“I deeply care about my customers and their experience. I want them to be able to get what they need.” – Precious Henshaw

Gem story was written by: Marcus Mulenga

Ever since she can remember, Precious has been drawing portraits. She would often make portraits of herself and her younger brother and sister. Once, when she was 11 or 12, she drew all of her classmates as different characters from T.V. shows, and they all loved it. Later on, when she was in college, making art served as her outlet. Although she was definitely book smart, at times all the studying and schoolwork got to be too overwhelming. She had always enjoyed math, however. In fact, her obsession with numbers and her love for creativity led to her becoming the only one in her family to reach out and explore entrepreneurship. The traditional path with the 9-5 workday that her parents followed just wasn’t in Precious’ heart. Rather, the artistic side of her loved the idea of being her boss and having full control over her day.

            Today, she has been able to realize her aspirations. Precious has been a growing entrepreneur for 10 years and a professional artist for 7 years. She received her first commission on a piece of her artwork in 2014. As this was her first time creating something for a non-family member, she was understandably nervous and wanted to make sure that she didn’t disappoint her client. Thankfully, her talent and customer awareness helped her to lock in her first official sale, and thus a gem was created: Precious Henshaw Art! To this day, she still places high value on satisfying her customers, which she clearly states in her own words: “I deeply care about my customers and their experience. I want them to be able to get what they need.”

            This held true even during the pandemic. Precious actually surveyed her customers to find out what things they wanted to see her branch out into. One suggestion she ran with was making a Patreon page featuring monthly videos about art history. Someone else thought that setting up a membership where people could purchase painting tutorial videos would be a good idea, and it was! And something that Precious herself decided to do was to take some of her paintings and turn them into digital files that could be downloaded and bought online. That way, she only had to make that particular painting once without having to worry about shipping and handling. In all of these areas that she experimented with, Precious was able to meet the needs of her customers despite the challenges presented by COVID. Amazingly, her company actually doubled its revenue during this time period! That can be accredited to two qualities that Precious embodies and advocates for resourcefulness and time management.

            These are important skills that Precious advises all aspiring entrepreneurs and artists to master. She admits that it can be scary to take that leap and go all in on something new, but being resourceful will enable you to “build the plane on the way down.” Time management is also key. Many would like to romanticize the idea of painting for a living, thinking that you can spend the whole day doing what you love. But Precious would remind them that there are other things that need to be managed throughout the day and that it’s alright to carve out just 10-15 minutes to devote to painting if that’s all you can do. It’s important to time how long it takes to make a painting, and then you just have to make sure you leave enough time to get it done. Also, she encourages new artists to embrace criticism and invites customers to give their honest feedback. You may find that what you end up doing to make sure their needs are met can end up helping you out with other customers. Precious recently experienced this when a customer needed help changing the file type of a digital image that she wanted to apply to a custom t-shirt design. Not only was Precious able to convert the file, but also was able to proactively do the same for other customers who likely would have run into the same issue.

            There are definitely many appealing facets to Precious Henshaw’s story! She was able to break tradition and find her own path by means of her creative and entrepreneurial endeavors, and she has learned many important (and sometimes rough) lessons along the way that have helped her to grow her business. This knowledge and experience inspired her to create a podcast, Freelance to Full-time, which you can tune into on Mondays wherever you listen to podcasts. And what does this Gem have in store for 2023? Precious is moving on from self-portraits and will be transitioning to paintings of landscapes and flowers. And of course, they will be available as digital downloads, so be on the lookout for those! Also, there is a musical project in the works too. When Precious isn’t painting or running a business, she likes to play the piano, and she is currently working on a duet with one of her friends who play the cello. From music to art, Precious Henshaw is always creating something, and this entrepreneur is truly a Gem that we are proud to present to you!    

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