From the Street with Natalia Wohletz, Owner of Main Street ArtJan 04, 2024
As a business owner that owns three separate yet integrated businesses, my path has been unique. My mom and I founded Mackinac Memories in 2015 when I was still in college. At the time, we created art and coffee table books about Mackinac Island. In 2019, I officially created the brand Peninsula Prints for my artwork. Also in 2019, we purchased the custom frame shop, Main Street Art, which has become our central focus.
My mom and I are both very creative so producing books and art were our respective favorite hobbies. When we realized they were sellable, the hobby grew into a business. Purchasing the frame shop, Main Street Art, came after working closely with the previous owners on a commission I had through the Michigan Supreme Court. I had several retail jobs in my teenage years and loved maintaining a retail space, so when the opportunity came up to buy Main Street Art, I jumped on it. This was the chance for me to create my own vision of a retail space in the arts sector! After a few months learning to professionally design and frame artwork, that too became a passion. It is a joy to work hands on with a variety of art and objects, ranging from decorative paintings to historic documents to memorabilia showcased in shadowboxes.
My entire staff is made up of artists, which means our customers trust us with framing their art and objects creatively and beautifully. We also put the utmost importance on conservation, ensuring that pieces framed in our shop are built with the highest quality materials for generations to enjoy.
I am a great problem solver and creative thinker so when I have a vision for something, I can easily find ways to make it work. I thrive on difficult challenges. And as much as I love to be in charge, I also love to delegate and leverage the strengths of my team members.
Although I am a numbers person – I studied math in college – I still I couldn’t wrap my head around business accounting and that bugged me. Even worse than that, we seemed to be making money in the business, but our cash flow wasn’t there and I knew it had to somehow be wrapped up in the inventory. I wanted to learn how to measure my inventory, sales and profit so that I could manipulate the variables to have more cash at the end of the day.
Since working with Ciara through the Profit Accelerator program, I have increased profitability in the parts of my business that were already profitable: framing, Peninsula Prints (my art) and Mackinac Memories (my mom’s books) by taking the emotion and time out of pricing frames by switching to a computerized system, and appropriately pricing services we were doing for free.
One of my main initiatives for 2024 is to eliminate things that aren’t profitable, which will increase my overall profitability. This initiative is the result of a lot of personal growth through Ciara’s coaching and the Mastermind to let go of products and services that our customers expected, but were taking up an exorbitant amount of space, time, effort and money for little to no (or even negative) profit. The thought of giving up those things still makes me uncomfortable sometimes because I fear not living up to every single customer’s expectations, even though I know it will come with amazing results.
If I was in a room with ten other business owners, I would tell them to do everything in their power to maximize profitability by making the already profitable things even more profitable, and transforming or letting go the parts of their business that are not profitable. Put your focus into what’s working!
Author: Natalia Wohletz