How did the name, Mrs Red, come about? As a school teacher with a ‘hard to say’ surname, not to mention forgettable, I got a lot of ‘Miss’ which I didn’t like. I would think ‘call your Maths teacher ‘Miss’ but not your Art teacher’, its very plain, common and boring (sorry Maths teachers). At a business forum I was speaking with others about this problem and someone said ‘shorten it to Red’ so I went from Mrs WhittRED to Mrs Red!
How did the business come about? This business found me. I have a Bachelor of Art, majoring in Graphic Design, working in the industry for 10 years and a PGDipEd (small contracts at local public & private school in art departments for 4 years). The combination of the two qualifications make a great team and parents from my childrens school/kindy were requesting me to do some art classes.
When did the business start and where? Mrs Red’s art room began in February 2011 however I operated under an extremely boring and forgettable name for a year before this. I began running one monthly Saturday afternoon class in Currumbin, above a little art shop. I then began doing a Thursday evening art class for adults in the same space on a weekly basis. I was then contacted by a fabulous lady from one of those ‘coupon deal’ companies and I clicked with her immediately. Her marketing background was amazing and she pushed me out of my comfort zone (hiring dirty little space above art shop) and made me commit to leasing a space. I stumbled across Rabbit & Cocoon (better known as Miami Marketta) and leased a 74sqm shed for 3 days a week. The coupon deal went ahead, we sold something like 150 kids art classes and I was in business! The build up to that first Saturday art class was so intense that I had the heaviest cold and lost my voice half way through the 2nd class and my 18 year old art assistant had to take over – OMG!!!! After 6 months of renting the space for 3 days a week I took over the shed full time. A year later I moved from the middle of the precinct to the end of building. Slightly smaller room but had the toilets right outside (safer for children). I remained there for another 2 years. By January 2014 I was feeling the squeeze, I had outgrown the space and by June 2014 began looking for something bigger. Driving home at 9pm on a Saturday night after Marketta Street Food a HUGE ‘for lease’ sign was in Burleigh Heads and I couldn’t wait for Monday to ring the agent. Three weeks later I signed the lease on 144sqm room.
Fast forward to May 2016 – everything going well at the fabulous Burleigh Heads space and then I receive a phone call from the school my 11 year old son attends, asking me for an immediate appointment. To cut a long story short, Charlie was diagnosed with high functioning Aspergers in Nov 2015 and as soon as the school received the funding for him, the wheels fell off and they suggested he move to another school. If you know anything about Aspi Kids you will know it is not that easy and because he had a diagnosis, he was given medical clearance to begin Distance Education. My Burleigh landlords gratefully have allowed me to walk away from my lease, as I am now having to be a full time carer for my now 13 year old son. At first, this news was devastating to me but once I had let my customers know, and all my wonderful students, I thought about all the things I can still do, with a few modifications. So, as of July 2016, the business was in hiatus (in regards to an actual space) and Charlie and I took the next 6 months to become comfortable at home, with him doing distance ed, which he currently still does and has been the best decision in regards to his abilities. In March 2017 I made the decision to become a 100% online art business and I haven’t looked back! Mrs Red’s art room now delivers Art Carts and art projects to your door, there is an art blog, YouTube channel and an online art shop. I am back teaching, via the internet and I LOVE IT!
What does Mrs Red do all day? Red’s Art Cart and the Student cart take up 80% of my working week, deciding on projects, creating the artworks and then uploading all the video’s to YouTube. The blog has also begun and am really enjoying where that is beginning to take me. I upload products to the online shop every week and spend at least 5% of my week learning how to run a business online (it’s like learning a second language!).
Family? Married to Neil who owns Smith & Son’s Gold Coast Central which is a building & renovation business here on the sunny Gold Coast. We have 3 children, Will 14, Charlie 13 and Gabrielle 8. We are a very sporty family and both Charlie and Gabi are showing great art potential!
Downtime for Mrs Red? Almost all of my inspiration in art begins surrounded by water! I seem to land the best ideas in the shower! Does this happen to anyone else? And then Will wanted to try Triathlon and at his first event I saw women of my age group competing and ‘giving it a go’. Neil told me I need to be out there rather than behind the tape. It looked like fun so I started swimming every week in pool as it was the most convenient of the 3 legs to do (I will do anything to get out of running). Then, the hot sparky at Miami Marketta told me I should do an ocean swim! Ocean swim – I never knew this existed! I competed in my first ocean swim at Burleigh Heads 2 weeks before my first Tri and came completely hooked! I did do the Tri but hated the run and have no desire to do another one. I now train 2/3 times a week in pool and ocean and have competed in ocean swims on Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Noosa, Heron Island and Auckland, NZ. I have done two 3k swims, one from Broadbeach to Surfers Paradise and around Heron Island in Oct14. I then competed in a 4.7k swim across the channel in Auckland, NZ end of March 2015 which was a great achievement. Ocean swimming is my ‘chill out zone’, my ‘down time’, my ‘me time’ and I love it! I also am a Lifesaver at Burleigh Heads Mowbray Park, part of the volunteer program on week-ends and public holidays through the beach season (Sept-April) along with joining Surf Communications which is the radio centre for the entire GC beaches.