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In celebration of International Women’s Day, we at BizCover are putting a spotlight on some of the amazing female small business owners that we are privileged to call our customers.
Fiona Chandler was an artist with a vision, who banded together with other like-minded artists to create the Sydney Road Gallery, her shared small business.
Sydney Road Gallery is a collective of accomplished, mid-level, exhibiting visual artists who have come together to jointly manage a gallery space. Their work spans a range of different mediums including painting, printmaking, textiles and sculptural basketry.
Fiona started Sydney Road Gallery with the intention of having artists see their work displayed the way they envisioned. The idea was that artists could take part in the conversation surrounding their work and the exhibition space and instead of struggling with running their solo enterprise, becoming a part of an association of like-minded people.
Fiona’s inspiration for starting Sydney Road Gallery was borne out of frustration of seeing so many talented artists losing time that would otherwise be dedicated to their art to admin, sales opportunities and approaching galleries.
“We were all doing the same things and our art was in demand. If we had a central gallery that did all those things for us, we could paint – and not lose 50% commission.”
Fiona says the favourite thing about her job is the people – both the artists and the patrons.
“Talking about art and people’s spaces, how they live, where they create. I think most things come back to people.”
Because the gallery is a welcoming space, it is often people who have never bought a piece of art before that come in and quietly ask questions.
“They tend to visit several times getting to know an artist’s work. We do warn them that art can be addictive. The joy in their faces when they meet the artist or take a piece home is fabulous. This happens every week.”
When asked if she had any female role models who have inspired her, Fiona said that some artists she admires all have one thing in common – they’ve taken control over their creative lives by doing what they love for a living. Some of those women include Louise Olsen (Dinosaur Designs), Victoria Alexander, Tracey Deep and Bobbie Burgers.
For Fiona, being a woman who owns a small business means that “anything is possible”; and with the added bonus of having so many great people to work with, Fiona says that “plans and ideas can be put into action quickly.”
This International Women’s Day, Fiona shares that for any aspiring business owners, some key advice is to “Have a plan, surround yourself with great people with the same goal. Know it’s going to take many more hours than you thought and be prepared to represent your business at all times.”