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In Pictures: Art studio owner finds it hard to take a vacation

How can Jennifer Morley step away without losing the momentum she’s worked so hard to build?

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Jennifer Morley started Kaleidoscope Art Studio five years ago. Today her business, situated in an Edwardian heritage home overlooking the Credit River in Mississauga, Ont., also serves as a sanctuary for many of her students. “When they come here it’s a safe and social environment,” she says.

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Ms. Morely works with students at her studio.

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During its early years, Kaleidoscope catered solely to children and teens, and Ms. Morley was the only teacher. Today, the studio attracts a primarily adult crowd and Ms. Morley has formed partnerships with three professional artists who come in regularly to teach their craft.

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Ms. Morley attributes the growth of her business to her constant networking efforts and to the bond she’s built with her students. “This business has been built a hundred per cent by me talking to people,” she says. “Outside of my website I’ve done no advertising, just one-on-one marketing.”

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Her personal approach does have a downside, however: It’s hard for Ms. Morley to take time off for professional development training or to spend leisure time with her daughters. “What happens is when I come back and call people about upcoming art classes, they’ll often tell me that they’re going to take this month off and come back next month,” Ms. Morley says. “The last time I went away it took me a month to get classes full again.”

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Ms. Morley says her business insurance requires her to be onsite during classes. But even if she gets this policy stipulation taken out – a move that would increase her premiums – it would still be hard to take time off for professional development and vacations. “For some people it almost seems like broken trust when I go away,” she says.

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