How a layoff and being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis results in Chris Pero founding perodesign art & framing.
Chris Pero has been an artist and framing art since childhood, and started framing professionally when she was in college.
Business name and what it does: Chris Pero Design art installation and framing. Founded in 2008.
Backstory: Chris writes, “When I was diagnosed with MS, I was not 100% sure what on earth was in store for me. I really thought I was healthy. After talking to people, I knew it would best to keep the stress in my life down as much as I could. I was laid off at that same time, so I had time to think about what was next. I had the opportunity to design my own future.
“It wasn’t long before my former clients were calling me asking me where I was working and that is when perodesign art & framing began. I was talking to a framer, and now mentor, about hiring me at her frame shop. She highly recommended being a consultant. She knew I knew the industry well and thought it would be a great way to manage my own time and energy. She was right! Yes, I still have MS, but I think I am healthier now that I ever have been.”
Her connections continue to give her work, and she has been able to attract larger clients. She recently completed an installation for Daimler Trucks headquarters in April 2017. and has another big project coming up with SAIF.
Chris’s mission is to work with companies to help them get art on their walls that shows off what they do best: “I research the company so I have an idea about their mission. When we meet, I ask them what they are trying to accomplish with art on their walls. I work with each client individually to brainstorm ideas for them in their space. Everything is customized for the space and the client. Every client is a little different. Right now, I am designing some things with an artist who makes wall sculptures that we are proposing to a customer for their elevator lobbies as a form of way-finding.
What’s working now? “I have always provided framing services. I do not frame personally, but have framers who do.” Chris adds, “People I contract with to help me with different aspects, i.e. blogging, art searching, book keeping, installation, framing, printing.”
Pricing her work has been tricky, but she is able to articulate her value and expertise. Clients often choose to work with her because of her skill and expertise even if she has the more expensive bid. “Because they knew of my expertise,” Pero says.
Take Away: “I took the Encore / Solo Business Builders Class with Jackie. I really got my mission-focused and fine tuned. Now I can easily tell people what it is I do and they “get it.” She adds that other things were dividing her attention. “I was mission creeping all over the place. But I learned how to say no to the wrong work and not worry about it. And yes, I did raise my prices. It was hard (for me mentally) but my clients have not made a fuss about it. This class was SO worth it! Sure I have been in business since 2008, but this year has been the most profitable, and I think it was all stemmed from what I learned in Jackie’s class.”
Jackie offers classes at the Encorepreneur Cafe. Check here for class/workshop schedule.