While you may have heard of Snickerdoodle Art – the popular Franklin Street business that provides art classes and painting parties for all ages, you probably haven’t heard about how business owner Andrea Halbig got her start making and teaching art. Her story – just like her art – is beautiful, and it shows that you never know where life might take you!
How did you get started making art for other people?
Well my style is kind of whimsical and fun. I would mostly make art for kids. After I started with art for children, I would dabble with art that could go in dining rooms and living rooms, and just fun art. Really what I created was custom for each person. Basically, I would sketch something on a piece of paper and ask if the person liked it. If they did I, would go ahead and paint it on a canvas.
It was more of a nervous start for me. I wasn’t confident as an artist at first. It was one of those “let me just try and I won’t charge you unless you like it” situations, because I just wanted to make sure the work was okay. I wasn’t sure that people would like what I would create.
Things grew from there. I started getting more confident and I realized that it’s not about being the best, but it’s about being you.
How did your custom art develop into what Snickerdoodle Art is today?
People would say to me: “I wish I could do that, I wish I could draw.” We’re not all the same and that’s what makes us all great. So I teach people to break the mold. Their art doesn’t have to look like mine, but it’s going to be their own.
Really my daughter initiated that process because she was in love with how people were calling and asking how to make art. She wanted to do the same thing. She was maybe five years old at the time. She asked to have her friends over and have me show them how to paint. So I covered the table in newspaper, bought a bunch of canvases, and then made a painting and showed her and her friends how to make it. It was the cutest thing ever and they had such a blast. So things kept growing from there. I had been a stay-at-home mom, but this was something I just really enjoyed doing. In a few months I was packing my car up three or four times a week and traveling to different places to teach painting. I would go to homes, churches, businesses, and really wherever I was invited. It was a really fun, natural growth.
It was also a great outlet for me. Anyone who stays home with kids knows you get a little restless and miss adult interaction. So this was a perfect blend because I would still stay home with my kids, but then get to go out and do this.
Did you always plan to have your own business?
Growing up I was always jealous of the families that had family businesses. It seemed so great to go to college and then come home and work with your family. I always loved that idea of having that to hold onto. As long as I can remember I wanted to have a business on Franklin Street, but I didn't know what it would be. Quite honestly, I didn’t even know that I could draw until I got into high school. I would look at cartoons on people’s folders, and I would try to draw them.
I didn’t have artists around me growing up, so it was a cool realization that I could draw. After that, I had my first son prematurely and there was no way I was going to send him to daycare in the middle of the winter. That’s when I started painting at home and it was very natural. I did what I could when I could, and now four kids later here we are.
What have been some of your favorite moments?
I think I make a favorite memory every week. It’s just one of those businesses where you’re able to bring joy to others, and in turn you get that same joy back. I meet with different classes through field trips, and we have corporate team building classes as well. That’s been a riot because you get these men who are a little nervous about what’s going to happen in a class. To see them laugh with each other and pull back the armor and just have fun– that’s a pretty great feeling.
I love getting positive feedback from people saying they can’t wait to come back. That word of mouth has also really helped us grow. We’re not paying thousands of dollars to do marketing. We’re just being a family-friendly business. When people walk in the door we want them to feel like they really belong.
Where did the name Snickerdoodle come from?
My father-in-law calls my kids “snickerdoodles." So it was kind of natural. He’s very proud and loves to tell everyone that the name of my business came from him. From day one, he’s called them little snickerdoodles and I couldn’t hardly pass up on that for the business name.
What is it like being a local Evansville business?
It’s like one big family, especially within the small business world. When someone comes into my shop and talks about needing a new rug, I’ll say, “Oh, did you know my neighbor carries rugs.” Or, “You really need to go down to Lamasco and get those cheese fries.” On Franklin Street we really push each other to succeed. We want all Evansville businesses to succeed. The city is just booming with local small businesses and that sense of pride.
The way Snickerdoodle Art promotes and supports other businesses in the community is inspiring. One of the beautiful parts of the local business community is how much love and encouragement is involved. You can also be a part of this love and encouragement by shopping local and getting to know the local businesses in the Evansville area. Wondering where to find local businesses? Check out the free Towny app! (Enjoy the perks instantly awarded to you upon download here!)