What It's About
A visual arts teacher builds a side hustle—one shade at a time.
Words of Wisdom
Camilla’s words of wisdom for anyone wanting to begin their own paint-by-numbers hustle:
“Start with research. Collect samples of various paint by numbers kits, meet with local printers and assembly companies to have in-person conversations about different types of papers, or other materials used in production. Test a variety of paints and brushes to become familiar with what’s available in the industry. Creating designs are important too. Hire an artist or graphic designer to develop the packaging, and embrace every step of the revision process.”
Camilla had three short-lived side hustles before landing her successful Paint the Town by Numbers. The first was a hand-painted invitation business for the rich and somewhat famous; the second was a coloring book series that was more serious in subject matter; and the third was creating original works of art, custom coloring pages, and custom acrylic portraits. Camilla said the best thing about these failed attempts was how they led to her paint-by-numbers business!
Notes from Chris
Episode 922Camilla Spadafino loves to create. Growing up, an atmosphere of creativity seemed to surround her. Her mother encouraged her to express herself through drawings, and her uncle was a local, well-known artist. Over the years, she found other forms of expression through sewing, decorating and storytelling. Camilla now spends her days as a visual arts teacher in Nashville, Tennesee. People always told her she should teach art, but she was reluctant, worried her “passion” would turn into a job. Camilla admits she was wrong. It turns out she loves it more than ever. She also owns the boutique paint-by-numbers studio, aptly named Paint the Town by Numbers. She creates curious paint-by-numbers kits of people, places, and things that reflect positivity. Some of her bestsellers include pop artist Andy Warhol, Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (aka The Notorious RBG), and famed television personality, Mr. Rogers. The color names for Camilla’s paint palettes help tell the story of each kit with flair. For example, her “Nashville” paint by numbers kit features color names like Hot Chicken, Biscuits Y'all, and BBQ Sauce. She’s on a mission to heal hearts, inspire imaginations, and to get paintbrushes in the hands of as many would-be painters as possible. Her kits have been enjoyed by people in every state across the country! So how did this come to be? Well, it started as a project she was creating for fun. When she finished, Camilla knew it was special and ran across the street to show her neighbor, boldly declaring: “I'm going to turn this into a paint by numbers kit!" Startup costs were $12,000, all of which went to cover production and shipping of her first product. She said her costs were higher in order to raise the quantities produced and lower the prices for her customers (some manufacturers have minimum ordering quantities, aka MOQs). In order to foot this sizable sum and recover costs (she and her husband paid for everything in advance), Camilla turned to crowdfunding through Kickstarter and I Fund Women. To gain additional campaign exposure, she wrote press releases and even received a couple of spots on local television. Her efforts paid off. Camilla raised over $10,000. She recovered the remaining costs by selling hand-built kits at local art festivals. Her customer base grew out of those first crowdfunding campaigns. Camilla said when they ended, she personally delivered her kits to the doors of every person who ordered one in her local area… broadly speaking. She covered hundreds of miles and says now: “Meeting the people who believed in us and took a chance on our product was one of the most soul-satisfying experiences of my life.” Since launching in February 2017, Paint the Town by Numbers has artfully crafted a significant income. The kits run between $20 - $25. In 2018, she earned $30,000 … and she’s on track to double that number in 2019. She’s also approaching a point where it might be possible to leave her day job and pursue Paint the Town by Numbers full-time. In preparation for the leap, she and her husband have begun looking more seriously at how that might work.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Paint the Town by Numbers: If you're interested in bringing the likes of Mr. Rogers, Arethra Franklin, and The Notorious RBG to life in vibrant color, head on over to Camilla's website!
- Kickstarter | Paint the Town by Numbers Nashville: The Kickstarter campaign that started it all
- I Fund Women: An alternative crowdfunding platform that caters to female-run organizations that Camilla used to fund her startup for Paint the Town by Numbers
- Homemade Gin Kit Sells 75,000 Units: After encountering a roadblock trying to start their own distillery, two friends create a side hustle that allows others to make gin in the comfort of their own home—and it's a huge success!
- Enjoy an Ice Cold Beverage in a Mug Made from Ice: A visit to the outdoor sauna in the midst of a Minnesota winter inspires a mug made from ice that has sold over 4,000 units
- Nostalgic Bowl Of Pozole Inspires Spicy Hustle: He loved making his family’s recipe of Mexican pozole soup ... but it took a long time and there were no options to speed it up. Could he create one?
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