On the blog series today we have the brilliant and creative soul, Janina Victoria.
I have known Janina since about 2010 (it might even be earlier!) when she was one of my youth leaders. We immediately bonded over our love of Lord of the Rings - the gal has good taste - and we've been friends ever since! I've always been a bit awestruck by Janina's ability to put her creativity and artistic flair into everything she does. She's possibly one of the most fashionable people I know, and I envy her style all the freaking time! I'm also hugely in awe of her watercolour work, and even have one of her pieces hanging on my wall!
Janina is based in the UK in London, and is a full time designer and creative director for Media Collective London X Hillsong London, and runs her watercolour artistry on the side through Janina Victoria Design. She just oozes creativity!
Find Janina Victoria Design online!
You can check out her business Janina Victoria Design on Instagram and her website!
How long have you been running your business for? And what is your business about?
I’m a London based watercolour artist, working full-time as designer and creative director and running my art on the side. I’ve been painting proper since 2012.
What made you decide to go down the path of running your own small business?
There’s something beautiful about creating something from scratch that didn’t exist before. I love painting, because I can pour something on paper that only existed before in my imagination and as an artist I get to share what I see with the world around me. When people resonate with my work and want to buy some pieces for their home it literally means so much to me.
Do you ever feel pressure to be “killing it” on social media? i.e. - do the number of likes or comments impact you?
Haha yes, all the time. I’m extremely critical with myself and I have a love hate relationship with the Instagram algorithm. I don’t ever take it personal though or see it as a reflection of how people genuinely feel about my work. When I don’t receive many likes for a post, I know it’s because of how the algorithm is set up. The way to beat the algorithm is by making sure your audience is engaging with your post – so getting those comments, reshares and saves in. Likes don’t matter too much anymore these days. The more engagement your posts get, the longer it stays in rotation and pops up on people’s explore page. And hashtags are your greatest friend! That way people who don’t follow you can find your work.
"Learn to trust yourself. You’ve got a spirit and a gut for a reason and most of the time only you will know what’s best for you and which path is your path – so find your own voice and trust that voice."
What does it mean to you to invest in yourself? In terms of both your business and you personally?
To me investing in myself means that I look after my spirit, body and soul. Making sure I’m the best version of myself, so that I can produce my best work. If I’m mentally not in a good place, I’m just going through the motions and won’t produce anything good. Your inner world affects your outer world and especially if you’re a creative everything you feel is connected with what you do, so you have to learn how to steward that inner world.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge you have faced so far?
In 2018 I had my first solo exhibition here in London and that was a huge challenge for me, but so so worth it and it all came together perfectly in the end! Such a rollercoaster though and many last minute panic attacks ha!
How do you celebrate your business wins?
If I’m especially proud of something, I grab a couple of friends and go out for celebratory drinks. If it’s a small win, I buy myself a little treat!
"Your inner world affects your outer world and especially if you’re a creative everything you feel is connected with what you do, so you have to learn how to steward that inner world."
What is something that you find is taboo about small business to talk about?
I feel like nothing is taboo to talk about in 2020 ha! I’m generally an open book, so I don’t mind answering harder questions and sometimes it’s good to receive certain questions and learnt to be transparent with people. That’s the way we learn and grow!
And how do you think we can go about breaking down that stigma?
To me personally, vulnerability and authenticity are such crucial values. Be who you are in public, the same you are behind closed doors. I feel like I’ve got a sixth sense for fakeness haha and I really struggle when brands or people aren’t true to who they say they are. I think we as humans in general need to learn to normalise being real.
If you could look yourself in the eye back as you were starting out, what would you say to yourself?
A couple of things: There are many creative and talented people out there and many of them can do exactly what you do, but only one is really YOU. What is it that YOU can bring into this world? Find your own voice and don’t be overwhelmed by all the other voices. Trust your unique style and path and don’t just do something because it’s popular or trendy or because people told you to do so. Learn to trust yourself. You’ve got a spirit and a gut for a reason and most of the time only you will know what’s best for you and which path is your path – so find your own voice and trust that voice.
Who is your biggest inspiration? - small biz, big biz, anywhere in between!
I’m a big fan of my friend Tess Guinery @tessguinery – Designer, Creative Director, author, lover of all things creative. She inspires me a lot.
The other one would be photographer Micaiah Carter @micaiahcarter – His photos and concepts are insane and he never ceases to amaze me!
Make sure you give Janina a follow on social media! And if you can share a post, or if you buy a piece of her artwork, make sure you share it with the world and get the word out about her amazing work!
How To Make An Impact:
It's so easy to do.
- A follow, a like, a comment , a save or a purchase all go a long way in the world of small business.
- We mindlessly scroll through Instagram and Facebook, so if you can take two of those seconds to interact with online content you'll be making an impact bigger than you know for that small business.
- Buy from small businesses. Christmas is coming up! Birthday's! Any time you need to give a gift, think of buying from a small business first.
- Leave a review - Facebook, Google, their website or email them!