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With 20 years of business under her belt, Michelle Caron, owner of Caron Art Glass, is well-suited to give advice on the ins and outs of running a small business. What’s the secret behind her art glass studio’s success? Doing what she loves! “I feel lucky to have a business where I do what I love – it doesn’t get any better than that!” she said.
There’s no “typical” day for Caron at her Kāne`ohe, Hawaii-based small business – she creates all types of glass products, including studio fused glass sculptures, tableware, jewelry, traditional stained glass panels, and art glass mosaics.
Caron started Caron Art Glass to better focus her artistic endeavors, and her studio is a playground where she experiments with ideas and techniques. She welcomes open communication with customers, inviting them into her studio so they can discuss what they envision and she can bring their shared vision into fruition. She particularly loves when they challenge her to create something unique. “Working on commissioned pieces often invites and sometimes pushes me to explore directions I might not have considered on my own,” she said.
Her customers are at the heart of each piece she makes. Caron encourages them to be involved in the creation of her products, and she teaches them about the art of glasswork along the way. “I find that more knowledge brings greater appreciation, she said. “My business allows my customers to connect with the creative process in a very personal way.”
Caron’s incredible talent with glass and admirable relationships with customers have driven her business’ growth to new heights, but she also credits tools that have helped her along the way, particularly her FatCow website. “I’ve been in business for over 20 years, and online for about five years. Having an online presence has expanded my business horizons beyond my wildest dreams. I do some onsite retail but the vast majority is done through my website.”
As an owner of a small business, Caron is a major advocate for the small business industry. “I believe small businesses have a unique opportunity to offer service, accountability, and craft in an age of big, faceless, and mass produced.” She credits her own experience working with other small businesses as inspiration for how she runs her own, and encourages small businesses to work together to inspire one another. “I have had the good fortune to work with some wonderful small businesses. Each had a way of making me feel that my needs were important and my thoughts were valued, and those experiences guide how I run my business.”
Find them at: www.caronartglass.com