Several months ago, ok, maybe a year ago, I was inspired to start a blog series called "Boss Lady". The mission behind Boss Lady is to inspire young women (and men) to follow their instinct/talent/passion and become entrepreneurs.

My team and I are reaching out to all the woman owned businesses that inspire and amaze us on a daily basis. We will start with a brief background, then dive into the nitty gritty of running a business, what keeps them inspired, and everything else in between.
Olivia and I met several years ago in Fayetteville at The Little Craft Show. Olivia's personality is one that you can immediately bond with and become friends with. I've thoroughly enjoyed watching her and her sign painting business flourish over the past few years. Be sure you check out the link to her video at the end of the interview! I love that she still rocks a pair of Bella Vita Arrowhead Earrings.
Meet Olivia Trimble of Sleet City Sign Painting!

My name is Olivia Trimble and I’m a second generation sign painter living in Fayetteville Arkansas. I’m the mother of two fierce little girls and wife to a foxy beard-o. My passion lies in improving communities through events, local politics, public art and exquisite signage.

  1. Give us your elevator pitch.  My elevator pitch is that I paint signs and walls.
  2. What is your business? And how long have you been at it? My business is Sleet City Signs, I’ve been doing this for 6 years.
  3. When did you start your business?  I started my business when my youngest kid was a few months old. I had been trying to nail down what I wanted out of my professional life for a long time, and the realization that I wanted to follow in my step father’s footsteps was quite a surprise.
  4. What inspired you to make the leap?  Oh, did I mention I’m a second generation sign painter? I am! Growing up with the smell of sign painting enamel and paint thinner seems to have had a pretty huge influence. I had no idea what I was getting into. I started out by painting cutesy interior decor, now I’m painting two story high walls. It’s been quite a journey.

  5. What helps you get started each morning? Coffee, diet coke, 10 mile jog, meditation??  The fear of ruining my life and disappointing everyone is what propels me most days. Also, Coke in a can. It has to be in a can, and it has to be ice cold. Coke from a bottle won’t do (artists are supposed to be eccentric, right?).
  6. Tell us about a day in the life of running your business.  My days are wild. I juggle sign painting, public art, a weirdo indie craft and outsider art show, multiple board positions, and a little family. I usually start out by panicking about my schedule, I almost always stop into Onyx Coffee Lab to get caffeinated to tackle the day. Some days I get to work in my studio, getting lost in dreams and thoughts and paint. Some days I spend on a boom lift 20 feet from the ground painting a huge wall. Most days though, I spend doing admin stuff and meetings. I often forget that the core of my job is the painting part, it makes it that much sweeter on those days I spend with brush in hand.
  7. What keeps you motivated?  Fear of failure.
  8. Describe your dream day.  I’ve been lucky enough to live my dream days more often than most. My dream day consists of working super hard to paint a huge space, whether interior walls in a startup, or a brick wall that could use some pizazz. When I step back and look at the finished sign that I’ve worked so hard on, the feeling is magic. I usually have little private cry about it, and then pack up and head home to soak in the tub.

  9. What is your greatest strength/super power?  I take action when that voice in the back of my head is whispering to move on. The best things in my career have come out of taking the plunge even though I’m scared as hell on the inside.
  10. Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat?  Personal facebook + Business instagram seems to be my current magic combo.
  11. What do you do in your free time? (ha! What is free time?!)  I work on side projects in my free time.
  12. If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it?  I’d order really nice brushes first. Then find a giant shop that I could build out into a huge studio for myself and a bunch of spacious work spaces for others. I’d probably use a lot to go into small towns and help with revitalization through stellar signs and exciting public art. And I’d blow my weirdo indie craft show UP.

  13. What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go?  Every big job is the biggest risk, until I get a bigger one. They all scare me to death, I obsess over failing or under delivering, but the scarier the project the more I want it. I try to use my fear as fuel.
  14. Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable?  I hate having to chase people down to pay outstanding invoices. I get through it because, money.
  15. How do you handle discouragement?  I sit with it for a while, and then throw myself into the next project. 2016 was a whirlwind of extreme, soul crushing discouragement. That was followed by an intense bout of self growth that resulted in a new chapter of my work life.
  16. Which iconic person inspires you?   Jenny Holzer inspires me more than anyone. Also Steve Powers.
  17. Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote?  “You’re going to get through this, even if it kills you”

  18. If you could choose anyone to pick as a mentor, who would you choose?  That’s a pretty hard question to answer. I tend to put people on a pedestal, and the realization that a mentor is in fact human, and full of imperfections is really hard for me to deal with. I prefer to keep mentors at arms length so that the illusion is never ruined, and I can be inspired from afar.
  19. Who are you in your next life? A lawyer. If I had known many years ago that I would be so fascinated with the legal system, I wouldn’t be a sign painter today.
  20. Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business?  Therapy.
  21. What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs?   Take the plunge. It will be hard. Some days you’ll think that it’s going to kill you and your hard work is for nothing. Those days are eclipsed by the pride in seeing your work come to fruition. Especially in fields that have traditionally been male dominated! You can’t beat the feeling of pride in doing hard work, and knowing that you have truly nailed it.  

Follow Olivia and Sleet City Signs on social media:

Watch a video of Olivia in action HERE

September 25, 2017 — Brandy McNair

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