We had the good fortune of connecting with Peggy Boyd and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Peggy, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
With my passion for art & creativity I personally will never give up. I just find something else that I want to try. Maybe not as large of scale as I once did but I still continue. As far as the ride or die mentality of a business and knowing when to shut it down, that is totally a different animal. Believe me, I’ve had this conversation with myself many times. When you find yourself at that point of questioning the decision whether to continue, it is a combination of several factors. Financial, economic environment, and personal stamina. I would also have to say, if you are asking yourself these questions, at least one or more of the fore mentioned questions has already been clearly answered.

Do you have the right products for the climate and are they selling? Evaluate your product offerings. Is this something that people want, need or desire? Are you still relevant? Do you need to change your course or direction? Can you adjust or do you need to start over completely? Do you have the longevity to keep mentally handling the stress, workload, hours, mindset of staying creative and current, regardless of your product? Are you working independently or do you need to train a staff to help? Can you afford help? (This is a question that bleeds into the financial category). Are you at the end of your rope stamina wise? Have you lost your passion and drive? Is your age, health, family a factor? Is your location influencing your questions? Do you need a brick and mortar or can you do online only? Are the shows paying off?

People seldom realize when they start a business how much work and time you need to devote to it. Often the reward isn’t right away. Lots of sweat equity is expelled and given for free to your business.

The primary factor to base your decision on is financial. Without the funding to cover the lows and carry your business through, it is inevitably doomed. You must set down and forecast your next 5 years, even 3 to understand your cash flow. What does your P&L look like at years end for the last 3 years? Are you doing this as a hobby or passive income, or is this your ride or die, all in business venture? Are you spending more than you’re making consistently? Are you borrowing more, mortgaging more, risking more? Is your business scaling or are you just treading water to stay afloat? Is the economy working with you or against your business?

I was told once by a customer during 2008’s recession, “I would love to buy a piece of your artwork, but my gas and groceries come first.” It was that year I realized I was closing my brick and mortar gallery. Sometimes it’s not your fault or anything you did, it is just timing.

I think by reflecting on this brief encapsulation of questions and thoughts you will answer whether to continue or throw in the towel.

If I may add one more positive bit of advice…if you do decide to “give up” remember it’s the business that didn’t workout not the creativity and inspiration within you. That passion should always thrive. Timing may not be on your side this time, but there is always a next time. The lessons learned are invaluable, whether in success or failure of a business. I personally would like to wish you success!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I think of being addressed as an “artist”, I often have to laugh to myself. For me it has never been a title or occupation, it was just part of my DNA… like green eyes or freckles. Everything I do has been touched by art and creativity. There has never been an actual moment or date in my life that I can say I decided to “become” an artist. It just evolved over the years. Living creatively for me is an innate ability and it became a more formal business when I realized in my young mind that this was a way I could make real money.

So, off I went and started my first company – a faux painting and design firm called Nouveaux Designs. My business plan outlined my targeted customers, I had a box of business cards, and advertising was done with mailers. There was no internet available at the time, just simple ingenuity and a lot of pitching projects. For me, I was doing what I loved and was able to create effects for clients in their homes and offices using trompe l’oeil styled murals and paint effects. It was a niche for that era. Along with the creative art services I offered wallpapering and painting as a way to do my art and get paid for it. Simple enough… end of business plan.

As time progressed I decided to add painted furniture to my offerings. It started to really catch on and I had reinvented several pieces for friends and family that loved them. Once again, I just considered this an extension of my norm and began marketing and selling these items at art shows and antique bazars. Using what I thought at the time was a pretty cute name “Within My Garden Designs” since most of my requests were floral art.

Later that simply evolved into “Peggy Boyd Designs LLC”. A much simpler and cleaner image for my work, as told to me by my marketing and branding company. Yes by this time 15+ years later I had finally hired someone to brand, market, and set up a website. I also opened a brick and mortar gallery in an art district to have as my “hub” for all my different facets of work. When I say different facets of work, I’m referring to the many hats that I wore during this busy time of my career. I was doing private commissions, commercial commissions, writing and designing for Meredith Publications Creative Group, writing and designing books for Plaid Enterprises instructional group, writing and designing for national art and design magazines as well as running the gallery where I housed my office and studio. From that location, I could teach adult ed, conduct guest lectures, and demos in the area and at the Home & Garden shows. The gallery became the spot that the editors could stop in and see my work first hand as well as clients that wanted to see, touch, and feel before ordering. Needless to say, I was a busy woman but it never felt like work.

This was the peak of my career, the full bloom so to speak. I worked tirelessly, endless for hours and days at a time. The more I worked the more creative I felt… it fueled me. But one day the economy didn’t agree with me. A recession had hit. Much like the last few years of late, it wasn’t a time for people to spend money on art, design, publications, or any extras that were not considered necessities.

This is when you start asking yourself the questions I mentioned earlier. Can I survive this financially, physically, and emotionally? Is my skill set and business relevant for the times? I had to close my doors and it was a hit to not only my finances, but to my creative soul. I felt defeated and even though it was beyond my control, I took it very personal. It was an embarrassment I thought. I had lost a part of my identity.

During this time my father past away, my husband had lost his job, and I was forced to take a job running another, larger gallery to cover costs and overhead. I found myself hiding from my past clients when they would stop into the gallery to shop. Dodging their looks in fear they would ask questions. It took me several months to finally move past it. One day I just decided that I liked my new position. The pace was slower, I didn’t have overhead, and I was still around my art all day long. It ended up being a very clarifying time in my career. I focused less on creating my art and more on the art of business.

It’s amazing how we learn to adapt and change. Finding the silver lining is not easily achieved, but gradually over the years, the sting went away. I reflected on my accomplishments realized I had forged a career in the art world from a hobby gone wild. All in all, this wasn’t a bad way to ease out of the “grind”.

Shortly after leaving the gallery position, our family relocated to Houston, Texas. There I decided with the firm nudging of my family to get back into the “creating” part of my art again. It’s much like putting on a pair of old skates – they fit, but not the same, but then after a few tries you’re up and on your way. I’ve been creating with new ideas and abstract designs, using different mediums and substrates, getting outside of myself and the confines of controlled art. It’s refreshing to have the freedom to let you creativity flow when you don’t have a deadline, a client, or overhead to answer to.

I’ve most recently started an online business with a passive income that evolved from an online blog about art and creativity, to actually creating art and products for sale and order. The name of my website is “The Creative Find with Peggy Boyd”. It’s my take on inspiring and finding creativity while sharing it with the people around me.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Being from the Midwest and our family having Italian roots, I would normally say our house is the place to be if friends are in town for a great Italian dinner and a fun night. However, if I had to set up an entertaining evening, I would certainly recommend Johnny Carrabba’s The Original on Kirby for starters. Find a spot at the bar while waiting on your table and order up a tall Bloody Mary with a beer back to start along with the fried calamari appetizer. Be sure to ask for the lemon pepperocini dipping sauce, it’s to die for. Once you are seated, I recommend the pappardelle pasta with you choice of sauce with or without meatballs, sausage, chicken, or shrimp. Then pair it with you favorite wine or beverage – the bar is in full swing! It’s all delicious and the wait staff is as friendly as in your own home. “Mangia”

Once you have finished dining make your way over to the Heights for a stroll down 19th street. If it’s the first Saturday of the month, you’ll hit the art market with local artists all along the street. If it’s August you’ll want to check out White Linen Night. This year it’s on August 6th. Make your way to Cloud 10 Creamery for you favorite scoop or possibly over to Boomtown for an iced coffee. Either way it’s a win.

If you still are feeling like the night is young, head over to House of Blues in the heart of downtown to see who’s playing in the main bar or buy tickets and try to catch the cover band for Pink Floyd. If you’re lucky, Johnny Lang might be making appearance. Whatever you choose there is plenty to do in Houston like a day at the zoo, art festivals, music, or parks.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Giving credit and being thankful for those that support and are there for us is primary throughout life. I have had many influential mentors in my life that have taught me something just when I needed it most. I feel I have learned something from everyone I worked with, created with and spent time with.

When I was young, I was so influenced by my first art teacher, Mrs. Frank. She allowed me to be confident in what I created and not afraid to try new things. It pushed me to continue with art and realize it was more than just a passing interest.

Later, my primary art instructor, Mary Muller, (www.marymuller.com) was my strongest influence. She was an independent woman that made her living selling her beautiful artwork and teaching. She traveled the world painting on locations as well as continued teaching and inspiring young artist like myself. She woke up everyday with nothing but art around her. It made me realize what was possible, and because of her I started my first business then later opened my gallery.

After Art School came business – working with exciting editors, product lines, and publishing houses. During that busy time in my career I would say my influence and mentorship came from an outstanding Editor-in-chief at Meredith Publications, Bev Rivers. She was a classy, well put together woman that knew what she wanted and expected from her designers and writing staff. As I write this, I reflect on her small frame and her beautiful statement necklaces that entered the room before her. She definitely was graceful and complimentary. Her confidence in me made me better.

Another editor that I truly admired that made my life richer was Mickey Basket of Plaid Enterprises. She was the Chief Editor for my instructional books and articles. She was a strong, knew-what-she-wanted kinda lady who was passionate about her work and how we as artists should be represented and elevated. It seems all my creative influences came from strong, creative, independent women – not such a bad thing! I would just like to think that I rose up to the occasion.

My final shoutout and love must be given to my support team at home. The love of my life and my husband of 35 years, Mark, for never questioning my thinking process or the cost of my failures. My two sons, Mark Jr. and Daniel, who were forced to be “mama’s movers” for art shows during their youth, and later my IT marketing support who act as my sounding boards for all my crazy ideas. Finally my daughter in law Shannon, who has inspired me to jump back in when I was feeling like packing it up. Without them I wouldn’t be as creative or inspired to continue every day. To them I simply say, thank you!

Website: https://www.thecreativefind.com

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Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/thecreativefind

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