Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathryn McHenry.
Kathryn, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My creative journey actually began during childhood, when I would make handmade cards with my sister. My Mom came across some of my creations a few years ago, which reminded me of how long I’ve had a love for greeting cards. Simply put, sending or giving card is a way to express feelings or emotions when the words are hard to find. This became exceedingly apparent when I started building my creative business as a vendor back in May 2013. I was invited by a fellow blogger to a local artist showcase geared at teaching artists how to turn their aspirations into a profession with a 400+ audience.
After nearly a decade of working in Corporate America, I knew I wanted to make a change & to reconnect with my creative side. The first showcase turned into vending at more than 100 events during the next two years — which then led to my first retail store at Artegon Marketplace. The marketing executives who worked with Artegon were tasked with creating a global presence for the local artists & businesses. My store, SOS Art Gallery by Studio Orlando Services, was featured in a global ad campaign & commercials with now Spectrum (Brighthouse Networks) after the marketplace’s redesign & I had the honor (along with this opportunity) for the shop to be featured in various news features.
My time at Artegon taught me so many things — most importantly — the joy I found in seeing children & other adults finding inspiration & hope from seeing other entrepreneurs & local business owners pursuing their dreams. I saw the good & the bad that came along with that as well. Entrepreneurship involves risks, sacrifices & every decision made in that environment ultimately affected the livelihoods of countless families. I learned how to be a better business owner; formed friendships to support & build each other up during our experiences; & I gathered a new sense of resilience in a constantly changing atmosphere. All in all, the lessons learned built a solid foundation which will always stick with me & has made a profound impact on my life. I also learned that seven days a week, 14 hours a day eventually takes a toll & how important self-care & finding balance help us to continue to thrive at our best. Throughout my time at Artegon, I eventually built the shop to market & sell cards, gifts & artwork for more than 20 local artists in the Central Florida area.
After building another concept in the Mills 50 District, I was able to continue rebuilding SOS Art Gallery in the local community & to reconnect with other locals as I had enjoyed in the past. During the next couple of years, the number of artists represented doubled & I continued to build an online presence which eventually led to the next chapter in my efforts. During the holiday season in 2018, my Father went into the ICU & later passed away nearly two weeks later. He was my first exposure to being an entrepreneur & from him, I observed the good & the bad that came along with such a life. And even though I saw the difficult challenges involved in building a small business, his teachings confirmed the path & direction in my life which provide a fulfillment in developing a mission & purpose larger than myself. After his death, I shifted course & continued to rebrand SOS Art Gallery into a larger & more cohesive online shopping experience. My new brand @BizOrlandoFL Consultancy serves as a service & resource for other local businesses while continuing my retail efforts but in a more balanced way. I rebuilt the shop in a non-retail space where shoppers can shop on their own schedule & where I will continue to serve the local community by providing an alternative to typical brick and mortar stores.
Now based in the SoDo District, my intentions are to provide solutions & meet needs based in ever-changing norms for both locals & shoppers around the world. My corporate career afforded me the knowledge & expertise in developing my creative business by utilizing growing trends in technology & global ecommerce. This structure affords me what has become so apparent as I search for the best ways to pivot & evolve. My family, friends & loved ones who’ve been essential to this creative journey are so vital to my life & this new business model affords me more time with them. My entire being & endeavors certainly wouldn’t have been able to grow as they have without them. And my ultimate goal is to use the technological tools which have helped me to streamline my online businesses to afford me even more time to do what we love – together.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Entrepreneurship in itself is a bumpy road. Whether it’s finances, health or pivoting based on day-to-day changes, the key is to keep pushing through & to not give up too early. Any sustainable business continues to evolve & thrive through societal, economical & personal situations. My most important lesson learned is to continue to rebuild instead of starting over completely from scratch. I’ve learned so much by sharing my passions in innovative ways to be original like no other.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
My biggest endeavor has been building the @BizOrlandoFL Card & Gift Shop. I continue to feature other local artists while creating new handcrafted cards, gifts & artwork. In the past couple of years, I’ve streamlined the online card & gift shop into an online shopping portal featuring my other ecommerce businesses — which provides a way to scale growth & to offer even more card & gift options. The ultimate result is a one-stop gifting shop to provide a more cohesive shopping experience that fits into the lives & schedule of those served. Along the way, brand new opportunities have arisen to join efforts with other local business owners to support each other & to maximize the time that we have as solopreneurs. As a digital marketing consultant, I’m able to seek real-life solutions for my own businesses & then teach others to do the same. The manner in which I’ve developed @BizOrlandoFL Consultancy uses both the right & left sides of my brain. To me, the process of developing businesses in new ways is just as enjoyable as creating the handmade cards & gifts in the shop. My sister has been a big part of rekindling my creative flow — while building a sense of community to inspire each other. And my loved ones & mentors serve as checks & balances to eventually turn any areas of weaknesses into strengths.
We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I’ve lived through so many personal situations who make me who I am today. While I don’t heavily focus on those experiences, they’ve contributed to the resiliency which has made me a stronger person & helped me to thrive. I’ve been asked if I have ever wanted to write books as an Editing Journalist graduate from the University of Florida. It certainly is on my bucket list to create a series of books when the time is right. In the meanwhile, I’ll continue to learn & grow each day. Different members of my family are either creative, technical or a combination of both. My brand @BizOrlandoFL Consultancy represents these sources of inspiration — where brand new ideas are grown. Both of my websites BizOrlando.com & BizOrlandoFL.com continue to evolve as I streamline my purpose & passions into a unified entity.
- Handcrafted Greeting Cards – $3+
- Unique Gifts & Giftwrapping – $5+
- Arts & Crafts Supplies – $1+
- Digital Marketing – $25+/monthly
- Creative Services – $25+/hourly
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: ONLINE SHOPPING PORTAL: BizOrlandoFL.com / GET CONNECTED: BizOrlando.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/BizOrlandoFL
- Facebook: facebook.com/BizOrlandoFL
- Twitter: twitter.com/BizOrlandoFL
- YouTube: youtube.com/channel/UCcMHZpAvq5IuF8IiDWvDW2g
- Yelp: yelp.com/biz/bizorlando-fl-consultancy-orlando
- SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/BizOrlandoFL
- Other: tiktok.com/@BizOrlandoFL
IMAGE CREDITS: Copyright Stampin’ Up! 2021 Copyright @BizOrlandoFL Consultancy 2021 Copyright Touchstone Crystal Jewelry 2021