Young P.E.I. artisans learn entrepreneurship
'I think that at heart everyone needs to be an entrepreneur. I mean, you need to eat'
Find out what all the buzz is about in The Hive, a boot camp for young artisan entrepreneurs, showcasing their work Thursday night from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Spot in Charlottetown.
The Hive is a 12-week program sponsored by Culture PEI and the province. Recent cultural graduates under 30 who have an idea for a cultural or artistic entrepreneurial venture but require business-related knowledge can take their ideas to the next level.
I think people are afraid of the word entrepreneur a lot, because there's kind of a connotation of ... capitalism.— Russell Louder, performance artist
The 14 participants are all artisans: some make jewelry, others paint or weave, and some make films.
"I was mostly excited about the business bootcamp that they do," said Marlee Saulnier, a musician who wanted guidance with her business providing entertainment industry services.
"One problem that I find with people who have arts degrees — I have a bachelor of music — they don't necessarily teach you the necessary skills to market yourself as an artist."
Saulnier points to a very intensive learning session on taxes and financial management as one of the most useful things she took in.
She was able to develop her business in the last three months and now works for some bands and an event planner.
Hive opens doors
"I've managed actually to open quite a few doors during The Hive, which is awesome. I've been super happy with how it all turned out," said Saulnier.
"They teach you about business 101, what you have to do to start a business, where you've got to go, it's been so educational," said Richard Lush, who plans a media company that highlights aboriginal culture.
"I've learned so much in these very short three months," Lush said.
He's created a two-minute video trailer to pitch television networks on his ideas to feature Mi'kmaq history and culture, and has acquired funding for a new production.
"I've been working on developing my brand as a contemporary artist," said HIVE participant and musician Russell Louder.
Maintaining artistic integrity while deriving an income from their art is a conundrum many young artists grapple with, Louder said.
"I think people are afraid of the word entrepreneur a lot, because there's kind of a connotation of like, I don't know, capitalism," Louder said.
"But really, I think that at heart everyone needs to be an entrepreneur. I mean, you need to eat."
Louder is releasing an album of experimental music with a label in Montreal, and is applying to perform at festivals.
They're calling Thursday's event HIVErnation.
The Spot is at 91 Water St. in Charlottetown.
With files from Karen Mair