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Issue Date: June 2007 Issue

Small Business Mom

Jim Vickers
First came the eBay bug. Then Sarah Kadlic started painting. Last year, the Shaker Heights mom of four — ages 2, 5, 7 and 9 — earned $55,000 selling her landscape paintings online ( “I had always painted as a child, so I just decided to try it,” she recalls. “I made my first one ... and it sold for $24.” In the four years since, she’s been featured on “Good Morning America” for her business acumen and built a fan base. “I never thought I’d have a national following of people buying my art,” she says. “I never thought it was good enough.”
How did this all start?
“I realized I needed to make extra money, so I cleaned out my closet. I sold knick-knacks, old stuff, whatever … I made maybe three or four thousand dollars just cleaning out the closets and I thought, I really like this. What else could I sell? I had always painted as a child, so I just decided to try painting. I made my first one, and I framed it really nice and it sold for, I think, $24.”

How long does it take to create a painting?
“I feel sort of embarrassed to admit it. I think people like to hear you spend hours struggling through it. ... The kids might be playing in the next room and I might paint for 30 minutes. I do it, and I’m done. Then, I take it upstairs, I photograph it, and I list it [for sale] — sometimes while dinner is cooking.”

How much do they sell for?
“To raise awareness, I have to start the bidding at $49. But it usually doesn’t sell for that. If it did, I’d be disappointed ... $200 is my average price … I really feel [I’m earning] the same as what I could make if I went out in the working world all day. Last year, I think I made around $55,000 in revenue.”

Has your success surprised you?
“I’m shocked by the compliments from people. They build you up so much. If everyone in the world got that much feedback on the job, there’d be no limit to what people could do.”

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