Cottage Garden Studio Success Story
Jackson Artist Rekindles Business Dreams During COVID-19 Pandemic
After almost 25 years working in the travel industry, Joan Batchelder found herself at a crossroads in the summer of 2020. She was furloughed suddenly and indefinitely. “It really was this whole crisis that launched me into building Cottage Garden Studio,” says Batchelder.
Cottage Garden Studio had been a passion project for years; Joan had a plan to launch her online stationery shop featuring three different collections of charming and whimsical notecards. The idea started in the green mountains of Vermont where Joan Batchelder picked up a paintbrush for the first time in decades. Drawing inspiration and expression from her life, Joan did what all artists excel at: creation. Now, several years, a few careers, and one pandemic later, Cottage Garden Studio has sold hundreds of watercolor notecards on Batchelder’s recently launched website, cottagegardenstudio.com.
The three initial notecard collections available on the website are themed. The Coastal Collection features six different images reminiscent of Maine, where Joan was born and raised, and the Garden Collection illustrates Joan’s fondness for gardening, a hobby she picked up when living in Vermont. Now, living in the company of the Tetons, Joan says “it’s a whole different culture, you know everything has that western flair, which is what inspired The Western Collection.”
“I am very affected by my surroundings; I think most artists are. These cards are memories I’ve literally carved out of my soul”, Joan explains.
A week after losing her job, Batchelder read an article in the Jackson Hole News & Guide about the Wyoming Women’s Business Center’s COVID-19 Support Program. “Right after my world suddenly came to a screeching halt, I see this article. It was totally serendipitous,” Batchelder says. “It intended to help entrepreneurs possibly build a website, which is something I spent almost two years searching for.”
After registering her business with the Wyoming Women’s Business Center, Batchelder got down to the nitty-gritty details of her website. She started compiling all the product photos and text for her website while consuming as many training resources she could get her hands on. “This whole experience has really provided me with, not only scads of information but just incredible resources that I’ll be using for a very long time,” says Batchelder.
Joan was connected with a Jackson Hole website designer, Drayton Beebe, who was able to bring the website to life. “I felt this website designer, Drayton, totally got me. I contacted her and bam bam bam, I was able to communicate what I needed and she was able to deliver a great website.” Her website can be found online at cottagegardenstudio.com.
One of the big steps in setting up an eCommerce website, Joan says, was determining what tax obligations she was responsible for. “I met with someone from the Wyoming Department of Revenue, and, I mean, he put the fear of God in me about filing my taxes.” Joan started working with Derek Campbell, the COVID-19 bookkeeping and QuickBooks® Pro advisor, who helped her set up a QuickBooks® account for her business.
“Joan really didn’t feign away from the hard work,” Veronica Donahue, the B2B facilitator says, “She came in with a plan and kept moving forward even when it got complicated.” Cottage Garden Studio has been in the making for decades but has given Joan a new focus in life. Although Joan has been able to retain a few select travel clients, she says Cottage Garden Studio provides her with a new challenge.
“I realize now that I was hesitant to start this business and really cross the threshold from employee to entrepreneur,” says Batchelder. “It wasn’t about doubting my talent and abilities, it was more that the timing wasn’t right until now.” She says that the encouragement and support of the Wyoming Women’s Business Center was the push she needed to put her plan in action.