Endless hours on YouTube helps artist become an entrepreneur | Illawarra Mercury

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Illawarra-based artist Victoria Velozo has been a rising star at international exhibitions in China and Italy, and this year was to see her crack the New York market. But with international travel thwarted, the mixed media creative had no shows to attend and nowhere to sell her paintings – that’s when she turned to YouTube. Ms Velozo – who is also an art teacher with Greenacres Disability Services in Wollongong – was down to her last pennies during lockdown. Read more: Wollongong study to work out if mobility scooters really are ‘evil’ She decided drastic measures were needed to try and keep her bank account alive, with no certainty she’d retain her job or have an arena to sell her paintings – worth thousands. “It was a bit shocking when it all first hit, it was scary stuff,” the artist said. “We used all our holiday pay and started dipping into long service so I was thinking ‘what am I going to do? I’ve got to start a business’.” Read more: From Rwanda to Thredbo, retiring Illawarra paramedic’s journey has been ‘a privilege Ms Velozo had previously dabbled in printing her artworks onto fashion and thought now was a better time than any to start the online store she’d always wanted, but she didn’t have any money to spend. “I thought ‘surely I can do it, i’ll just YouTube it’,” she said. “I’m reasonably intelligent I can work something out.” Hours upon hours, for days on end, Ms Velozo was glued to her computer screen. Read more: Gala Cinema Warrawong just ‘breaking even’ but the show must go on Very quickly she realised “it’s not like sending stuff off to Vistaprint”, and the more she learned the more she realised the little she knew, she said. But that didn’t stop her. “Sometimes I think ‘why am I doing this?'” she laughed. “But I’ve always wanted my own shop.” So was born www.MaWeePet.com – a name she thought up at the dinner table with her daughters – it sounded good, so why not. Ms Velozo’s colourful paintings of ravens and grasslands are adorned on Doc Martin-style boots, leather handbags, dresses, Kimono-style wraps, jumpers, aprons and cushions. She said they’re the type of garments you’ll struggle to find in a chain store, while most of the customers to the fledgling business have so far been other artists. “I love unique clothing and I need to buy from online, in fact I’m wearing my own clothes – I’m my own best customer.” We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.


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