed them, but looking back, some of the strangest art that did not come out as I intended is some of my most successful work.  I guess the true art is in acceptance of creativity and not being our worst critic which is easy for an artist to be.  Picasso once said "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."  Experimentation in art is such an important part of the artistic process. 

You have some very interesting events going on at your shop year-round. What's your favorite and can you tell us why or a little about it?

We host artistic collaborations throughout the year in the form of Art pARTies and Crafty Fest Markets.  I love both so much because of the community aspect of supporting other artists and giving them a stage to promote their talents and grow their audience with our established art buyers.

What thoughts were you having before you opened your doors for the first time on the first day of the shop opening?

This is going to be awesome!

You really have a family operation going--your mom helps out in the shop (she's such a sweet lady) and your dog, Franklin, even hangs out there.  What does it mean to you to have your family with you in this venture?

It means absolutely everything.  My finance works with me too and runs the mens collection and his vinyl record store right next door.  To be honest it wouldn't be the same with my family.  They are all a huge part of my life and working together is the best thing ever.  They mean the world to me and are beyond supportive.  I am so thankful and blessed to have such an incredible family.

What other interesting or unusual hobbies do you have?

Dog training, specifically dog agility.  Our doggy Franklin is such a sweet and smart boy who we have loads of fun with.  He is a super shop pup and absolutely awesome team mate on the course. 

I would recommend to others to go out there and follow your passions, never give up and drink coffee. :)  Being a small business owner means working 80+ hours a week.  Make sure you can live on ramen for as long as you need and be passionate about your work thoroughly.   You can and will succeed so don't be shy and remember you only live once so do it up sooner than later.

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences!

You are so very welcome.  Hugs and much love to you and your family.

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