After attaining a Master’s degree in public art, Liz Lidgett wanted a career based around exposing people to artwork, who otherwise wouldn’t be. When Liz moved back to Des Moines after college, she worked as the corporate curator for Kum and Go’s art collection. Through this position she realized the high demand in Iowa for someone to aid others in developing an art collection. In October of 2012 Liz came up with the idea to open a business where she would help people find art for their personal and corporate collections based on their space and their budget. In December of 2012, Liz Lidgett Fine Art, based out of Des Moines, Iowa, was declared open for business.
In March of 2013 Liz sought the help of America’s SBDC Iowa (SBDC). Advisors at the SBDC helped Liz to identify the gaps in her business plan and some potential problems she could encounter, plus what to do should she experience these problems. They really helped Liz be as prepared as possible for whatever owning a small business might entail.
Soon after opening Liz Lidgett Fine Art, Liz began getting numerous requests and inquiries from people all over the country. Due to distance Liz didn’t think there was any way she could help these people. Then she wondered what she could do if there was a way to help them without actually having to travel to their homes. Thus, the idea for her second company, Adore Your Walls, was born. Adore Your Walls is an online business where clients can buy an ‘art advisory package’ based on how much help they actually need. From there they simply upload pictures of the inside of their homes and the dimensions of the spaces where they are in need of art. Liz then helps them find various art pieces, based on their space and their budget.
“I saw there was a need, whether people knew it or not, and I felt like I was the woman to help with it and fix that problem,” says Liz.
Liz’s two businesses are her entire livelihood and she currently runs both businesses by herself, aside from a couple of contractors. Although she doesn’t employ anyone else currently, she can see needing to hire employees as the businesses grow and diversify even further. Liz says that she will certainly go back to the SBDC for advice when it is time to hire employees.
Both Adore Your Walls and Liz Lidgett Fine Art have experienced significant growth in the last three years. Liz estimates her two businesses have increased twenty to forty percent each year and attributes her success to the metro community where she is based.
“The Des Moines community is so open to small businesses and is truly invested in helping them to succeed. Whether it be needing a contact for a various project, or just some advice on what to do next, there is always someone from the community there to help,” says Liz.
Liz has never paid to market either of her businesses; between word of mouth and her companies’ social media pages on Facebook and Instagram, knowledge of her services spreads pretty quickly. Recently, Liz did a series of three five-minute videos entitled “The Art Hunter” that were featured on the Better Home and Gardens website. She feels this national exposure has helped promote her businesses immensely.
In the future, Liz hopes to grow and diversify both of her businesses as much as possible. She plans to begin working on brand collaboration, to really help spread the message of affordable art, on a national basis. She also hopes to continue working on projects similar to the Better Home and Garden videos, to expand her client base.
Looking back on her success, Liz says, “My overall experience working with the SBDC was so valuable. The fact that there was a place for me as a female small business owner and first time entrepreneur to talk with someone who was either an expert, or who knew an expert, was amazing. And the fact that it was all for free is unbelievable. It was wonderful knowing that the SBDC actually wanted me to succeed.”
For more information on Liz and her two businesses visit either of her websites at www.adoreyourwalls.com or www.lizlidgett.com, at her Art Hunter Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CuratedByLizLidgett, or at her Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/adoreyourwalls.