Jennifer Estey is a young artist that is making waves in New Brunswick’s art scene with her new business. She is the owner of Estey Creations, offering fresh designs and fine art created by Jennifer herself. There are three arms to her business, Fun Fashion, Fine Art and the newest addition; an after school art program for elementary school students.
Jennifer Estey grew up in Rothesay and like many Maritimers dreamt of the big city, but after attending art school in Toronto realized that she missed the relaxed friendly lifestyle that New Brunswick was known for. Jen landed a fantastic position with a big design company in Toronto after graduation. She used this opportunity to practice and gain the experience that would provide her with the foundation to start her own business.
Since traditional art classes have been phased out of the New Brunswick school system, Jennifer thought about an after school art program that provided students with the opportunity to learn skills and exercise their creativity. Her first 8 week session in schools was spring 2007, the response from parents and students were phenomenal. Parents were appreciative that their children who showed an interest in art were able to learn more about it and the work that they brought home was incredible.
This in one parent’s praise for Jennifer’s class: “She’s always loved to draw, just needed some guidance on technique. The first thing she tells me on Monday is what she learned to draw today and what’s coming next week” This amazing idea is likely going to spread and be a province wide hit! Jennifer is thinking of hiring another artist to instruct other schools when she is double booked.
Jen tries to have a perfect mix of diversified products for all types of consumers interested in art. She sells original pieces of art that appeal to the connoisseur or established individual ready for an investment in fine art. Jen also offers pieces that have been duplicated to attract the younger demographic with a limited budget. Instead of her own store front Jennifer showcases her clothing at exhibits twice a year, and can be found at Eloise in Fredericton and many other locations across New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Her T-shirts have fresh designs with vibrant colours and a great quality fit.
“Talk to as many people as you can, get feedback, ask people that you trust for honest opinions, and prepare yourself with a lot of research. It helps if you can work in that industry first to get an inside look and hands-on experience. Also, it can be very stressful so make sure you have lots of support.” This is advice that Jennifer Estey would give an aspiring young entrepreneur. When you see a successful business you don’t always realize how much effort and how many long hours have been sacrificed to get that end result.
Jennifer is inspired by other artists in her family; her grandmother was a painter and aunt a fashion designer. The apple did not fall far from the tree and Jennifer was always encouraged by family to progress with her creativity and work. She is also inspired by local entrepreneurs that continue to help her and her business succeed. Endeavours is a local art store in downtown Fredericton where Jennifer exclusively purchases her art supplies. Both entrepreneurs find the partnership beneficial and are very supportive of each other. Another local business owner that Jennifer looks up to is Chris Duffie from Terra Consultants. He does all the printing for her duplicates; Jennifer is able to get involved with this process and Chris ensures that she gets exactly what she wants for an end product.
“When I met the NB Association of CBDC’s they were willing to help and give advice, that’s when I really felt like I had made the choice by opening this business in New Brunswick. You just don’t get that attention in bigger cities.” In Toronto for example there may not have been an economic development agency that is eager for you to open your own business.
You can’t take the artist out of Jennifer so it will always be a big part of her life. “I just want to keep exploring, pushing limits and creating new things all the time. My goal is to get known as a fine artist; to get that customer base that wants to invest in my art.” Jennifer sees the future of her business focusing on and expanding her art class program more and more. It has huge growth potential in the province and so far there has been a magnitude of positive feedback. With the demand she has for the fall after just one session under her belt, it’s a sure fire success!