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updated: 7/10/2011 11:17 PM

Art gallery, gift shop grows in Lake Zurich

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  • Sue Briesch, owner of Wise Women Gallery and Gifts in Lake Zurich

    Sue Briesch, owner of Wise Women Gallery and Gifts in Lake Zurich


Sue Briesch, owner of Wise Women Gallery and Gifts in Lake Zurich, talks about her business:

Q: Describe your business. What do you do?

We are an ongoing permanent art fair open five days a week. We sell meaningful, one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts created by local fine artists and craftspeople in a permanent shop location.

Q: What made you start your business?

I have been an artist all my life, and, like most artists, have worked in other more traditional fields of business while creating my art. I wanted a permanent place to show and sell my creations and thought other artists would feel the same. I was correct, as I opened with 24 artists and now have 33 artists participating. I have a waiting list of artists who want to get into the shop.

Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running or starting a small business?

Advertising. In the first year in business it's all about letting people know where you are. It does not matter how great your work is if people don't know you're there.

Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?

Working with such talented local artists and being surrounded by such fabulous art. When customers come into the shop they are excited by what they see and are just amazed at the variety and quality of the work. Customers have told us repeatedly that our shop reminds them of shops in Sedona and Boulder that feature local artists. We are thrilled by the comparison.

Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always knew I would be involved in the arts in some way. Art has been the one constant throughout my life. I, like most other artists in the shop, have shown my work in other shops and participated in art fairs and festivals, and many of us have taught others what we know about our unique type of art. I feel that every single job I had in the traditional business world has taught me many lessons and given me the tools to open Wise Women Gallery and Gifts.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

How better to let the public know we are here and what we are about. I want people to know that we offer pottery, ceramics, jewelry, paintings, photography, fiber arts, collage, mosaics, and so much more. Local authors have their books for sale in the shop, too.

Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?

Surround yourself with positive people. Have a strong network of family and friends in business that you can go to with questions. Do your homework, start up costs are always more than you think they will be. If you love it, do it.

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