Kickstart KW Final Four: Chrysalides House

by QuickBooks Canada Team

4 min read

Chrysalides House is an art school, printmaking studio and art gallery in Waterloo. They opened at their current location at 619-A02 Wild Ginger avenue in June 2012.  They sell some specialty art supplies and have some shelves dedicated to another passion, antiques!

Our services

They offer a wide variety of services, including;
~ Curatorial services and gallery sales
~ Studio/ etching press and special event rental
~ Multimedia art classes for children
~ Art Camps
~ Open Studios for adults
~ Art and Magic show birthday parties

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My name is Nicole Battista, and I am the owner and facilitator of all business at Chrysalides House.  Waterloo is my hometown and I graduated at the University of Waterloo with a degree in Fine Art Studio. I went on to complete my Master’s degree at the University of Brighton, England.  I had the privilege of doing work in a local College’s art and curatorial residency which provided me a studio space to start teaching out of. Eventually I taught out of a home studio in my parents basement.  These experiences combined with hundreds of hours volunteering at local art organizations prepared
me to take the leap into my own business. I participated in a program in Waterloo Region’s small business office, which helped me plan and realize my dream, which is Chrysalides House.

What would a $15 000 kick-start and professional services win mean for your
business?
Winning the kick-start and professional services provided by Quick Books Canada, would be incredibly meaningful to my business, as well as to me personally.
We all have heard statistics such as ‘over 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years’, that in itself speaks volumes about the real challenges small business owners have to face and the courage it takes to run one. I have committed myself to Chrysalides House full time and am just approaching my second year in business. By far the biggest hurdle has been in the area of marketing and advertising. It takes a constant effort in the vast area of marketing to really make an impact in the community.
Winning would be providing me the means to fill the only major, but seriously relevant hole in my business and would be a huge boost in paving the way into long term business stability. Beyond the funds, the professional services package would be a valuable asset to me as a new and first time business owner. I would implement a client contact management system, which I don’t currently have, set up a system of tracking our artists’ sales and enhance other efficiencies in my day-to-day methods of conducting business. On a personal note, having QuickBooks Canada’s faith and support in my business, I imagine would be energizing and an incredible affirmation to say the least.

art camp

How did you hear about the Kick-StartKW contest?
I briefly saw a Facebook post about it, but then my computer had to restart, so I lost the page. I searched, but could not find it on Google, so posted on my Facebook page- if anyone had seen such a contest. One friend luckily responded with the correct link and I immediately applied!

Tell us a little about your experiences over the duration of the contest. For example, if you attended any of our events we’d love to hear about the experience you had at them.

I participated in a ‘Minute to Pitch It’ event, hosted by Communitech, at the Tannery. Have you tried convincing someone of anything in a minute? Ha! It was a challenge for sure. Not to mention a bit nerve wracking in front of a room full of business people and media. I received the invite just the day before so quickly wrote and timed my script and whipped up some visual aids, such as my handy flow chart!

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I tried to have fun with it and also be convincing that Chrysalides House is really worth the faith to invest in! I have been fully engaged with the social media portion of the contest as well, on Instagram and Twitter, since the start of the contest. This was a great motivation to really ramp up those networks, as I tended already to engage more with Facebook. But as a result, I have made some great new contacts due your influence to pay increased attention to these other networks.

Since entering Kick-StartKW did you have the opportunity to meet other small business / start-up owners in the region? If so, how did you make these new connections and do you intend on keeping in touch and building additional new relationships with others?
I am a huge fan of shopping at, and supporting local small business’, and practice this personally whenever I can. I have definitely been introduced to and connected with other small businesses online, which has been fun and encouraging, as everyone really has shown a positive and supportive spirit on Twitter and elsewhere. I look forward to using the services of several small businesses that have really shown me great support through this process- for really no reason! It’s so encouraging to have your peers cheer you on.

What single piece of advice would you give to others in your situation as they move forward building their business?
The advice I would give to other small business owners is to chase every opportunity that falls in their path with 100% commitment. You need to take those risks and put yourself out there, and have faith in yourself that it will eventually pay off. People can see that faith, when you are authentic and passionate about something, and will in turn have faith in you too, helping you on your road to success!

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