Words: Zena le Roux | Images: Supplied
The Imaginarium of Ms Smith is Lizelle Smith’s home studio in Equestria where she paints for a living. When she noticed that most people couldn’t afford quality, local art, she decided to create art that’s affordable and accessible to all income brackets. She tells us more about her business.
How did your business start?
I’ve always wanted to give life to my creative side but was also aware that painting for a living can be a gamble financially. I worked in the law industry most of my life and in November last year I stopped and took a leap of faith. I started up small in my home. I would paint in the evenings and post my work on Facebook and Instagram. I received amazing feedback and had people requesting commissions. In December, I officially named my studio The Imaginarium of Ms Smith and opened a Facebook page for it. Since then, I’ve been painting non-stop!
Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
As it’s a start-up business, I wanted to save on costs and decided to work from home. We live in Equestria and we specifically chose this area as it’s close to my husband’s law practice and our son’s school. We also love Equestria because it’s so beautiful and I have everything I need within 2km of my house. It’s close to main roads such as Lynnwood Road and Atterbury Road, and the N4 is just down our street. Equestria is also accessible and affordable. We have lovely schools and fantastic preschools nearby. It’s also a family-oriented area. Most restaurants cater for kids and have massive play areas. We also have Bester Birds & Animals Zoo Park a block away from our house.
How did you find your premises?
I just took up a place in our house and transformed it into a studio with a wonderful view, books by the dozen and perfect natural light!
Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
Pre-school is just around the corner, which makes it all very convenient. I’ve also noted that Pretoria East has over the last few years become a booming arts and culture hub, with new galleries and start-up businesses all around.
Who are your neighbours?
As my business is mainly run online via Facebook and Instagram, I have “online” neighbours or businesses who have supported me and put me in contact with new clients.
What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?
Renting a studio will be a bit on the pricey side as most office buildings around the area are new. But there are also loads of smallholdings in the area which offer office/workspace on their premises. Rent per month for a small studio would be around R5,000 to R7,000 per month. The price will increase if you’re looking at the newer buildings going up.
How many people visit your business each day?
I get a minimum of three page visits per day on Facebook.
Do you have any expansion plans?
I have many ideas and creations that I want to commence with in the near future! I’m planning on producing installation art and artistic home decor soon. I’m lucky enough to have access to a warehouse in Midrand, which can produce laser-cut pieces and products. If luck stays on my side, I’ll also move into a bigger studio where I can have more creative space.
Do you operate online as well?
I only operate online. All my work is available online and can be ordered or commissioned from there. I am, however, planning an exhibition for the end of the year.
What’s your most popular item?
My paintings are definitely the most popular. I also design and draw.
For more information on The Imaginarium of Ms Smith, phone them on 071 57 91794 or visit their Facebook page.