She Means Biz: Inga Buccella
In the last two decades, the number of women-owned businesses has jumped an astonishing 114%. As part of Socioh's Women’s Day celebrations for the month of March, we are sharing inspiring stories of women entrepreneurs who’ve fought the odds, smashed the glass ceiling and been everyday superheroes in their own rights.
Inga Buccella is a fairy godmother to everybody who has pets. Why? Because the artist in charge at Pupspressions does custom pet portrait renderings that capture the personality and 'story' of her customers' four-legged friends.
Hi Inga, BTW we absolutely love all the portraits on your store and were wondering how this jourey began?
I was working towards a degree in Fine Arts (Interior Architecture and Design), and also had a job, when I was involved in a car accident. And around the same time I suffered the loss of a pet too.
It was then that it became clear to me, that my drawing assignments, especially illustrations, gave me more joy than my job.
But things finally fell in place thanks to a futile search for some animal art while I was redecorating. Since I couldn't find any I decided to draw my puppy's portrait. And that's how Pupspressions, my Custom Pet Rendering Shop, took shape on Etsy in 2014.
So like all artists, do you find it easy to be a #bossbabe?
Being my own boss is not difficult because I am a pretty industrious worker, and about 95% of my clients are easy going customers. But I do find marketing of my children's books, that I write and illustrate, to be the most time-consuming and (sometimes) tedious part of my job.
Tell us a bit more about that one challenge/hurdle that brought you to tears AND one achievement that will always stay with you.
A memorial rendering is always a challenge. And I know I have nailed it when the clients says that the portrait brought them to tears. I distinctly remember one particular order for a puppy who was hit by a car the day he was brought home. It was a difficult illustration to create, but also one that stirred both, the owner and myself. I will never forget!
And the achievement that will stay with me would be my customer's feedback on my first children's book (self published).
I began writing & illustrating children's books last year and Lucky Duck was my first. It is a story about how a family wants to add a dog to the household and end up with a special needs dog. This one is a very touching and teaching story that has been well received by young and old (all my books have a subtle message, but are fun to read and look at).
When my first customer (a retired teacher) told me she "got it" and was going to share it with a teacher of Special Needs children, I felt like I succeeded.
Wow! That's the best kind of feedback. What are your future goals for the business?
To continue creating artful renderings of pets and people. Also, to create a set of at least 5 children's books!
And how do you motivate yourself to achieve your goals every day?
Two ways—either I receive an order, or I get the urge to express myself on paper. One of these always happens, daily!
Which wonder woman / female personality inspires you and why?
Georgia O'Keeffe. She was intuitive, innovative and fearless in both her art career and personal life. Her painting style was ahead of its time and because of this, and her lifestyle, she was criticized profusely. And as a result her art was never truly valued until after her death.
And lastly, how can women support women?
Being a shop owner, I think it's important to Shop our support for other female business owners.
And I do so on a regular basis! Outside of business, listening and sharing our past experiences as well as offering encouragement, is necessary.
Your dream vacation
A trip to Rome and Bonefro (where my grandfather was born).
Comfort food when you’re stressed
Favourite marketing strategy
Book signings at my favorite book store. Increases ALL sales.
Favourite social channel for business
If not an entrepreneur then what would you have been?
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Inga!