Name: Lana Gibson
Name of Brand/Company: Lana Gibson Art
Year Started: 2012
Based in: Fayetteville, NC
Military Affiliation: Husband is Air Force
First, tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand/company.
Born and raised near the Rocky Mountains in Utah, I studied painting and drawing at the University of Utah and moved to North Carolina shortly after I married my husband Brian. I am a new mama to a sweet baby boy and our German Short Haired Pointer pup still thinks he’s a lap dog. I am a watercolor painter and lover of all things nature. My company is Lana Gibson Art and there I create wall art and gifts for women featuring my own original watercolor artwork.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
I chose the path of entrepreneurship because I wanted the freedom to design my own future and fit a career into my family life. I wanted and needed a career that could showcase my particular talents and also would be transient and moveable if need be. Plus, I get to decide my own days off so that is a big perk.
How has being a military spouse affected your journey and your business?
Had I not married my husband and become a military wife, I would never have moved across the country to start a new life. I’m not sure if I had remained in Utah where everything was familiar I would have done it the way I did. Along the way, I have met so many other military spouses who are rocking their own businesses despite the many challenges they face and their determination has been so encouraging for me.
What were some of the big challenges you faced along the way?
How did you overcome them? I think I get in my own way a lot of the time. I want to do things perfectly or not at all and that can be stifling. I have had to really push myself to let go a little bit and put the good out there as well as the bad. There was a time last year where I felt really disconnected from my business and after much soul searching, I rebranded the business to reflect my own name. It feels like a really great representation of what I am now.
What was the defining moment that made you start your own brand/company?
There was a short time right after I was married and moved across the country that I was pretty lost. I was in a brand new place and didn’t have any friends or family nearby, my husband was working long hours on post and I was working yet another retail job that paid next to nothing. I had come from a super busy time in my life to kind of a standstill and I just felt a little trapped. I wanted more. So I decided to put my painting and drawing training to the test and I put my work online, it felt like the perfect opportunity to lay it all out there since I had nothing to lose. I began marketing myself and would come home and work on the business at night. I began travelling around and selling my work at local shows and events and suddenly my life was full of purpose again. Sharing my work with others brings me so much joy.
Were you nervous about starting your own business or did it come naturally?
I was pretty nervous, especially to put my work out there. But I had the support of my husband and family and it did feel like the right step to make. I’m so glad I did it even though I was nervous. So many opportunities have come along because I decided to take that first step and start my own business.
How do you balance family life and your business?
Balance is something I continually try and figure out. With my new little one at home, I feel like there is never enough time to devote to all the different aspects of my life; mom, wife, friend, sister, business owner… I wear many hats (and I know you ladies out there can relate). There never seem to be enough hours in the day! Lists are my saving grace, though. I write list after list and get so much satisfaction when I get to cross something else off. Also, forgiveness. I have been trying to forgive myself when things get left undone.
Do you ever get stuck creatively?
What do you do when that happens? Absolutely! I’ve found that, for me, the best thing I can do to combat the stuck is just open up my sketchbook and put something… anything, on the page. Generally that first page is terrible but it will spark the creative juices and get me excited about making something else that is a little less terrible. When I feel stuck and diving in won’t do it, I take a break from creating for a few days and go out and search for inspiration. Going for a walk in the woods or taking a drive through the county is usually the perfect place to do that. Then I can dive back in with fresh eyes. Another thing that helps me is to give myself assignments and deadlines. I have always been a procrastinator so deadlines are my friend.
As we all know, starting a business takes a lot of time and dedication.
What drives you to keep going? What inspires you about the work that you do? Passion drives me to keep going. I am passionate about what I do. Creating art is through to the very fiber of my soul. I make art because I must and I want to celebrate the beauty that this world has to offer. Art is so important and makes life so much
sweeter. In life, we have the choice to feed our passions and live boldly and with heart. I hope that I can do just that.
What are some pieces of advice you can share with other women entrepreneurs?
I say the best thing to do is just start. We all had to start somewhere. If you look back to when I first began, you will see some terrible photos and some really strange products, but I am grateful for each and every awful thing I put out into the world because if I had never made it or never taken the first step, I would have never gotten to where I am now and I’ll never get to where I want to go. Don’t let fear stop you from living the life you desire. Take that first step and keep learning along the way.
Who are some of your entrepreneurial heroes?
J.K. Rowling and Walt Disney come to mind. They rose above their personal struggles and the worlds they each created have helped so many millions of people find joy and magic. I am so inspired by their stories.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love the creative process. Coming up with new designs and seeing them take shape with my own two hands is so satisfying. Choosing color schemes, designing collections, and the actual painting process is what I get really excited about. I turn on my Epic Soundtracks station on Pandora and go to my creative happy place. I also love the other side of it – my customers. I absolutely love creating products for my amazing customers that they will enjoy for many years.
What is one of the most proud achievements of your career this far?
I was interviewed for a segment on the news a few years back which was pretty fun, but the most recent accomplishment is my newest collection that launched last month, The Moroccan Spice Collection. It was a labor of love and it has been received so well which makes my heart happy.
How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a good person, someone who saw the beauty in every moment and lived life with passion and kindness.
What's on the horizon for your company?
I have big plans for Lana Gibson Art and there is always something brewing behind the scenes. Licensing, new collections, new projects… I’m definitely looking forward to the future of my art business.
More about Lana
Starbucks order? Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino
Go-to workout? Zumba!
Guilty pleasure? Dove dark chocolate covered cranberries
Your phone camera is filled with photos of … my cute baby boy!
If you could have dinner with any woman, who would it be and why?
Right now I would choose to have dinner with my mom and my sisters, they all live across the country and I would love to see them and laugh and catch up.
Connect with Lana