1 You started A Second Chance, a business through which you sell your artwork to help fund local animal shelters after rescuing your dog, Roxie. What prompted you to start the business, and how did you get it up and running?
We adopted our poodle Roxie in 2012 from a family that could no longer keep her. This opened my eyes to the financial struggles that some encounter in getting basic pet care. I wanted to find a way to keep pets healthy and with their families by using my passion for the arts. To do this, I took out a small loan from my parents as seed money. Once I had printed, packaged and sold enough notecards with my original artwork, I paid the loan back, making sure to minimize costs and maximize the funds donated.
2 Why did you want to help animals?
The bond that we have with our pets is irreplaceable. A Second Chance aims to keep families and their pets together, helping avoid euthanasia at overcrowded shelters.
3 Which agencies do you help? How much of the proceeds from sales go to those agencies?
Through A Second Chance, I have raised over $3,500 for clinics providing free rabies and distemper vaccines at the Allen County SPCA and at H.O.P.E. for Animals. In March of this year, I raised over $4,100 thanks to a matching donation campaign with Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control. This supported the Angel Fund, which provides treatment to heartworm-positive shelter dogs. One hundred percent of the proceeds from sales goes to these local animal organizations.
4 As a high school junior, you're in a unique position as an entrepreneur. What lessons do you think you've learned about starting and managing a business?
The past three years have taught me not to be afraid to ask – whether for a sponsorship of my farmers market booth or for someone to purchase my artwork. I have learned to see that the “no's” are part of the journey. With persistence and patience, I have created a network of supportive customers and fellow entrepreneurs who share my passion for animals and the arts.
5 You recently painted one of 25 LoveSeats on display around the city for Humane Fort Wayne. How did you choose the theme for your bench, and what do you hope those who see it take away from the art?
My LoveSeat was sponsored by Bob Rohrman Subaru of Fort Wayne, so I incorporated the Pleiades constellation that is found on the Subaru logo. I chose Subaru's “Share the Love” slogan for its double meaning – sharing a love of the road by driving a Subaru and sharing a love for animals by adopting from local shelters. The orange and green stripes of the field represent the rays of a rising sun. The flowers symbolize the new beginning that Humane Fort Wayne gives animals. I hope my art brings a smile to those who see it.