THRIVE — The Vancouver Social-Startup that grew by 2,800%
Jamie Smith, founder of THRIVE Art Studios and Tara Galuska, co-founder are both current members of the Spring Leaders Roundtable Program. They started a local community of visual artists who meet monthly and provide each other with support, accountability and motivation called the THRIVE Mastermind. What began as a group of 6 artists who gathered together one evening in 2015, they have now grown to over 170 members worldwide with both local and virtual programs.
Learn about how they
- perfected what was already working and listened to their community about what to create next
- scaled the interest and momentum to grow the program while making sure it doesn’t become overwhelming for the business
- engaged with Spring’s expert advisors for crucial advice and gained new perspectives and insights through their peers and facilitator
Jamie and Tara started THRIVE as a community to empower female, gender non-binary and gender fluid artists to unlock their greatest potential in their art practices, their businesses and their lives. Making the (art)world a better place one artist at a time.
But being an artist is a very solo career path and so is being an entrepreneur, as they were bringing together a community for artists, they needed one of their own to scale the growth of their businesses. With the support, keen insights and ideas from the Spring Leaders Roundtables, the THRIVE masterminds and thought leadership podcasts have taken off all around the world.
Learn more about the Spring Roundtables Program
What is THRIVE?
THRIVE is a community of female, gender fluid and gender non binary artists based in Vancouver but with members all around the world. Our mission is to empower female artists to unlock their greatest potential in their art practices, their businesses and their lives. Making the (art)world a better place one artist at a time.
THRIVE is built on a foundation of community, a passion for learning and a commitment to support rather than compete. We are home to THRIVE Mastermind, THRIVE Talks, THRIVE Talks Podcast and we also offer a number of professional development sessions and events for artists.
As an entrepreneur and startup founder, how important is it for you to have a supportive community of peers and mentors through the Leaders Roundtables?
It is essential. We didn’t go to business school or have a background in startups or entrepreneurship. We need other people around to be able to learn from and grow. We also have to feel like we have something to give – It’s important to give and receive. That’s what community is all about.
With the feedback that we received through our Leaders Roundtables groups, we were able to collect the asks and comments from our community into a tangible product and changes that we could implement to meet their needs.
Being able to bounce ideas with the other entrepreneurs and going through steps like customer discovery together as a group really makes the process much more manageable. As the interest in our program grew, we also faced new challenges while scaling up, such as having to grow our own team and provide additional services.
This can be a daunting phase for startups and first time entrepreneurs, but with all the support and advice we received, we felt comfortable in the rapid growth and were able to do so without any major setbacks along the way.
What were some of the key ways having that network helped you achieve success?
It’s been great to be around like-minded people. The team at Spring and the people that they attract to be part of the Leaders Roundtables are people who really care and genuinely want to make a positive difference in the world.
It’s lovely to be around people like that and see their successes while also hearing them share very honestly about times when things aren’t going so well. Which we go through a lot at THRIVE as well.
Also, we have certain blind spots. There are some things we can do really well and some things we can’t, like data or numbers. During our roundtable meetings, someone will say, “What about your data, what do the numbers say?”. And that really keeps us in check and accountable for this part of the business.
No one else in our business does that and we don’t do that very well, or are very good at that. It’s made having to learn that a little less painful. And now we have a support group and we can hear from other people who have gone through it or learn from their mistakes in things that we should or should not do.
What makes a good community member for the Leaders Roundtables?
At a bare minimum, you have to show up, be there. If you leave an empty space at the table, you’re letting down your fellow members. Your roundtable peers are going to miss out on your perspective and experience which might be exactly what they needed to hear that day to solve their problem.
If you don’t show up, you also let yourself down as you miss out on all the connections and idea sharing that may come up at the session.
There is no need to show up and be perfect, just show up with a positive attitude and ready to share as well as learn from the discussion. At the roundtables, you can have a real and honest conversation even if you are having a tough time.
Try and give, and when you give – you always receive. The group is there to pick you back up and support you so that you leave the groups feeling like there is path ahead and a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Power of a Community
They were savvy artists but they also had blind spots. For example, they didn’t have anyone in their business with expertise in data and numbers which was instrumental in their growth. Being in a Leaders Roundtables has not only given them a support group which made it less painful to learn these new things and hold them accountable, but they were also able to get sound advice from others who had gone through it before.
As they scaled and grew their programs, it was essential to be around like-minded people. The team at Spring and the people that they attract to be part of the Leaders Roundtables are people who really care and genuinely want to make a positive difference in the world. It’s invaluable to be around people like that and see their successes and hear them share very honestly about times when things aren’t going so well.
Now they have over 170 members in their masterminds for visual artists around the world as well as a growing thought leadership podcast.
Jamie and Tara’s experience is a great example of how a community of social entrepreneurs who are all involved and committed can leverage each other and reach their potential. You get what you give and the sharing culture of the Leaders Roundtables allow each of our members to learn and grow from each others’ experiences, past mistakes, connections and ideas.
90% of new startups fail within the first 18 months of business, don’t become a statistic. In our experience, the best safety net is the advice and experience of fellow entrepreneurs.
Are you an entrepreneur looking to grow your business with the support of an amazing peer group, community, network or expert advisors?
The Spring Leaders Roundtables may be exactly what you are looking for. We can help you to get unstuck through:
- Curated groups by stage/industry and custom support
- Our network of knowledge & support
- Targeted introductions where needed
- Access to exclusive sessions with partners, mentors, & subject matter experts
Come out to our upcoming Meet and Greet session on March 6 – where you can not only meet the Spring team, current members, alumni and our community partners, but also ask all of your questions during a panel discussion with alumni and even schedule a chat to further explore your options.