Sheniqua Young (Shea) has been drawing her entire life, which is blatantly obvious in her sheer talent. Shea remembers herself as a quiet child who liked to be in her own little world making new creations.
“I was in the arts and craft store all the time, begging my mom for everything. Everything that was art-related, I wanted it.”
Shea first realized she had a gift in elementary school when a teacher encouraged her to submit a drawing to a local art competition where she ended up receiving awards. It was then she realized there was something special in her passion.
“That was the first time that I was like, ‘oh, I’m kind of good at this.’ And then I just never stopped.”
Sheniqua eventually transitioned from art centered on nature to portraits. Because of her family’s roots, a lot of her art is inspired by her Jamaican heritage. “I just love celebrating black women, black beauty, and our culture.”
She began exploring ways to capture the majestic and goddess energy inside of black individuals – especially women through painting. Then as she listened to where her passion was nudging her, something amazing happened – she began to see success. More on that below.
“I just love celebrating black women, black beauty and our culture.”
In college, Sheniqua began doing larger oil paintings and her Mom eventually suggested she try selling them. Shortly after that, her grandmother’s friends bought some pieces, and Shea Design Art became a reality.
Shea then opened an Etsy shop and began selling at local craft fairs and art shows. Even though at first she felt uncomfortable selling in person, Shea’s family came to support her. As she relaxed into the experience, she started making sales. Shea’s family was extraordinarily supportive, helping Shea see her potential and encouraging her to dream bigger.
People began eating up her natural artistic expression, and before Shea knew it, she had a full-time job creating art, on top of being in school. While Shea felt excited she was making sales, she realized marketing her business took up too much time.
Small business owners have many hats to wear and lots of responsibility since everything falls on their shoulders. It can be a lot, and that’s why Tailwind founders Danny Maloney and Alex Topiler created Tailwind – to give entrepreneurs and creators time back to focus on their passion instead of marketing and analytics.
Sheniqua struggled with planning, keeping a schedule, administrative work, customer service, and creating new pieces. And on top of her business, Shea was a full-time student trying to juggle it all. She knew she was spreading herself too thin and needed help.
“School had to come first, and usually the marketing stuff would always be on the backburner because if I had commissions, that was my only focus.”
“I couldn’t really post anything…I think the important thing is realizing that it’s just me and not everything that I want to do can get done in a week or a month. I just have to be realistic about my time and not try to push myself too much to avoid burnout because that can happen really easily.”
Shea came to a conclusion most entrepreneurs come to, that no one can do it all alone. If she wanted to keep her momentum she needed help. Shea started researching Pinterest tips and noticed Tailwind kept popping up in videos and blog posts.
After watching some tutorials she saw how quick and easy it was to batch schedule Pins. Shea decided to try it out hoping it would take a few things off her plate.
“At the time, I think I just took a day or two and created a whole bunch of Pins and filled up the entire schedule.”
So did she see a difference in sales and exposure with Tailwind?
“I started Instagram first and mostly just posted my artwork, works in progress and people started reaching out for commissions. And then with Pinterest, I was using Tailwind and I got… I had a lot of Pins that did really well and brought a lot of traffic to my website.”
Tailwind was doing its job by helping her make consistency easy and providing optimized scheduling times to reach the maximum amount of new people. Shea began receiving commissioned work through Instagram, and Pinterest began bringing more traffic than ever before to her business.
“I was using Tailwind with Pinterest, and I had a lot of Pins that did really well and brought a lot of traffic to my website.”
Suddenly the marketing tasks she didn’t have the time for began paying off with little effort on her part. Tailwind’s different time slots allowed Sheniqua to fill the queue up and not have to think about posting while she had art shows, school, and other tasks to attend to.
“It was pretty exciting because I just do this once and forget about it for weeks. It was fine because it was all on the schedule for a month.
“A lot of times, my Tailwind queue was the only thing that was keeping my social media up because there were certain times I couldn’t do anything else.”
Not only was the scheduler helpful, but Sheniqua also found value in Tailwind Communities after discovering and participating in a few Pinterest art communities.
“It was cool finding other artists that were using Pinterest and just seeing how they were using it for their business. A few of my Pins did really well from those other artists re-pinning them, and then I remember seeing a couple of their Pins were doing really well in my analytics, so that was pretty cool, just that art community.”
Now Sheniqua is not only able to invest more time creating artwork, but also in experimenting with new ways of displaying her commissioned art on social media. When asked what types of content help her gain the most traction, her answer was pretty simple – video.
“I would say definitely behind-the-scenes videos. People like to see the time lapses. I like to see the time lapses too, it’s fun because you go from this blank canvas to this beautiful painting.
Even though it might take 30 hours of work, it’s really exciting to just see it all come together so fast, but definitely the video content. Yeah, the painting tutorials or just small-time lapses do the best.”
Video is not only her top trending type of content on Instagram but also on other apps!
“I started doing more of the Pinterest Idea Pins, which have been doing well too. And then TikTok, the same behind the scenes, those time-lapses were doing pretty well.”
Pinterest and Instagram in particular have been the most successful apps in regards to reaching new people and making commissioned sales.
“With Pinterest, I definitely had the most amount of traffic to my website, and with Instagram, I think I probably get a little bit more commissions, I guess just people following the journey and then eventually messaging me to do commissions.”
So, is Tailwind worth it? Did it meet Shea’s needs and do what it intends to do?
“I got a lot of time back. I would say definitely just my time management when it comes to posting on social media. I don’t have to worry as much about, okay, what time am I going to post today on this? Or having to figure out how many times to post because pretty much if I just create the Pins Tailwind can do it for me. I don’t have to think about if I should post three times today or two times. I just set it up and it handles everything for me.”
Tailwind app is the tool that feels like your marketing team because it does a lot of the tedious time-consuming tasks most business owners don’t have the time or energy to do. With Tailwind’s help, Shea has been able to keep up with consistent posts and Pins. Her analytics have gone up, she’s gotten more sales, and she has more time doing what she has loved since she was a little girl – creating art.
“I don’t have to think about if I should post three times today, or two times. I just set it up and it handles everything for me.”
While Shea is a shy, sweet soul she has slowly become more comfortable with selling art in person and being more confident showing her work.
She has sold original art and prints in pretty much all of the states at this point and many different countries too. But what’s next for Shea Design Art?
“I’ve been working on a lot of new paintings lately, and I’m planning an art show for hopefully towards the end of the year or maybe around fall. So that’s really exciting because I’ve been doing a lot of paintings for that and it would be my first solo art show. I’m very, very excited about that.”